Moaksan hiking, Saturday 5th November 2011

Jeonbuk Motors had qualified for the Asian Champions League final and had been fortunate enough to be drawn at home. It’s a strange system, playing a one-off final at the stadium of one of the teams rather than a neutral venue. However, I’m not complaining as it meant that Jen and I could go to the game.

Kick-off wasn’t until seven in the evening and so we took advantage of the nearby Moaksan Provincial Park to do some hiking first. Moaksan is about twenty minutes and fifteen thousand won in a taxi from Jeonju bus terminal.

The street that leads to the start of the trail

We got there for about half past nine, had some mandu and gimbap for breakfast at a small cafe and were ready to go by ten. There are plenty of shops and restaurants at the entrance to the trails, although I didn’t see any hotels. I’d be surprised if there weren’t any though.

Moaksan map

The highest point in the park is Mt Moak at 793.5m. Quite why the half metre matters I don’t know. Possibly a neighbouring park has a hill that is only 793m high and Moaksan likes to highlight how much better its hill is. Anyway, there are three routes up Moaksan if you are starting from where we were. You can go straight up the valley or you can take a ridge route to the right or left. Most people were going straight ahead, so we went right. It’s slightly longer at 3.5km, but at that sort of distance it doesn’t really make much difference.

The views were obscured by trees and fog.

It was quite steep to start with, then we got a few stretches of reasonably flat trail followed by a couple of staircases. Two hours after setting off we were at the top. Or at least what we thought was the top. After staring into the fog for ten minutes and feeding a feral cat some of the left-over mandu that we’d saved for lunch we continued along the trail only to find the real summit a couple of minutes further along.

Nine out of ten feral cats prefer mandu

The actual peak was cluttered with military buildings and phone masts. Possibly some of the other people knew that it was there but didn’t think it was worth the effort.

At the top.

Our plan had been to descend via the back of the mountain but we took a wrong turning and ended up coming back down the ridge to the left instead. It was fairly steep, with some sections where you needed to hang on to a rope.

It's cheaper than building a staircase.

It took a couple of hours to make our way down to the bottom where we caught a bus from the car park back to Jeonju. I didn’t see a timetable so have no idea how frequently it runs. The seven kilometre walk that we did was ideal for a half day and our plan is to go back sometime when the visibility might be better and take the trail that we had thought we were taking this time.

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