Do you want to be in a winter wonderland?
We just did!
Taebaeksan, Mount Taebaek or Taebaek Mountain is located in the southeastern side of the peninsula and run along the Sea of Japan (East Sea). The mountain range stretches from the city of Taebaek in Yeongwol-gun County on the north to Gangwon-do Province to Bonghwa-gun County and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province to the south. They form the main ridge of the Korean Peninsula.
Mount Taebaek has a prominent peak of 1,566.7 meters high. The summit ridge of the mountain is covered with azalea flowers during spring and white snow in winter. The Koreans regarded the mountain as sacred and fondly called it as the “Great White Mountain”.
The annual Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival is celebrated between January 25 to February 3, a perfect season when the region is abundant with snow. This is the first time to experience the splendor and grandeur of this sacred mountain and try to scale its peak. My eagerness to see a real winter wonderland brought me at Taebaksan along with some of my friends to attend the annual festival. My enthusiasm become even more bigger when we arrive at the place and started our ascend to the top of the mountain. I said to myself that this is the moment that I have been waiting for. I have seen and taken photos of the snow in the city of Seoul during winter, but this time will be different. A mountain capped with white snow is a Winter wonderland! I need to reach the top and I believe that I can do it. If others can, why can’t I?
Along the way, the trail is fully covered with snow that wearing crampons is a must. The trees are also covered with snow forming into shapes that resemble the snow flowers as if God have lovingly created and sculpted them. The freezing temperature didn’t stop me from admiring and gazing the beauty that winter brings. I gathered my strength as I continued hiking, enjoying every step along the way as i leave my footprints behind.
After hiking and climbing for two hours and thirty minutes, I finally did it! I’m on top of the world! The view at the peak of Taebaeksan is even more spectacular. It is really a breathtaking wonder of nature to gaze at the silhouettes of the fantastically twisted yew and pine trees that have guarded the peak for a thousand years. I am almost lost for word to describe its beauty. Indeed, this mountain is truly one of South Korea’s treasure.
Our Taebaek mountain climbing experience is one of the best ever and being an unseasoned hiker and mountain climber that I am, I hardly felt any fatigue and fear at all. Scaling and going up the mountain is easy but going down is a lot easier and it took us only two hours to arrive at its foot.
Conquering my fear is an achievement that I can be proud of and the experience of being close to nature uplift my spirit and nourishes my soul.
(photo copyright:Del Joseph … FILIPOS)
Hail to all of us guys. We made it to ROK’s winter wonderland!