The hike in Gimhae was very satisfying. The day turned out to be quite sunny and on the warm side for mountain hiking. I ended up visiting a lot of great sights.
I put word out on one of the tour and hiking pages, but no-one showed up. Too bad for them. Anyway, sometimes its great to go solo at your own pace and as you please.
Last time I visited Gimhae, I found out about a small mountain with an old fortress wall and pledged to myself that I would return to explore it. That's what I did today.
Again, I have no pictures to post with this account. That is because the connector cord for the phone and camera are buried away in a box, packed away and ready for the apartment move later this month. Sorry.
After having wandered around the historic part of town, and with the aid of a map, of course, I was able to figure out a basic route, though I had to guess a bit in actually doing it. I headed out from the LRT station crossing the river and heading toward the mountain, which is called Bun Mountain, past tombs parks and then through Asia Town. I suppose a lot of migrant workers live in Gimhae judging by the rows of factories and warehouses the train whizzes through in a couple of districts.
After having a quick bite of lunch, only a bagel with cream cheese, I continued the ascent up the foothill then turned along the base of the mountain toward a luxurious apartment complex called Lotte Castle-Gaya, where I was sure I would find a trail head. I did. Across from those apartments, however, there are a couple more ancient tombs visible as large mounds, and nicely perched on a cliff. I buzzed across the highway to have a look at them and I could turn and see the access up Bun Mountain from the Lotte apartments.
I soon went over towards it and picked a path towards a long steep stairway at the start of the trail. As most trails are on Korean mountains, the first part of the ascent was quite steep. However, this time the trail was clear and well groomed, if somewhat slippery dry and sandy.
Above this part of the trail, I could see the gleaming chrome-plated dome of the Gimhae astronomical observatory. I had not expected to work that venue into the course, but that's where the trail took me. Only a few folks were on the trail, a few seniors and mountain biker who I had fortunately seen before he came up over a rise and sped past me.
To my right, I could see that a paved road wound up around and behind to the observatory. There were a few families and couples, plus a group of disabled people with assistants up at the top. I saw no foreigners up on the mountain all day, though. I continued past the buildings up to the summit, which is only at a height of 382 meters. I had a cookie and some nuts, plus some of the hot tea I'd brought in a thermos. After eating, cooling down and resting the legs, I carried on.
I noticed that people were trundling down into a gully between peaks, so I followed, hoping that it would lead toward the fortress at the other end of the mountain. It was a short descent to a road where a marvelous scene appeared before me: it was an MBC TV station film set for an historic drama series. There was a palace, military training centre, artisans' work area, and a peasants' village in the large set. I had not expected to come across this place today. It was an added bonus. It was situated in a pretty location, and was a pleasant scene to behold. Sure enough the place was open, and a guard waved me in, so I had a brief look around.
Next I followed the road a little ways, which appeared to head up the peak where the fortress should have been. I saw a sign for a temple, though, rather than the fortress. I trudged on and up. Before long, I found a trail, choosing to go through the woods rather than follow the wide trail along the fortress wall that bends around the crest of the peak. After passing by the small modern temple, I found an old lookout that was part of the fortress just above the wall and took pictures.
From that height, I could see that there was indeed a trail leading southward down the mountain to its very end and down into the city. I thus concluded that it would indeed be possible to make a complete loop and finish up almost where I started the day's trek. I had plenty of time. It had been just over two hours since I'd begun the walk after lunch.
It was proper trail with a three-way view to the south, east and west. I was tempted to take a side trail down to the east side, for it actually would have been a shorter route home, as I could spot the LRT line in the distance. However, I was curious to discover the entire loop back to the west side.
I continued, passing a few locals on their way up from that side. Eventually, I encountered yet another outdoor gym, the last on this route, which was situated amid some modern grave sites. (Country people still bury their loved ones on mountain sides and there are many family plots, just taken and accepted.) At the exercise area, there was a fork in the trail. Though the one to the left looked to be in better condition, I decided to take a chance on the one on the right. It got rough, passing through windfall and squatters' vegetable patches, but I got down to the urban limits.
I had to trust my judgement as to how to get back to the LRT line where I got off this morning. I knew I would have to proceed away from the west side of the mountain. Soon, I could see my way and came upon familiar sights.
I should have checked my messages during the afternoon, as I'd gotten notice that one of my political friends from Seoul was headed down to Busan today. When I saw his posting announcing he was on his way to Busan, I replied saying I'd like to meet up with him. He's an interesting well educated teacher who is single, after all. I guess I was tired coming down the mountain, because I forgot about it and didn't see his reply until I got home. It was too late, for he was already at the train station on his way back. I wonder why he came all the way to Busan just for one afternoon.