Derick Margerum and Courtney Gold have a lot to express and some photos to share regarding our stay in Chuncheon, enjoy. – Chris Lebens
Hello all, we have completed our stay in the beautiful city of Seoul, and will take our talents to Chuncheon, Kangwon National University and the Olympic resort in PyeongChang. It was going to be a busy two weeks as there was a lot of activities planned for the week.
We went to a lake with our Korean friends and participated in watersport activities like wakeboarding, water skiing, inner tubing etc. I had never wake boarded before so it was a struggle for me to actually get up on the board and ride the waves. After about five attempts I finally made it up and had a blast cruising on the lake. Next we went tubing, and there were a variety of tubes we could choose from, like the two person spinning 8 tubes all the way to the fly fish. I was fortunate to do both of them, but the fly fish was my favorite because the tube gets air, then glides over the water like a real fly fish. I personally appreciated the watersports experience because we got to do it with our friends, and that made it so much more fun.
Another day that was really fun was our Thursday mountaineering day when climbed and hiked Mt Sam ak. It was a daunting task and tough climb as told to us by Dr. Rhee, but Cougs are always up for a challenge. I brought my iPhone to listen to music to set a pace and get me going. As the journey began Josh and me and me set out as the leaders and I frankly did not think it was that hard. Along the way we saw some amazing streams and waterfalls that captured what this mountainous hike would be like. We were hiking for about an hour when we came across a temple in the middle of the mountains! The temple was absolutely beautiful and it glowed underneath the overcast day. So we decided to rest for a bit and grab some pure mountain spring water. After our short break, we continued the climb, and this is where it got really tough. We came up on a rock avalanche as a couple of us described it, essentially a scattered pile of rocks that had to be navigated to get around, and it consisted of using two hands. However, it was really the only incredibly tough obstacle preventing us from getting to the top, and it now felt like a reasonable destination. A couple of more hills were no match and we finally reached the top of the mountain standing at 654 kilometers. All of us were drenched in sweat, but the view of Chuncheon and the surrounding areas was breathtaking and made the trip worth it. We brought WSU Cougars flag and knew we had to get a picture at the top to cap off a great day of climbing. The way down seemed easier to me and when we reached the bottom there was a sense of relief that we had accomplished a challenging task. Great job Cougs!
We have now entered the third week in are amazing travels and experiences around South Korea. I cannot begin to express what I have received in not only the lessons learned, but also the amazing culture of Korea. Between my first blog post and this one I have already seen and experienced a lot of Korean history. One of the biggest changes that has occurred is our location, which is now Chun Cheon. Being in a different city gives the others and myself a chance to see what Korea has to offer. At this location thus far we have seen the ChungPyungsa temple, which is over a 1,000 years old, had a Korean water sport experience and went mountaineering on Mt. Samak.
Going up to the ChungPyungsa temple was an incredibly eye opening moment to have just due to the immense amount of history behind it. Being over 1,000 years old I could only dream of what it was like to see the group of Buddhist living there over the years. Just seeing the architecture and artwork was amazing because all the pictures had some story line to them. With Buddhist currently staying in the area we could have seen them conduct their daily prayer. We did miss out on this opportunity, but we still saw other women who were staying there doing daily Buddhist activities. Not only was this a once in a lifetime opportunity I was able to imagine the daily life currently and thousands of years ago. The temple itself was so incredibly peaceful; it was the perfect place to let your mind go blank. Seeing Buddhist temples like this one is not something I could just normally see back home. In that case, I documented everything I saw and will never forget the amazing sight I saw that day.
Our next adventure was the Korean water sport experience with the Korean students and faculty we have met. This was a day I could not be more excited for because I love the water and the freedom it brings. One of the most interesting facts we found was that the water we were in is one of the cleanest, even having the ability to drink it. Upon arrival we could all tell that the clouds looked less than pleasing. Before we knew it the rain came off and on through out the day. You may think that this may ruin the experience, but it actually made it even more memorable. I got to spend a day relaxing and just simply enjoying the day with a great group of people.
The next moment I was able to experience was probably the most rewarding feeling I have had on this trip! We had the challenge of climbing Mt. Samak that was 5.5 miles up and 5.5 miles down. Even when we first started the hike we had to climb these stairs that were more like a ladder, with you looking straight up. Seeing how this hike began I was only imagining what the rest of it was going to bring. Once getting halfway, there was no thought in my mind to turn back. In that moment in being halfway I tried to imagine what it would be like when we reached the top. I imagined seeing an amazing view and being so incredibly proud of the group that came up with me. If you thought the stairs in the beginning seemed tough there was even more to come. We reached these stairs that were all rock, but very uneven. I personally almost fell myself and had to recover to catch my balance. Once getting over the hurdle of the rock steps we all knew that we were close to reaching the top; which gave us even more motivation to push forward. Before we knew it, we all had made it. Once I saw the view I was blown away; simply because I have never seen anything like it before. I stood there for a second and realized that the fatigue I felt coming up vanished. I was able to soak in the beauty of Korea and the city of Chun Cheon below. For our final victory as a group we held up the Coug flag to show that we conquered this mountain and never gave up! Stay tuned for even more exciting news and the adventures Korea will give us! GO COUGS!