Wolchulsan Hike Transportation Challenges
Frequent hiking partners, this time we were trying to get to Yeongam near Gwangju for a Wolchulsan hike, and we’d had bad luck with transportation * all morning, missing all our previous buses by mere minutes.
When we finally arrived in Yeongam, we realised the park was super close and that it would be a waste of precious hiking time to wait for the bus, so we set off down a small road across from the terminal, intending to hitchhike.
Less than a minute passed before the first car drove by. Josiah waved it down and the ajuma (middle-aged woman) driving it pulled over.
“You want a ride? Sure, no problem!” she seemed to say, even though she didn’t speak English.
She drove us passed the gate all the way to the trail head, only about a five or ten minute drive. Nice!
* For directions to Wolchulsan, check out this blog post by BNBnow…
Our Wolchulsan Hike
We started our Wolchulsan hike and passed a ton of Koreans, smiling and greeting them.
One guy we passed caught our attention by calling out, “Slow down, guys!”
We turned. “Your English is really good!” exclaimed Josiah.
Turns out Sean (his English name, of course — many Koreans have one they use with foreigners) did his post-secondary education on Long Island.
We immediately fell into step with him and continued our Wolchulsan hike with him most of the day.
At one point, he told us he was taking a side trail back home, but that we should call him when we got to the other side of the park and he would come pick us up to bring us back to the bus station. Cool!
A Pleasant After-Hike Surprise
So after our Wolchulsan hike, Sean picked us up as agreed. As we drove by a small cluster of houses, he told us that he lived there, in a traditional hanok house. Would we like to see it?
Of course we would!
He brought us inside and introduced us to his mother, who made us tea and served us chestnuts.
Afterwards, Sean insisted on taking us out for dinner before bringing us to the bus station. My vegetarianism was not an issue; he could get me meatless bimbimbap.
It was really great meeting Sean. It made our Wolchulsan hike extra special (smiley face). I’ve been in touch with him since and will probably go hiking with him again soon enough…
As it turns out, I ended up meeting both Sean and Josiah for a day hike at Naejangsan National Park about a month or two later.