Don’t you love accidental discoveries and happy surprises?
A few weeks ago, I took a trip across Korea by myself. I’m kind of an introvert anyway, but another reason I like traveling alone is the total freedom to do random things when I want. On the first day, I had just gotten off my second intercity bus of the day in the small rural town of Danyang in the deep mountains of central Korea. It was about 4:00pm and when I checked the bus schedule to see what time the bus would be leaving in the morning for the national park I was going to, I noticed the word “cave” in one of the destinations.
I had not known of any caves in the area, but I hadn’t known of anything in the area, and there are few things that get me as excited as caves. I looked it up on my phone and found it was only a kilometer away. So I started walking. And I got there just before it closed.
It was called Gosu Cave and was pretty amazing for something I had never heard of before, after almost nine years in Korea. It was a limestone cave with some stunning features.
Another amazing thing about it was although it was very high, it was also incredibly narrow. This meant that as I walked through it, I was very close to everything. You could even reach out and touch some of the formations, although I felt guilty doing that, after years of warnings never to do that (the oil in your skin can damage the stone and prevent the formations from growing.)
There was almost no one there since it was almost closing time. Interestingly enough, the two groups that went in at the same time as me were Americans. They were some of the only non-Koreans I saw the entire trip.
There were two courses, a slightly shorter one that was more for families and a longer one that included everything open to the public. It took about 45 minutes to go through it.
The longer route featured a formation called Lion Rock, which looked like a lion’s roaring mouth. Unlike some rock formations (like the bear that I could kind of see), it was pretty clear. You can see it here:
However, this cave was not for the claustrophobic. Some places I had to squeeze through, it was so narrow, and even if I didn’t have my big pack on my back, it would have been difficult. In a few places, I had to get down and crawl for a few feet because the ceiling was so low.
I guess it’s true that we don’t necessarily regret missed opportunities all the time, since we don’t know what we missed, but I am glad things worked out to go here. There was another cave up the valley from this one that I tried to go to the next day, but it was a national holiday (Chuseok) so the cave didn’t open until 12:30 and I couldn’t wait that long. I’ll just assume it wasn’t as good as this one.
October 1st, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Hi David – Really extraordinary place. The formations which look like shrouded bodies are particularly eerie. Must have been wonderful to have the time to explore here.
October 1st, 2013 at 8:24 pm
It was pretty awe-inspiring, just magnificent formations around every turn.
October 1st, 2013 at 7:44 pm
You should have recorded one of your stories there an sure the echoes would have added atmosphere to them
October 1st, 2013 at 8:25 pm
That would have been cool. I might have if I’d been expecting it.
October 2nd, 2013 at 7:45 am
Wonderful! I took a trip into a similar space in Jura (France) a few years ago. And one in the Dordogne a few years before that, the walls of which were adorned with ancient cave paintings. That was mind-blowing. It was near the famous Lascaux. I wanted to sing in these spaces (but didn’t as even breathing was frowned upon, owing to the ‘toxicity’ of human breath)!
October 2nd, 2013 at 11:08 pm
Hi David! I’m back to work at Lees today after being away for two weeks. I feel like I’m pretty much back to normal now—a good feeling!
I really enjoyed your cave pic’s. I, too, love caves and these remind me of some I’ve visited in the past. They are endlessly unique and fascinating.
I didn’t get a chance to check my gmail yesterday, but I am hoping you and Leah are both well and happy, and especially that Leah did OK at work this week.
God bless! Have a great rest-of-the-week.
October 2nd, 2013 at 11:16 pm
Thanks, Dad. Come over here again and we’ll go on a tour of all these caves. 🙂
October 3rd, 2013 at 6:58 pm
fantastic shots David! I have never seen a natural cave, even a plain one! its great to be able to explore earth in its full glory
October 3rd, 2013 at 9:38 pm
I’m sure there must be places like that scattered around in India. Of course, I didn’t know about this one before I went there, so they are well-hidden sometimes. I’m telling you: come to Korea and I’ll show you around. 😉
October 3rd, 2013 at 9:24 pm
The formations give rise to various imaginations; thoughts of birds and human beings. It is fascinating, but somehow scary too.
October 3rd, 2013 at 9:34 pm
There are a lot of fascinating formations. I wonder what it would have been like to the be the first person to go into a cave like that, long ago, by torch-light.
October 5th, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Beautiful cave, although for some people it must be difficult to enjoy such beauty in a close and narrow places like in the cave.