Nine Dragons! Your Kung-Fu is Weak!!!

Wonju Travel Blog

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Wow, I’m finally finding some time to write about some of last year’s trips! This story has to be told. The mountain that I climbed with my buddy Terry is known as Chiak-san. There is a really cool Buddhist temple at the base built near the “Nine Dragon Pool.” I was there a couple years ago and we thought about climbing the mountain, but it was March, it was bloody cold and there was snow and ice all over the place. So this time I wanted to be sure to climb it since I wasn’t sure when if ever I would return to South Korea.


So the story of the mountain and the temple is that some bad ass monk wandered up to the pool and found nine dragons drinking from the cool waters.

I don’t know the whole story of why, but the monk decided he was going to beat all of these dragon’s asses and make himself a temple there. Destiny or something I suppose. So he made the temple and people came to study under him. Apparently the master monk decreed that all of his disciples would make a daily trip to the top of the mountain with a basket of rocks and ultimately these large pillars of rock were built at the top of the mountain.


My friend and I decide to power up the mountain. After all, if monks with baskets of rocks can climb it easily, so can we, right? Well, one thing they don’t mention is that Koreans don’t believe in switch backs (not sure what these are called outside of the US, but basically for huge elevation gains, trails are usually cut back and forth at the expense of a longer trip up.) Basically, this trail goes straight up the mountain. They’ve built stairs in places, ropes, and the trail is very steep.  Good thing we didn’t really attempt it too vigorously the previous trip. Ice would have been a real problem.


Anyway, we made it to the top, the view was very cool and I was amazed at just how big the rock piles were.  Poor monks!

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photo by: voordax