As you probably know if you saw my Sunday post, I was away last week on a trip. I went by myself to a couple of small islands in the southwest of Korea, called Heuksando (흑산도) and Hongdo (홍도). They’re part of a national park, which is not surprising, considering all the natural beauty there. As promised, here are some pictures I took there. It’s very visual, although not fiction; it’s a travelogue, and actually was pretty fantastic. Enjoy~
I left here on Sunday and went down to the port city of Mokpo. The next day I took this ferry. It was very fast and the water was very rough, making it fun for me, until other people starting getting sick and throwing up. The guy behind me kept saying, “I’m dying. I’m dying. I want to live. I should have gotten off at the last island.”
On the first island, I took a bus around the island on a road that wound up and down mountains on hairpin turns and steep grades. Between the cliffs and mountains, were tiny, idyllic coves with fishing villages.Here is one of the roads. This one is famous on the island and has twelves switchbacks in a row. It was quite something going up this in a bus.
The next day, it was crazy windy so I walked along the beach to see the waves crashing up on the rocks.
After a while, I hiked back inland, through the forest and through pastures. I came across a lot of cow dung, but only 4 cows the whole time. This was a bull, a cow and a calf. The calf was very cute, but I didn’t want to get close, since the cow kept bellowing at me, even when I was out of sight.
The forest on the island was almost all broad-leaf evergreens and there were vines and ivy everywhere. It is much different from the rest of Korea.
This is a view of the harbor looking back across the peninsula where I was hiking. I could easily have stayed there for a long time. It was so peaceful.
At sunset, I went back to the harbor where my motel was. It was the off-season for tourism, so I think I was the only one in the hotel. I never ate at a restaurant with any other customers; just the owners eating their supper.
Then I climbed up the hill behind my hotel, where I was rewarded with this view:
The next day, I took a ferry thirty minutes to the island of Hongdo, which has some of the best craggy rock formations I’ve seen. Just like on Heuksando, I was one of the only tourists there.
I climbed up the mountain and had a beautiful overview of the whole southern half of the island.
The only problem with this island was that it was quite inaccessible. A lot of cliffs, like the one below, were off-limits, with no trails or safe ways to get to them. Which is too bad, since I would really liked to climb up on some of them.
The day was absolutely beautiful. As opposed to the previous cloudy and windy days, this day was sunny, warm, and serene.
I found a hotel, then struck out to the south side of the island and fought my way through the forest of vines and thorns down to a small beach. This island was just offshore from there.
A lot of where I walked was quite close to the edges of cliffs that plunged more than a hundred feet straight down to the ocean. I was careful, of course, but I’m sure my wife would have had a heart attack if she’d seen me.
Hongdo is much smaller than Heuksando and everyone lives in one village in the middle of the island. Probably half the buildings are hotels or restaurants, the vast majority of which were closed for the season. Here is a shot of the harbor as I was coming back in late afternoon.
I walked down to a dock on the far side of the island to see the sun set behind the island.
The next day I got up way too early for the ferry, so I went down to the harbor and watched the sunrise.
Then it just better and better as I waited.
I hope you enjoyed the tour. Now that I’m back, I am slowly climbing the long, winding steps up into the Green-walled Tower to see what other fantastic worlds I can spy. More fiction coming up tomorrow.
P.S. Bonus points if you can name the reference in the title. It doesn’t count if you’re related to me, since I KNOW you know. 🙂
February 26th, 2013 at 4:16 pm
thanks for these amazing photographs and the story of your fabulous trip! how i long for those days when i could do that!
February 26th, 2013 at 5:04 pm
Gorgeous shots – those switchbacks – would love motorcycle there ——
February 26th, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Yeah, I was thinking that too. I have one here in town but even in the countryside around here there are tons of speed bumps. But not on the islands, so it would be great to just ride, among the mountains and by the sea.
February 26th, 2013 at 5:05 pm
Meant to say – would love “to” motorcycle there.
I need a holiday, preferably in an island in S Korea 🙂
February 26th, 2013 at 5:07 pm
February 26th, 2013 at 9:08 pm
Beautiful photos! Looks like fun!
February 26th, 2013 at 11:15 pm
It was amazing. I’d highly recommend it. 🙂
February 27th, 2013 at 12:14 am
wow fantastic trip, welcome back 😀
February 27th, 2013 at 10:37 am
Thanks. I’m ready to jump back into writing and blogging.
February 27th, 2013 at 10:47 am
😀 I would still like to hear the story on how you came to live in Korea.
February 27th, 2013 at 2:04 am
Gosh what beautiful photos
February 27th, 2013 at 10:35 am
February 27th, 2013 at 2:15 am
Just lovely! (But I’m partial to islands….)
The off-season is the best time to be a tourist; you can really get the place to yourself.
February 27th, 2013 at 10:35 am
Yes, after going there when I did, I would never want to go there in the busy season. Everything is more expensive and swarming with people. It worked out.
February 27th, 2013 at 2:49 am
Hi David…..thanks for the tour…..the pics were really nice…..lots of beautiful landscape……and they gave a good sense of what your trip was like…..thanks again for sharing and welcome back…:)
February 27th, 2013 at 10:34 am
Thanks. I have a special place in my heart for islands, especially since I grew up on one. If you ever come to Korea…:)
February 27th, 2013 at 4:11 am
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien… 😉
A great tour, Thank You… Thoroughly enjoyed the ride, particularly your relaxed reflections!
February 27th, 2013 at 10:33 am
Glad you liked the pictures and good job with the reference! I never know what is mainstream knowledge or utterly obscure, since in our house we say a lot of obscure things.
February 27th, 2013 at 11:33 am
Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures, they’re beautiful!
March 6th, 2013 at 4:22 pm
The pictures are truly beautiful! You should definitely consider being a photographer! 🙂
March 6th, 2013 at 8:58 pm
Thank you. I’m an amateur photographer, at least. It is fun.
March 20th, 2013 at 12:00 am
Wow what beautiful pictures! I see tons of moments happening.
May 28th, 2013 at 9:04 pm
[…] you have read my post about hiking various islands by myself, you probably know that I like to get out in the middle of nowhere by myself. Call me a lone […]