Last Sunday we all decided that it would be a good idea to hike Taejo Mountain (태조산). MH suggested that we bring Sigma. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do but just couldn’t imagine a bus or taxi driver allowing– vehicles here are nice! Also, most people out here are scared of my little 50 lb. pit bull… In Korea Sigma is considered to be a large breed, which makes sense when the majority of dogs here are “toys” to be dyed and dressed and bedazzled. Anyway, it was decided: we would try to take Sigma with us for our day on the mountain.

We applied sunscreen, packed a picnic lunch along with some kibble and rawhide for Sigma, and made our way to the Taxi Stand near my apartment. Luck was on our side, folks! A taxi stopped for us and the driver didn’t appear to have any qualms about taking our dog across town. Yay!

sigma in a taxi

Finally got Sigma in a taxi!

The day was hot and sunny. Thank god for sunscreen and large bottles of water (and for strong partners to carry the said bottles of water up the mountain). Our crew hiked a little ways to show MH and Sigma one of the main features of the mountain: Big Buddha! The forest path leading up to the statue was quite lovely and all-encompassing…

The Forest

The forest around Taejosan

Sigma in front of Buddha

Sigma with Buddha at Gakwonsa Temple

After posing with Buddha, we began our hike up the mountain. It was super hot and we. sweat. a. lot. Sigma and MH powered through the steep climb while Steph, Ric, and I worked to catch up. Really those two jerks made hiking up a mountain look so sweet and easy… ugh. As per usual, we were offered makkeoli at the peak by some happy, inebriated hikers and of course we found some exercise equipment off of one of the trails on the mountain. As if climbing a mountain wasn’t enough exercise… haha.


Oh, you know, just some exercise equipment at the top of a mountain trail…


Family pic! (Took a few of these, couldn’t get Sigma OR Mike to look in the same direction at the same time…)

After reaching the peak, we hiked down a ridge to Yuwanggol (유왕골) where we saw a little village and decided to walk through it because Steph and Ric recalled there being a river a ways past there. The idea of a cool river sounded like an appealing place to eat our picnic and play fetch with Sigma and so we walked down into and [eventually] out of the tiny town.


Rural village tucked away at the base of the mountain


All smiles post-mountain climb


A valley just outside of the mountain

Finally we found a place to eat and play… and play and play.

Steph and Ric enjoying themselves in the river

Steph and Ric enjoying themselves in the river

Just a little post-picnic canoodling

And we enjoyed ourselves with a little post-picnic canoodling…

After lunch and a game of “chase the stick” we continued walking until we reached the Yongyeon Reservoir… basically we wound up in the middle of nowhere. Below are some of the houses and barns that we saw along the way:

An old-style house in Mokcheon

A house in Mokcheon village

A temple tucked away behind the rice fields

A temple behind the rice fields

another little home tucked away from the roadside

Another little home tucked away from the roadside

After making it to the Yongyeon Reservoir (횽연저수지), we were pretty beat and wanted to catch the bus back to our neighborhood in Cheonan. We bought ice creams and drinks at a small home-front corner store while waiting for the bus (there weren’t many of them passing through on this particular Sunday). When the bus finally did come, the driver wouldn’t let us on with the dog. So, we tried to think of another plan…

Yongyeon Reservoir

Yongyeon Reservoir

At this point, everyone was really tired and I don’t think any of us wanted to go back the way we came (miles of walking back through Mokcheon village and then another mountain climb)– well, everyone except MH. He might have even preferred that route. However, what we did end up doing was calling a “call van” to come pick us up. This took a while to accomplish because we were in such a remote area that the call van driver wasn’t sure how to find us. Lucky for us we had my phone and Steph to knock on some woman’s front door to ask for help in directing the driver to our spot near the rice paddies.


View from where we waited for our savior, the “call van”

It was a lovely, but tiring trip. I’d like to make it back there soon, perhaps when it is a bit cooler out. ^^


One response to “Taejosan

  1. Hi Sydney, You had quite a hike. The Yongyeon Reservoir looks beautiful, but I could pass on the home at the base of the mountain. Sigma looks great with Buddha & I’m sure she endured the hike well. We really missed having you and Ethan with us in the Outer Banks last week and hope you’ll be back home for next year’s family trip in Topsail Island, N. Caroline June 7 to 14.

    Be safe and take good care of yourself. Love you.

    Pat & Jack

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