Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cheonjusan (천주산)

천주산 is one of the highest peaks in the Changwon area. I've had my eyes set on it ever since I learned that one of the trailheads is a brief twenty-minute walk away from my apartment. When Ryan came to visit from Jinju, I proposed a Sunday afternoon hike with him and another friend, Thomas, and we had a great time of it.

Thomas, Ryan, and me. In the sky!
Like most hiking trails in Korea, this one was very user-friendly. There were several rest stops, including one where a lady had set up shop to sell water, coffee, beer, and ice cream. The trails themselves were mostly steps built into the side of the mountain. Although 천주산 is taller than 정병산, the other mountain I've hiked in Changwon so far, at 639 meters compared to the latter's 566 meters, this hike took much less time, since the trail was shorter and steeper.

It was Ryan's first big hike ever, so we made slow going at first, but eventually we reached the peak! It took about 1.5 hours. The way down took the same amount of time, taking into account our frequent pauses and a break for ice cream. The weather was gorgeous today, mid-seventies (22-23 degrees Celsius, which I feel like I'm more familiar with now than Fahrenheit...) and breezy. Unfortunately, the wind wasn't strong enough to clear the city air of a thick haze, so even from the top of the mountain, we hardly had a view. It was disappointing, but it was nice to have made it to the top nonetheless.
On the peak of 천주산, 638.8m above sea level. You can hardly see the city through the haze behind/below me. (Taken by Thomas)
Summer is most certainly on its way here in Korea. While it's still beautiful almost every day -- but before the mortal humidity kicks in -- I want to spend as much time outdoors as possible, hiking other mountains around Changwon, going to the beach, and maybe even sailing. Thomas mentioned a place in Jinhae that offered classes.

Oh, yes -- Korean vocabulary. 천주산 (天柱山) means "the mountain of pillars supporting heaven", and it shares its name with a Buddhist temple (절/jeol) called 천주암/Cheonjuam near its base. Along the hike we saw the last remaining 진달래 (jindallae), or azalea flowers, stubbornly holding onto their blooms past their season. We got to drink water from a 약수터 (yaksuteo), a mountain spring whose water is considered good for one's health.

불운하게도, 꼭대기에서 경치가 좋지 않았어요.
Unfortunately, the view from the peak was not great.

창원에서 다른 산이 등산하는것을 고대합니다.
I look forward to hiking other mountains in Changwon.

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