When my girlfriend told me that we were going to live in Gumi, I had no idea what I got myself into. I never heard of Gumi before and I could not find the city in any mainstream tourism magazine. To my luck, the place was carrying a beautiful and stunning secret. As I arrived to the city it was impossible to ignore Mount Geumosan, a majestic mountain that you can see from almost every point of the town.
Although I´ve never climbed a mountain before, there was something in the sharp rocks and the moody clouds covering the summit that convinced me to climb Mt. Geumosan…and I want to convince you to do the same…
Mt. Geumosan is inside the Geumosan Provincial Park, just 5 minutes in taxi from Gumi Station (35 minutes from Daegu in train). It has an entrance with imposing metasequoias lined up on the sides of the road that take you to a heavenly forest packed with cherry blossoms, pine trees and rocky hills. The park has one of the most peaceful moods and amazing landscapes I have ever seen in the country.
The place is clean and perfectly adapted for hiking and has plenty of bathrooms and resting areas. If you make it to the summit, which I bet you will, you will find a Buddhist temple built between a set of gigantic rocks with breathtaking viewpoints. And the best of all, it has no entrance fee! Try to arrive early, so you have time to rest and enjoy all the sights of the park and save enough energy to make it to the summit. If you´re hungry, near the park entrance there is a variety of pretty decent restaurants and cafés to eat before and after your adventure.
The first stop is at Daehye Falls. You can take a cable car that will take you directly to the waterfall, but if you do, I suggest to only buy a one-way trip (3,500 won) and walk in your way down so you don´t miss the Doseongul Cave, the Daehye Gate and the Haeunsa temple.
Also, that part of the trail is decorated with doltops (stone towers) built by the visitors, so don´t be afraid to contribute and leave your mark by placing a stone in the top of one. Contemplate and relax with the sound of the falling water as you prepared for the next stop.
After taking a break in the waterfall go up to the first viewpoint to contemplate the city. The view is pretty decent, but if you really want to get to see the nicest landscapes, I´m afraid you will have to keep going up—believe me, once you reach the summit, you´ll know is worth it. Up to this point you can easily find a bathroom and water fountains, but if you keep going try be sure to bring lots of water and snacks, it gets a little bit tough.
Climbing from the first viewpoint to the summit will take you around two hours, you don´t really need special clothes or equipment (although a walking stick might help).
Once you reach the Hyeonwalbong summit, I recommend taking a look from the heliport in the opposite side of the view of the city and you will look at a more natural mountainous landscape that you will never forget. Celebrate! You made it through the toughest part.
And the best is yet to come. Follow the signs that take you to Yaksaam temple, it will take you only three minutes to find the entrance of wooden stairs—a narrow space between two thundering rocks. Go down the stairs and look around, you can enter the praying rooms of the temple and also take a picture next to the wooden suspension bridge with a beautiful scenery behind.
Geumo Lake (Geumoji)
After visiting the park, go chill to the surroundings of Geumo Lake (five minutes walk from the entrance). You can rest in a bench or rent one of the little boats with dragon and swan shapes.
Once you are at Geumo Lake, try to enjoy the whole picture of the mountain you just climbed. I bet that Mount Geumosan will look even more alive than the first time you saw it.
Pictures by Fito Ramirez Baez
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