I fucking hate waking up early, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do to feel alive! My latest excursion was to Danyang, South Korea and I had to leave at 5 am to get there from Seoul. The bus ride was two and a half hours of tossing and turning but tolerable, because I knew where this bus was going would be worth it. When the bus finally arrived everyone departed, took a few pictures and then went to board a ferry. The view from the ferry was incredible and inescapable.
Soon after the ferry started cruising down and around Lake Chungjuho I started the understand the true beauty of this special place. This lake and the surrounding mountain range has some of the most epic landscapes I have ever seen. I could only think one thought when meandering around this lake: Jurassic Park. So much of Danyang reminded me of a Cretaceous era landscape. The cliffs were unbelievably steep, the mountains so elegant, yet powerful, and the water was so sleek and placid. I just couldn’t get enough of this beautiful place.
After taking in all of the beautiful sights and snapping as many shots as I could, the ferry finally arrived full circle and it was time to board the bus again to venture to Gosu cave. The bus had to cut through this small town of 37,000 people and go to the east end of it. Once arriving, there were only small-scale, family-owned business to be seen. The vibe was chill, but you could still sense hustle in the food hawkers and vendors. As I was walking to the cave I had a few thoughts and imaged what this cave would be like but had no idea the impact it would have on me.
Once inside Gosu cave my initial thought was “holy shit it’s cold as hell”! The cave was 59 degrees Fahrenheit and the outside temperature was closer to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It was extremely wet inside the cave and it was no different than being rained on for most of the experience. There was very, very little room maneuver, but I squeeze into ever crevice to get the best shots I possibility could. I have never been in a cave before so this was a surreal experience for me.
The cave was full of unexplainable objects my eyes had never seen before. As I was walking, very carefully I might add, through this cave I had to crouch, bob, weave, squeeze and bend around stalagmites and stalactites. I could only imagine how horrific this experience would be for someone with claustrophobia.
The idea that this huge cave was created 450 million years ago by water seeping through into the inner cave is mind blowing. Reading about the magical qualities of Mother Nature do not hold a candle to the true awe of seeing with you own eyes what she has accomplished. In Korea, Gosu cave is known as “The Underground Palace” and I can completely understand why this is so. It is truly as if the cave was designed for royalty.
The final site on my excursion was to see Dodam Sambong. These three rocks represent the husband, the wife and the concubine or Changgun-bong, Cheop-bong, and Cheo-bong. The location of these outstanding rock formations is ideal and the feelings of seeing it in person were equally so. To sum of the feeling of seeing these remarkable formations in one word would be: Peace. The area surrounding Dodam Sambong was extremely relaxing and tranquil. There were little children playing, old men playing Janggi, Korean chess, and women quietly chatting in the background. That moment couldn’t have been anymore perfect.
It was 6:00 PM and my day in Danyang was coming to a close, so I wandered back to the bus. As I began mentally preparing for my bus ride and then train ride back to Banghwa, where I live in Seoul, I couldn’t help but think of the great diversity South Korea as to offer. Many people tend to think of South Korea as only this industrial powerhouse fueled by soju, Korean alcohol, and the Han River but really there are two sides to South Korea. There is the obvious industrial Mecca full of intensity and prowess, but there is also the tranquil and natural side of South Korea. What countries are known for are often amazing, intense and exceptional, but I have always found that the lesser-known aspects of a country are where the true beauty of a country resides. Push it!