Jirisan National Park
I get off the bus at the end of the line in 의신마을 Uisin Village, 대성리 Daeseong-ri in 지리산 국립공원 Jirisan National Park and start hiking up the mountain. However, the path I started up soon desolved into the brush... So I decide to instead follow the road down the valley towards 쌍계사 Ssanggyesa Temple.
The fields have turned golden and people are busy harvesting now.
I had bought a warm hiking shirt before this journey, though it's still too warm to wear under the afternoon sun. But here I've been attacked by these thorns on a plant. They grab into the fabric with three little hooks and it makes me glad my skin wasn't exposed to it.
A beautiful creek through this valley as the leaves start to turn into their autumn colors.
As I sat for a rest by the road enjoying the babbling creek, a couple had stopped there briefly, too. Before they started their car and left, the woman comes over offering a couple free mandarines.
Koreans have offered some food to me before, rather a piece of candy on a train or a small snack at a baseball game. Korea is quite different than the West and you need to be sure you get out to experience these differences.
In front of 화개초등학교 Hwagae Elementary School in 범왕리 Beomwang-ri is the largest Korean black hackerry tree standing 25 meters tall and 6 meters around. The tree is approximately 500 years old. Legend, though says it sprouted from a cane in the 9th century during the late Silla dynasty. The cane was struck into the ground by Choe Chiwon (최치원) (857-?) after he left the corrupt world for Jirisan.
So I finally arrive at the start of the road leading up to 쌍계사 Ssanggyesa (today's target) at a little past 5pm, but the bus was there waiting for me. So I had to quickly buy myself a ticket and begin my four hour journey back to Masan... But I vowed to return in the near future.