Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seonamsa Temple - Hike

At 9:00, when our hike was to begin, the sun had already begun to warm the air. Thankfully, we were given the option to wear our own shoes, which made the hike a lot more comfortable. The tall monk led the group. For most of the walk, we were to be in two lines. He had us do various exercises and practices, such as walking backwards, walking VERY slowly (which did make it great to be attuned to the sounds of nature, including a pheasant flying by), and some stretching, massage, etc. with the person across from us. After leading us down some steep hills and across a stream, we entered into a forested area unlike the others. Here, the tress were all a special type of pine tree, whose ball-like seed pods had a fragrant pine scent when rubbed. As a Korean woman (who was also on a temple stay here and joined the walk) began singing in traditional dramatic tone, I looked upward. The immensely tall trunks diverged in the sky, their upper branch cluster of leaves looking like swaying giraffe spots. Looking across on the sloped ground, the mid-morning light began to play on the lower portion of the trunks.


For lunch, we were back at the dining hall. We were warned ahead of time that the monks would also be eating then, so we had better be on our best (non-talking) behavior. After lunch, we could change back into our clothing and get ready to depart. Thanking the tall monk, we walked back to the bus and on to the next destination. The bamboo forest, a planted tourist attraction, was on the way back to Seoul.

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