June 11

I accidentally hiked a mountain today.

While my instruction sheet from the hospital was pretty vague, other websites recommended no strenuous exercise for at least a week. Walking it is, then!

As the pollution was finally in the green and the weather was hot but dry, I decided to wander around the easy trails at the base of the mountain behind school. I didn’t realize that after about 20 minutes I had already ascended halfway.

Well what’s 150 meters more?

This mountain is on the same ridge of my favorite Seoul hike: Achasan.

I’ve never been to this peak though and at the top I was greeted by some (restored) history.

This large smoke tower had been used since the Joseon dynasty to pass signals through the region. Historians have also found fortress remains nearby and estimate they belong to the Goguryeo kingdom of 600 A.D. but are unrelated to the smoke tower. I figure Koreans through the ages agreed this was just a good spot.

Modern Koreans agree albeit with a different purpose: around the bend there was a senior center. Older people exercised on free outdoor equipment, a mean eyed lady made snacks for people seated at foldout plastic tables, and several pairs of men played 바둑 next to the bathrooms which were designed with traditional Korean architecture.

I was the odd man out being not only a foreigner but more so having hiked to the top in my work clothes which happened to be a long dress and keds.

The breeziness it provided did make me rethink hiking clothes in the future. Why not a dress?

On my way down I passed a man kicking a tree who stopped when he thought I could see him and resumed when I had descended (I still turned around to observe). I suppose a tree is cheaper than a punching bag.

The hike took less than 90 minutes round trip and I smelled the trees and that sweet breeze that only early summer has. It was a backyard getaway that was sorely needed.

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