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Monday, June 4, 2012

A week of hiking!

After talking about healthy recipes with Jess and Carlos last weekend, and having an uber fit and healthy best friend back home, I've been inspired to kick it up a gear and start exercising more often and putting healthier food in my body!  No more sugary cereal for breakfast, 2nd helpings of fried chicken at lunch, and Italian food for dinner!  I'm 31 afterall!  I realize I have to be a bit more careful if I want to keep (get back) that girlish figure!

So, as of last Sunday (8 days ago), I've completely cut out everything with added sugar, all bread, all pasta, and all forms of dairy from my diet... and I'm actually happy, full, and content with my new menu!  Plus, I went hiking 4 times last week!  I'm on a mission, people!  I never thought I liked hiking, but as it turns out, I've developed a bit of a love for it!  I actually found myself staring out my classroom window today, dreaming of what I might see in my next adventure up Bongrae Mountain (on the island).

On my first hike (last Tuesday), I headed up the mountain on the island, which happens to be right outside my school, so it's quite convenient.  The bottom 1/5 of the mountain is covered with apartments, homes, and tiny shops all piled on top of each other with sketchy looking narrow cement pathways leading through them like a maze.  I LOVED the quaintness of it.  I went up and down, right and left, through any and every pathway that looked interesting and at one point, I found this really cool, old temple, hidden at the end of one of the pathways!   (FYI: The next 4 photos were taken with my iphone.) 

As it turns out, the mountain is actually littered with old temples like these, just waiting to be discovered! :)  On Thursday, I went back out for another hike, after work, and after hiking up through the neighborhood area of the mountain, I finally made it to the forest and found the most charming path, with these beautiful tall and skinny trees!  I called it "the fairy path!"  

After 30 minutes on the fairy path, and another 30 up a steeper part of the mountain, I found this lovely temple, hidden up a long, very steep street!  As I was walking around, enjoying the view from there and taking in the beauty of the temple structure, I was met by a monk who ask me, in Korean, if I wanted to come inside for some Green Tea. 

Hey, I'm always up for an interesting opportunity to experience something cultural, so I said, "Nay!" (yes) and there I was, sitting with him, and a young woman who volunteers and lives there at the temple as well.  It's actually just the two of them living there (not together, of course.  Monk's are actually celibate.)  I'm sure they both probably get pretty lonely living up there, so far away from anyone and anything, which is probably why he was so eager to invite me in for tea!  It was actually the Monk's 39th birthday, so I broke into a spontaneous Korean birthday song for him, which he loved! :)  We chatted for a long time (Him in Korean, me in broken Korean, and the young woman helping to translate when she could.)  We talked about life in Korea, his life as a monk, what the hardest monk rules are to follow, my job, Aaron, food, etc... and he made the most lovely green tea, which we all sipped together as we chatted.  I loved it! 

I went out again after work on Friday and decided I was going to try really hard MAKE IT TO THE TOP!  I was determined!  After about an hour or so, hiking up, I knew I was pretty close (within 30 minutes of the top), but the sun was setting, so I reluctantly turned around and hiked back down... a little sad that I didn't make it to the top!  But, I was not about to attempt to hike down a mountain in the dark!  But, can I really complain?  Look at this view!

As if 3 times wasn't enough, I went back out on Saturday afternoon!   I only had 2 1/2 hours to make it to the top and back, before Aaron and I had to meet for something later that night, so Aaron rode me, on the scooter, up to the beginning of the forest area of the mountain (about 1/5th up) so I could make it up and back in time!  It was a gorgeous sunny day, with a light breeze to help cool me off!

Once in a while, there's a break in the trees, opening up to a stunning view of the city below... 

I... MADE... IT... TO... THE... TOP!!

It was a lovely 180 degree view from the top.  I could see from Da Daepo Beach all the way to Haeundae! 

It was worth EVERY SINGLE step!

Tomorrow, after work, the hiking will start again!  I took a break from it tonight to do some wedding stuff... since I happen to be getting married NEXT MONTH!  


  1. Next time you are in Phoenix we will hike Camelback then! Talk about a satisfying view!