Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mt. Dobong

Mt. Dobong is one of Korea's largest and most visited mountains. It sits just north of Seoul within the suburban Gyeonggi-do provence. Its an odd mix of rugged beauty and suburban convenience. The Seoul Metro brings you near several trail heads, around which have sprouted dozens of outdoor gear stores, and enough restaurants to feed hikers coming and going. This beautiful Buddhist temple was an hours hike from the mountain's base. It was a serene and inspiring place.

Rows of Buddhas in place at the entrance to the temple's grounds.

A smiley dog that lives at the temple. After the fashion-accessory dogs of Seoul it was heartwarming to scratch this smelly bundle of fur.

A cluster of fermenting pots, most likely holding aging bean curd, or maybe spicy cabbage. Kimchi, the Korean national dish, is made from a fermented mix of the latter.

The intricately painted eaves of the main temple building. Hard to see here but a beautiful fish wind chime hangs at the building's corner.

A snowy view of the surrounding mountains.

Admiring our footwork at hike's end. Also debating exactly where we got lost.

A big lunch of smoked duck and various Korean side dishes (ponchon) was our first stop after hiking. The next was the largest indoor sauna in Seoul, where we soaked, steamed, and rested the remainder of the day away.

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