Walking is the best exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.
So I’m not so into this hiking thing they call the “national sport” of Korea. Until I got into better physical shape over the last year or so, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed this at all, but as I have felt more capable of endurance activities, I agreed to go on an afternoon hike with J and a couple of friends this weekend. Or, as I call it “walking for a really long, pointless amount of time in one direction, uphill, and when you get to the ‘view’, all there is to think about is how long you will have to spend walking back down”. On this excursion, our three dogs (M&M and Austin, who I’ve mentioned before) came along, and they probably needed the exercise the most.
The first problem came before we even got a foot out the door: neither J or I own hiking pants. When we lived in Houston, basically any outdoor physical activity only required shorts, so aside from my yoga pants, I don’t own any long activewear, meaning I had nothing suitable for a hike. To our great luck, down one of the nearby roads (alleys… I’m still not over that yet) there was a shop selling all kinds of hiking gear and they had some hiking pants on sale. We not only scored two pairs of hiking pants for about $44 total, but we are officially on trend, as our pants match! Korean couples who hike or work out together often match, to the point where you see some men in purple jackets. Running. Next to their wife/girlfriend/sister? also in a purple jacket.
All styled to go, we headed out from our apartment to walk the trail to the base of the mountain where we met our friends Erica and Jason. The dogs were ecstatic to see their friend Austin, but other than their first greeting, the three were pretty independent throughout the hike. The hills definitely took a toll on the humans first, with the dogs practically dragging us the last little way up the side of the mountain. Side note: I am still trying to gauge what to call a “large hill” vs. a “mountain”. Compared to the flatness of Ohio and Texas, everything is a huge mountain to me.
Fun on the way up: Murray dragging J, Minnie basking in the sun (and exercise). Murray really enjoying the scenery on the way back.
The dogs were still riled up when we got to the top and would barely sit still for a photo in the pagoda, which provided an awesome view of the city. It is hard to believe that this is just a half hour walk from our apartment! We soaked in the view a little bit, while Erica and Jason pointed out the different trails we could take up and down the mountain on a nearby sign/map. The two of them have a little bit of experience mountain biking in the area, but I doubt I will go for that type of adventure just yet. For one thing, the bike I bought from Target probably isn’t the appropriate tool for that. However, J did pick up a nice mountain bike before we moved. And by “pick up”, I mean researched, purchased and got fitted for a pricey mountain bike. Cycling is a much more serious thing than I imagined. Then again, it’s me.
Trying to pose in the pagoda (in our matching pants), but the pups were not very interested
I took a pretty awesome panorama shot right before we headed back down the mountain:
The view of our area of Ulsan, the payoff for our hiking efforts.
The most shocking part of the day is that we were only gone for 2 hours, of which about 1.5 hours were spent truly hiking the mountain. It felt like forever to me, but not necessarily in a bad way. I was worn out and definitely felt exercised for the day, but not blistered or sore, which was a really positive outcome. Hey… not bad, maybe I will get into this hiking thing. Next time, I’ll be sure to bring the trail mix… the kind with the chocolate. Now that would be a good hike.