Out And About In Korea – Winter In Muju
If you are a frequent reader of Brent’s World you might get the impression that I live in Muju or something. This Out And About In Korea will mark the third time we have blogged a trip to Muju. First, In December Muju, a mountain getaway within easy reach and its two accompanying reviews of the Flower Pension and the Muju Poong Gyun Pension. It is now only March and you are already going back? It was not supposed to work out this way. I was supposed to be blogging a weeklong ski trip in Pyeongchong on New Years and we found ourselves facing another travel restriction. So with the winter season waning and the snow melting it was time for a quick trip to the closet mountains.
What a difference only 2 months makes. I was not blessed with any snow during my Thanksgiving trip, but we did actually get a fair amount of the cold white stuff this year. There was snow forecast during our trip this year so I was keeping my fingers crossed! Especially since I had been hoping to get some skiing in. We were not to be disappointed. It is ironic that I reflect on what a difference 2 months can make, when you will see shortly the incredible difference a little under 4 hours can make. We began our 2nd hike to Byeongunsa temple at a quarter past 12.
Here Mi Jung and I are at the trailhead.
Looks pretty similar to November, right? Let’s take a look back, here is a photo from the first rest area.
Look at it now!
At the start of the trail, this time we went to the right, instead of continuing straight up the access road to the temple. This took us on a very picturesque trail hike through the woods. The nice thing was that it was not too strenuous. I enjoyed this trail over the road because it actually felt like you were on a hike.
Something we did not notice on our previous hike was this area up by the old temple grounds of these bhudist statues. There is a sign telling you about htem on the trail, but unless you look into the clearing beyond the sign it is easy to overlook them. Not to miss a good portrait opportunity let’s put the Canon 85mm f1.4LIS on the camera and give it a go. The quality of this lens really is nothing short of amazing!
Further along on the trail, about 2 and half hours in to our hike it started to snow, and SNOW.
As I have difficulty on long steep stretches, Mi Jung went ahead of me, which lead to this great photo opportunity at the main temple gate.
The temple area looked really cool in the snow.
As it started to snow harder, there became a sense of urgency realizing that we would have to walk down the mountain through a growing snowpack. We started heading back down at around 4pm and arrived at the car about 90 minutes later. As we were focusing so much on getting back safely we did not take any additional photos on the way down.
Our next hike consisted of taking the gondola at the Muju Ski resort and hike to the top of Hyangjeokbond Peak, Mi Jung has done this hike before but only on a cloudy overcast day, she was really looking forward to getting a clear wide open view of the valley.
Even though the trail was crowded, there were still areas along the way that were great for portraits.
Like this one of Mi Jung. This with my walking lens, the Canon EF16-35 f2.8L (Even at f2.8, the lens produces some great photos.)
Here I am! Using the Canon EF50mm f1.2L @ f2.8.
And Mi Jung with the 50mm f1.2 @ f1.8.
The trail can be quite busy! Here is a section that I was able to turn around and take pictures of the people coming up behind me.
The Korean National Park System even has their version of Smokey The Bear.
Here is Mi Jung approaching the top. It was a beautiful clear day (Except for the air pollution!)
Here is Mi Jung on the top, summoning the lightning.
Muju Is also home to the Choi Buk Art Museum, which has both an inside gallery and an outdoor exhibit. This is a very hard attraction to find (I could not find a mappable address or phone number while I was there in November. Mi Jung was able to find a phone #, which is mappable uing the Naver GPS Map. I have included it below. As I spent my time outside, the photos will focus on the Junk Art exhibit by Kang Raegu.
These colorful and masterfully done statues are completely made out of items found in the junkyard! It was a great opportunity for me to play with lenses I do not normally get a chance to shot with. Such as my Rokinon (Samyang) 14mm f2.8AF.
The challenge of shooting with the 14mm, is not getting your shadow in the photograph, but it can be done and you can get some pretty creative angles and effects from such a wide angled lens.
Easy Rider pulling up to see what I was doing.
Johnny 5 is alive and lives in Muju.
Last but not least, we stopped by Taekwando Won, a 600 acre retreat for practitioners in the art of Taekwondo. which offers training, and a cultural experience to visits. This is a large complex and we only had time to take the monorail to the observation platform (We did not get any pictures as the air solution was so bad you really could not see anything and the live Taewondo exhibition that takes place twice daily. It really looks like there are a lot of peaceful hiking trails at the facility and some really nice cultural exhibits that would be nice to explore and photograph if we had more time. The live performance was excellent and I highly recommend it!
All in all it was another awesome trip to Muju! I will be posting another blog later in the week reviewing the Rumine Pension which was the perfect winter getaway complete with wood burning stove! We hope to see you back next week for more original content! If you wish to be notified by email when new content is posted consider registering by clicking HERE!
For the trailhead search for Baengnyeonsa Temple, or phone #: 063-322-3395
Trailhead GPS Coordinates.
Muju Deogyusan Ski Resort
Search for Muju Deogyusan Resort or phone #: 063-322-9000
Mappable GPS Coordinates.
Gimhwantae Literary Museum & Choebuk Art Museum (I could not find the address or phone # to this place anywhere on the web!)
Search for the bold name above or phone #: 063-320-5636
Mappable GPS Coordinates.