This is part 2 of my adventures hiking Dragon Chicken (Gyeryong) Mountain. To read part one, Click Here. In part 1, I talked about the challenges we faced at the beginning of our hike on Mount Gyeryong. Despite some difficulties, we made it up to the midpoint, where there we saw some wonderful views. In addition, we met some wonderful people and a cute temple puppy. Now, let us continue our journey towards Yeoncheonbong Peak.
As mentioned in Part I, there is a temple located on the top of the mountain. This Buddhist temple is called Deungunam. We were really looking forward to seeing it because it’s a wonder how they built such an ancient temple on these steep slopes.
As we neared the temple, we were exhausted. The path was arduous. But at long last, we could see a clearing behind the trees with a small ancient temple nestled in the center. We were so happy to finally reach Dengunam Temple.
Hikers gathered at the temple to rest, while several of them went inside the hall to pray. We relaxed for a while outside. We noticed many people continuing their hike along the ridge towards Yeoncheonbong or other peaks. Again, we got curious and decided we wanted to see Yeoncheonbong too. It was only about a 10minute hike from the temple. Of course, since we were already there, we had to see it.
The distance from the temple to the peak was short but tough due to the rocky path. And then, to our dismay, there were also stairs that we had to climb near the peak. However, on the stairs, we were already in awe of the wonderful scenery.
Al long last, we made it to the very top of Yeoncheonbong Peak. As I stepped into the summit, I forgot how tired I was, all I could feel was excitement and joy being on top of the world.
There were about a dozen other hikers there, taking photos and basking in the magnificent scenery. Hikers came and went, staying at the peak for an average of 5 minutes. We took our pictures and hung out at the summit for about 15 minutes just enjoying the panoramic view.
From the top, we could see the cities of Gongju, Sejong, and Nonsan. Valleys, mountains, plains, fields could all be seen from above. Everything looked minuscule; the houses and cars below looked like tiny bugs amid this gigantic world.
Yeoncheonbong was surrounded by four other peaks: Cheonhwangbong, Ssalgaebong, Munpilbong, and Sambulbong. The view is especially impressive during sunset which is honored as the 3rd sight of Gyeryongsan Mountain.
Standing at the peak, we had reached our destination, but only completed half of our journey. It was now time to descend from the summit.
We decided to take a different route than we had coming up. Going down the mountain proved to be tougher than going up. Holding myself up on the steep mountain face, my feet and knees began to hurt. The trail was also rocky and at times, slippery.
On our way down, the scenery was slightly different. We passed by a number of wooden bridges as well as another temple. There was no viewing deck though, like the one on our way up. There were also signs warning us of falling rocks. We stopped several times to rest. Again, there were hikers who chatted with us. After 2 hours, we were finally back at Sinwonsa
Climbing to the summit took us about 3 and a half hours. It took us a long time because we made many stops. In particular, we spent a lot of time resting at the viewing deck. Going down took us two hours. Mount Gyeryong was the first mountain in Korea that I have ever climbed. It was without a doubt a challenging hike. Especially due to our lack of preparation. Nevertheless, we had fun and really enjoyed the whole adventurous experience. That amazing feeling I had when I finally reached Yeoncheonbong Peak is something that I will never, ever forget.
If you are a novice hiker, Bukhansan in Seoul is a great place to start. Click Here to learn more!