Tuesday, July 6, 2021

(Probably) My Last Time Ascending Mount Soyosan


The rainy season is a great time to visit Mount Soyosan. The streams and waterfalls are running wildly and the foliage is full and green. 

Mount Soyosan stands 587 meters tall (1925 feet). A modest mountain, but a mountain nonetheless. I've ascended twice since returning to Korea in March, and I've been to the mountain no fewer than half a dozen times all together. But my ascent last weekend might have been my final trip to the top. 

By mountain climbing standards, I'm sure this is considered an easy climb, by hiking standards, I would say it's a moderate to difficult hike. It's not that I'm in bad shape, I'm in halfway decent shape. After all, I'm a soldier in the US Army and I pass my fitness test and weigh in under the standards. But my ankles and low back are the issues. Going up the mountain isn't too bad, it's coming down that takes a toll. And it didn't help that I was carrying a 40 pound camera backpack, which I probably should only carry when traversing flat ground.

Coming back down the mountain, the weight combined with the declination forces my toes into the front of my shoes and the jolt of the impact is absorbed by my ankles, quads and low back. I was feeling it with each step and it was not a good feeling. I think that if I ever do go up any mountain with this type of severe incline, I will have to go with only a camera and tripod, no heavy bags. Simply put, this ascent and descent, broke me off. 

Soyosan was as green as I have ever seen it. One of the wonderful things about hiking, nature walks, mountain climbing etc is that you can return to the same location many times, over and over again, and it looks completely different depending on the time of the year. I've been to Soyosan during all seasons except for winter. Perhaps I will have to consider going up again this coming winter? Haha.

And while I did enjoy the scenery, the extreme humidity only added to my skeletal and muscular misery. I made the mistake of only taking one 16 ounce bottle of water, which I therefore had to ration so that it might last me the entire length of my trek. I probably sweated off at least 5 pounds. My T-shirt was soaking wet and that soaked through to my backpack as well.

Was it worth it? It's always worth it. Mother nature offers up endless amounts of magical scenes, and I am fortunate to capture any of it. This time, the deep green color of the forest seemed to overwhelm my senses, so much green! Anyway, let's get to the photos...

Camera: Sony A77II
Lens: Sony DT 16-50mm f/2.8