(see map below)
Today we want to head way up to the northeast part of South Korea, taking the bus from the green flag at Ganggu to the red balloon at Sokcho. As we mentioned in an earlier blog entry, without a Korean credit card, we can't pre-buy bus tickets online. So for this travel we're stuck with taking a short distance bus to connect with another going the longer distance, without knowing if we can get seats on the second bus. Yes, sure enough, there's only one seat left. But, the station manager and clerk talk with the driver, and the departure time is now upon us, and they figure out that another rider is a no show - we make it by the skin of our teeth. The next bus would have been 4-5 hours later getting us to Sokcho towards 10pm - not a disaster, but not pleasant travel.
Here's the bus that gave us a bit of excitement.
Maybe the worse seats on a bus, the last row, but we're on our way. Of course, by the time we're 1/3 of the way, some riders have already departed, leaving empty seats behind.
Now for the scenery, even though it's overcast, we see a couple of neat fish sculptures on a bridge...
...and some nice coastline on the Sea of Japan.
After settling into our lodging, we head out into the neighborhood to find dinner. Here are some spectacular family gardens along the way - sweet corn and chili peppers coming along nicely.
It's not Korean fare tonight, a highly recommended Italian joint nearby is just too convenient to pass up.
Here's the reason why we came up to this city - the great outdoors South Korean style.
The weather today is iffy with T-storms in the forecast - but we hope for the best.
That's quite a grand entrance for the park.
We even get treated to a giant sitting Buddha.
The skies are getting murkier...
We're just hoping to do that out-and-back short trail at the lower left shown below - maybe 2-hours round trip.
After about 25-minutes up the trail, the rains came and a bit of wind - it actually rained "cats and dogs" for about 30 minutes - we were soaked clear through. We pressed on however, until the rangers closed the trail higher up apparently for slipperiness on upper-trail rock scrambles.
Here's a camera shot with a wet and steamy I-phone.
We turn for the shuttle bus home - squish squish squish go our shoes.
Here's some detail of carvings under that grand gate.
We need some grub before coming off the mountain - we'll try again tomorrow with another hiking route.