Hiking Jirisan on New Year's Day - January 1, 2011
Jirisan is the highest peak on the mainland peninsula of South Korea. Andrew and I planned to hike to the peak by sunrise, but didn't *quite* make it. We still caught an incredible sunrise, and made it to the peak afterwards. Tons of snow, and really, really cold.
Also, as it turns out, the park security at the trail entrance weren't concerned about my shoes - they were more concerned about the jeans I was wearing. In the end, jeans weren't a terrible idea. I was warm enough during the entire hike.
On the way down, Andrew gives an impromptu history lesson on Japanese occupation, urban myths, and the psychological power of the Baek-du Daegan ridge that stretches through the entire Korean peninsula - a power that freaked out the Japanese military enough that they drove a number of 80kg spikes into the ridge to "cut off" its protective effect. One of these is on display at Bupgaesa temple, about halfway to the peak.