Vegan's Chronicles + [travel]

Songnisan in the Fall
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For the past 2 years or so, my parents have been wanting to visit Mt. Songni-san in the fall because it's pretty famous for its beautiful autumn colors. However, we were always either too busy or we missed the peak fall foliage period, so we never got around to going. However, amazingly, this year we set the date like a month in advance, stuck to our commitment, and made it happen! My uncle and aunt who recently moved back to Korea from Brasil also joined us which was nice.

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The changing leaves and their bright autumn colors were so gorgeous.

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Being in the middle of such natural beauty never fails to recharge my batteries and inspire new passion for life!

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Leaves, the 'rents, and a tiny bug.

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Can't image a more perfect coffee break spot.

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I love trees!!!

Link
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The hiking course we picked was about 3.5km and it wasn't too steep or difficult, but it was still a quad workout. My parents and relatives were too tired to go the whole way, but I was determined to get to the top!

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Soon all the colorful trees turned into rocky boulders and at the very peak there was a steep metal staircase that led to a small look-out point, where you could see a 360-degree view. Climbing the stairs on the side of the rock was a bit scary because it was so exposed and the strong winds made me feel like I might get blown off.

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The view from the top. Awesome.

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I love that all you can see is layers and layers of mountains, far into the distance. These photos don't really do the actual scene justice. It was much more impressive in person.

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Here's a panoramic view that I stitched together out of multiple photos. Click here for larger view.

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Unfortunately, it was really windy and cold at the peak and I wasn't dressed warmly enough, so I just snapped some photos and made my way back down. I didn't time myself from the start, but I think it took about 1:20 hours to get to the top, and another hour coming back down.

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By the time I met up with everyone else and returned to the bottom, I was pretty low on energy and needed fuel. So en-route to lunch, I munched on a vegan banana muffin that I baked for our trip and a clementine.

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For lunch, we popped into a random Korean restaurant by the road. I got sanchae bibimbab.

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I was really hungry after all that hiking and this totally hit the spot. I usually like lots of fresh lettuce in bibimbab, but this was amazing with all cooked, seasoned wild greens, a squeeze of sesame seed oil, and a dollop of gochujang. It could've been my hunger talking, but this bibimbab was just so good! Deliciously memorable.

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The banch' spread.

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After lunch, we hit the road and headed to the main side of Songnisan National Park.

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map of Songnisan National Park

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There were a lot more people here, just taking a leisurely stroll~

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I know nature shots tend to be a bit boring, but I gotta post these because I just love trees in the fall!

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At Songnisan, there's also a large Buddhist temple called 'Beopjusa,' and on these grounds, there's a gold-plated Buddha statue (Cheongdong mireuk bul) which is apparently the tallest in the world!

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Woah.

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Towering over everything!

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me & a big slab of rock.

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More trees! So colorful!

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stacks of wishes

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Moss-covered squirrel sculptures, clinging to trees.

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Where am i?

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Along the road leading to the National Park, there were plenty of restaurants for hungry hikers to unwind and relax at.

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dong-dong ju (동동주). A type of traditional rice liquor, similar to makkgeolli.

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There were also lots of farmers selling local, seasonal fruit and veggies for people to take home as edible souvenirs. Ofcourse we took a sack of persimmons. :)

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Fresh and dry jujube dates!

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Crunchy, sweet, and delicious.

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Snack cart. Yay!

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Corn and ddeok rice cakes on a stick.

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Roasted chestnuts!

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Gosh, there is so much great food in the fall~

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Loads of dried edibles like strange roots and gogi berries...

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... and bundles of dried wild mountain greens.

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traditional, Korean knick-knacks.

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Mid-afternoon snack: clementines and chestnuts.

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Anywayyy~ before we knew it, the sun was starting to set and it was time to head home. I was pretty pooped by the end of the day- traveling and sight-seeing is hard work! Really though, every time I explore a new part of Korea, I'm impressed and moved by all the beauty this small country has to offer. I recommend everyone go hiking this fall, before all the leaves disappear! :)