A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet up with some members of the Daegu Hiking Club (facebook link) and explore the Geoje Island area. The original plan was to explore the hilly area on one of the islands for a bit and then take a ferry-boat to Somamuldo Island. However, because of the recent Sewol disaster and a bit of a rough chop on the seas, our day was cut short and we were only able to explore the Windy Hill area.
Hiking in Korea is a lifestyle. People here form clubs, don matching gear, and rent (or BUY) charter busses to take them to different hiking destinations. The Daegu Hiking group is maintained by a Korean who connects the group with different touring groups (mostly KJ Hiking Club). It helps them fill up seats on their bus (keeping their costs down) and lets foreigners see a whole new aspect of Korean culture. Win-win, if you ask me.
Our day started bright and early at 7 am. We met up downtown and boarded our bus. About 45 minutes later, we made a stop and had some Korean-style breakfast (part of the fee for the trip). Korean breakfast is delicious; seaweed and soybean soup over rice with kimchi and a few other types of banchan.
Breakfast was provided by the tour group and I found out later that there are kitchens who sell “hiking breakfast kits” to the various groups. The group tells them how many people and a price-point and the company sends boxes of rice, soup, banchan, and utensils. The fact that a service like this even exists should tell you how popular hiking is in Korea.
After filling up, we got back on the bus and headed further south towards the coast. I have to admit I slept for most of the ride; I was dead tired from being up so early. When I awoke, I was greeted by some very tropical-looking scenery. Maybe it was just the contrast from being in the city, but it just seemed so green. All around us were amazing coastal vistas, lush forests, and hills that seemed to sprout up right from the coastline.
At this point in the day, we were fairly certain we wouldn’t be going to the island to hike, so they gave us a bit of extra time to wander around the area. The area known as Windy Hill is a thin strip of land that rises up and connects one part of an island with another part. It is barely a mile from one side of the island to the other (width-wise), but the climb up the hill makes it feel much much much longer. The coastline is rocky and reminds me of Spain quite a bit. We had great fun exploring each side, before heading back to the bus.
All in all, a really lovely way to spend a Sunday. Despite not getting to go on the hike, we had a very nice time hanging out by the water, climbing rocks, and taking in the scenery. Thanks again to KJ Hiking Club for a great day!