Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not all who wander are lost

It's Tuesday, another gorgeous fall day, and Ray and I decided to hit Hami Mami's over by Camp Walker for brunch and then do some hiking on Mt. Apsan. Apsan Park, which is huge, blankets the mountain at the southern edge of the city, and along with Palongsan is a favorite destination for the many, many outdoorsy locals. It allegedly has a cable car, an amusement park, an archery range, three Buddhist temples, and an "anti-communism hall".

I discovered that the Hami Mami's pancakes are nearly as good as their French toast, then we asked for directions to Apsan Park. Following the instructions, we found a single-lane road up the mountain. We never did find the main attractions I mentioned in the last paragraph, but that's cool because we really came to hike.

Hike we did, because Oh. My. God. It was steep. For my Ithacan friends, it was like hiking Buffalo Street hill if Buffalo Street hill never ended. I think you can get a taste of how steep it is by the picture with me in it. What you can't get a taste of from the photos is how HUGE Daegu is... it sprawls out for many, many miles, and the main architectural feature is its innumerable 15-to-40-story apartment houses. What you're looking at in this photo is the east end of town, over by my apartment, and I think you're seeing maybe ten percent of the city.

(See how high we are above the city? Yeah, we climbed that.) We went so far and high that eventually the traffic noise of 2.5 million people faded and it was quiet.

We walked and walked and walked, with only about 83 stops to catch our breath; after a while, we kept thinking that at the next little level spot or at the next turn, we'd see some sort of summit. We never did; absolutely the only landmark of any kind was an hour into our climb, when we found a little clearing with a picnic table and a little obelisk of some kind with writing in Chinese on one side and Korean on another.

We never did find a summit; the road goes ever on and on.

...and then we came back down.

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