Odaesan(Odae mountain), Jinbu Gangwon, South Korea
Odaesan, the 11th national park, is spread out across Gangneung-si, Hongcheon-gun, and Pyeongchang-gun in Gangwon-do(Province), and based around the highest peak Birobong which stands at 1,536m above sea level, Dongdaesan(1,434m), Durobong(1,422m), Sangwangbong(1,491m), and Horyeongbong(1,561m) stand together like a giant folding screen.
To the east, stands Noinbong(1,338m) all alone with the magnificent Sogeumgang(Valley) running below. Most of Odaesan’s peaks are flat ant the slopes are slow.
The autumn and the winter is the best time to hike Odaesan, but I prefer the winter. The snow made everything different. The typical hiking trail is starting from Sangwonsa(Temple), passing Jungdaesajaam(temple) and hit the top, Birobong and Sangwangbong, and return to the starting point. It is 11.4km round trip and takes about 6 hours.
That’s why it is nice place for one day hiking from Seoul.
Hiking starts with visiting Sangwonsa.
Sangwonsa was built by two princess of Silla dynasty, Bocheon and Hyomyong, in AD 705.
Though this temple is easy to access by car, the environment is very solemn. It is very nice to stay and to meditate.
Actually, many people visit here and stay overnight to get the inner peace.
This is the main building in Sangwonsa. There is Munsudongja statue in this building and the statue is Korean national treasure no. 221.
I would like to stay longer in Sangwonsa, but I had to leave here as my Birobong is waiting for me. My foot steps are heading to Jungdaesajaam. It is 2km away from Sangwonsa.
One the way to Jungdaesajaam, two monks after morning pray were approaching to Sangwonsa. It was so peaceful moment.
It is not so difficult to get Jungdaesajaam.
Walking on some winter steps were enough.
Because Jungdaesajaam was built on the slope, its roofs are overlapped to avoid from the damage by the snow. There are no temple looks like this in Korea.
This temple was built in 1400 when the king Taejong era of Chosun dynasty. And the king, Sejo who became a king after killed his nephew, visited this temple and prayed.
Above this temple, there is Jeokmyeolbogung. It keeps Buddha’s actual Sari which is small cry crystals sometimes found among cremated remains of monks. It says Jajang Yulsa who is the famous monk in Silla dysnaty visited Odaesan in China, and he met Musubosal while praying and Munsunbosal gave Buddha’s Sari to him. Munsubosal is the Bodhisattva of wisdom.
After seeking inner peace, the real hiking was started.
Heavy snow covered all over the mountain. If there’s no guide like this, it will be very easy to get lost.
Snow made not only hard hiking but also no food for bird.
So one of my fellow put some nuts on her palm, a bird came and picked those nuts. I think the bird was training humans like us.
The sky was deep blue and the mountain was so white.
At some height, I could see the entire mountain covered by snow. You know? The winter Olympic in 2018 will be held near here.
Finally, I have arrived at the top of Odaesan. The peak is Birobong, 1,563m. I felt like all mountains were underneath my foot.
I watched the other peak of this mountain, Sangwangbong. No more hard trail from now on.
On the way to Sangwangbong, It looks like there lives a snow queen.
It was too bad I had to leave Birobong, so I looked back the peak again.
And I felt thanks those who made this snow pass. Owing to them, I could enjoy the winter pass without any trouble.
Look! Snow laid very thick like this.
There’s so many bitches on the pass. I think the snow and the birch were making a good harmony.
Well, if you enjoyed the snow pass, you will find yourself on Sangwangbong before you know.
From Sangwangbong to Sangwonsa, the starting point, the very easy road were waiting for me. I missed my ski.
Finishing my white hiking, I looked over the Birobong again promising to come back again.
Odaesan is not so difficult to climb up and the best place to watch all mountains in Gangwondo Korea.
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