Saturday, October 20, 2012

REAL camping in the middle of Seoul

 Since moving to Korea we have "camped" a few times... but pitching the tent in the family room is not the real deal.  We have done some day trips to a cool place in Yongin but there has been one factor that has kept us from committing to camp out in the wilds of Korea.  NO FIRES ALLOWED!  For the first time since we have lived here, we were here for the church's annual daddy daughter camp-out which has since become the family camp-out.  We were excited to finally see this magical place in Seoul where we would not only be able to set up tents but also build and enjoy a fire.
 Amber got herself and the girls 'camp ready' by masterfully crafting french pigtails.  What a cute bunch of girls!
 Sadie trashed the DVD collection one last time before we took off.
 Here are the not-so-natural beauties of Seoul that we saw on the way (not what we would normally see on our way to camp).
 Might have to pass on the "Making Friends burger chicken and coffee shop."
 Here is something that we see almost everyday but it still scares us each time.  I would love to be a couple miles away when this guy gets in a car accident.

 Finally we reached our "exit."  When I was here in 2008 on an internship, I attended services at this building.  I had no idea then that there was a campground out back.
 We parked on the full size basketball patio.
 The kids set up the camping chairs and then went exploring on the mountain behind the church.
 Addy and Logan were so happy to be camping with their friends from church.
 Not to long later, we had the tent up and our beds ready
 Within a couple of hours the place was filled with tents, the fire was started and the kids were off on scavenger hunts, weaving survival bracelets and running through the forest.  Brother Tulick told the kids "holy ghost" stories which they are still talking about.
 Our good friend PJ filled us in on the story behind the campsite.  It turns out that a long time ago, the church purchased the better part of an entire mountain from the Korean government.  Originally there were plans to build the Seoul temple there.  But it was not meant to be.  Though eventually they did build a chapel, a mission home and quarters for missionaries and the mission president, the Korean government regained most of the land when plans were made to construct the Chahamun tunnel through the mountain.  As you can see there is even a spare steeple hidden back here.
 Over time, the mission president's home became the missionary's home and new quarters were built for the president.  Later, the missionary's home was torn down and now all that remains is the foundation of the house which is where we set up the tents.

 Here is the steep hill leading to the chapel.
 Here is the tunnel.

 Above and below are the mission president's quarters.

 Surrounding the basketball court are persimmon trees.
 The church still owns the land on one side of the tunnel.

 Here is a view of Seoul Tower from the church.  I think our house must be on the exact opposite side of Namsan.
 Now about the fire, as long as we did not make a bonfire, or bother the neighbors high on the hills, the fire was permitted.  We used it to cook tinfoil dinners and hotdogs, roast marshmallows for smores and heat water for hot chocolate.  I took my GOYA and we sang campfire songs and stayed up with our friends talking until past 3:00 the next morning.  What a blast! 
 The kids slept while Amber and I were out enjoying the night, the stars and of course the fire.
 Unfortunately, Sadie had a rough night and when we couldn't get her to fall asleep, I decided to take her home so she could sleep in her own bed.  Lucky for us, the house was only 15 minutes away and at 3:00 in the morning there was no traffic.
 In the morning, Amber Logan and Addy, woke and enjoyed a camp breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs.

 One of our fellow campers brought their dog which Logan loved.
 Now that there was more light to explore, the kids found a vault carved into the side of the mountain.  When they finally pried it open, they found it empty except for a pile of newspapers.
 Yay! Dirt!
 Logan loves camping.
 The leaves were just starting to change here.
 Amber shot this pic of some random campers that must have trekked from the other side of the mountain.
 Finally, once sleeping beauty woke up, Sadie and I came to join Amber and the other two kids.

 Apparently another piece of history is that there used to be a high-end Chinese restaurant further up the mountain.  This writing carved into the stone may have had something to do with that.
 Here is a cool looking cave.
 Another relic of the restaurant???
 Now it was sadly time to take down the tent, pack up and go home.
 On the way home we passed Kyo'ngbok palace.
 As well as King Sejong square.
 And the massive statue of the great admiral Yi Sun-sin.
 Can you see his turtle ships?

 Here is Sungnaemun or Namdaemun (great south gate) which was destroyed by fire in 2008.  Now it has nearly been completely restored.
 Sadie was happy to be heading home.  I hope we get the chance to do this again.  I am sure that this is one of those experiences that we will always treasure.  Who knows when this will become something that can't be done.

1 comment:

Vyanca said...

Looks like a great adventure!! You can always tell when the dads are in charge of getting the babies ready, their hair is never done :)