Before moving to South Korea, the word Max only had a few choice meanings in my life. For instance: the name of a friend; a sweet hang out for Zach, Screech, Slater and the gang; the highest setting on most appliances; and a badass way to end the statement “taking it to the”…just to name a few.
Having quickly cruised through the small selection of Korean beers, I had no choice but to go with the last of the “big three”, Max. It was a good companion on my first trip to Busan, Korea’s second largest city, nicely situated on the southern coast. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like Busan. It has the big city feel, awesome beaches, and is surrounded by some of the best hiking South Korea has to offer!
After a fun bus ride with some friends and a few pre-Mountainbeering-beers, I navigated the Busan subway to get to Guemjeongsan, the park/mountain I was looking to Mountainbeer. You can imagine how surprised I was when I approached the trail-head and came across this:
I’ve mentioned before how South Korea is a bit of a “no rules zone” and this just goes to show that there is no shame putting a full-on amusement park in the way of getting to the top of a mountain. Luckily I found some helpful folks to show me the way…
After finding the trail, it definitely did not disappoint. Guemjeongsan is traditionally known as a fortress built in the early 1700s to prevent Japanese invasion. Some parts of the fortress are still present along the way. The trail was nice and steep with plenty of little detours available through the woods. Unfortunately, some of the trees in the woods were wearing signs like this:
Killer toxins aside, the summit had some pretty awesome views of Busan, which I’m sure would be much better if the day had been a bit clearer.
One of the good things about getting “lost” in the amusement park (there’s nothing like an American walking alone through crowds of young Korean children in an amusement park to get you some strange stares) is that I got up the mountain a bit later, which meant no crowds. It also meant that I had to find a way to get some pictures while balancing my camera on rounded rocks with steep drop-offs and scrambling around to get in the shot before the timer went off. This lead to a series of “damn”s…
All said-and-done, this was the perfect way to begin exploring a new city in South Korea. The rest of the weekend was a blast, but for some reason on these trips it’s always the Mountainbeering that sticks out in my mind as the highlight.