So the AK camping trip to Inje, where the plan of attack was to enjoy a bit of walking, a bit of camping and as with any AK jaunt a lot of drinking, is now done and dusted for another year and the photos are up, so here’s the written word on some of the goings on.

After a slight delay due to the excesses of a farewell party the night before and an incident with the bus hitting a taxi the Hwajeong crew arrived at Gangnam and we hit the road for Gangwondo about 9.15am. Our 3-hour trip to Inje went smoothly and we enjoyed seeing the sky gradually being more and more smog free. A service stop for a lunch of gimbap and “not like the picture” mandu saw us refueled for the drive and another stop at the last shop for the next 24 hours saw us stock up on an endless supply of junk food and last minute alcohol requirements.

At our drop off point we were able to see the effect Typhoon Maemi had on the mainland where it had washed away a road and bridge completely. We quickly loaded up and began the “short” walk to the camping area where after many unsuccessful attempts to hitch a ride we managed to get a nice guy to take our bags in his 4WD so we could take “group photos” and enjoy the views of the mountains around us unhindered by the weight of bottles, cans and all that food. Our walk took us about 3 hours though funnily enough according to our favorite tour leader we seemed to be “only 10 more minutes” away from camp the whole afternoon ? maybe there is a time/space anomaly in Inje we didn’t know about.

At camp we all pitched in to get ourselves organized for the night and while Michael, Glenn and Seokjin got to play with the fire, and Amanda, Meighan, Margaret and Jean all got the kebabs and steaks ready, the rest of us raided the surrounding area for a supply of wood (and the Korean lumberjack’s personal wood supply ? ooops ? how were we to know that those perfectly stacked logs were there for a reason other than to make our wood finding mission easier). It is also about now with the smell of the kebabs and steaks on the fire that we have our new honorary AK member enter the picture. Our new four-legged friend was named Neil in honor of our AWOL friend “Real Neil” and he was an instant hit around the camp. We soon discovered “Precious Neil” didn’t like pork and beans, mushrooms or marshmallows but was quite a fan of those kebabs, and steaks.

Dinner and dessert demolished we sat around playing games and drinking (of course) and kept warm by the fire while checking out the night sky (truly amazing to see the stars away from the city lights). Tor was quite excited when she saw “Mars or something”. When everyone was sufficiently drunk enough we decided to walk on down to the “ghost house” without the aid of torches (flashlights for you non-kiwis) and tried to freak each other out hiding in bushes and doing the old surprise attack thing, some of which worked better than others…I had the bruise on my arm to prove how scary me and Tor were to Margaret and Kate.

So when the drinking was done everyone crawled into their sleeping bags and tried to get some sleep which is easier said than done when you are shivering to death in a 14,000 won sleeping bag and you have people snoring (!) and moaning (with the cold). When we woke up the next morning we discovered why we were so cold ? everything was covered in frost.

We all huddled around the fire eating our ramyon, which yes Seokjin, did “taste different” being cooked on the fire and tried to make a dent on the last of the food so we didn’t have to carry it back out with us. “Precious Neil” came to visit again and enjoyed being spoilt with more food and a spot in front of the fire.

About 9am we started our walk out to the road via a “track” along the river. We were confronted with a river crossing about 5 minutes into the walk and everyone tried to tiptoe across the boulders to keep dry and the number of wet feet casualties was low, however by the time we got to our 10th river crossing in as many minutes nobody really cared very much anymore about the dry feet and just waded right on across. The track was random and we did a bit of bush-bashing to get down the valley a walk which took us about 5 hours. Kate and Margaret were the only brave ones to jump from the waterfall while the rest of us lined up along the side with cameras at the ready to capture the moment. The river walk was great, beautiful colors and scenery and not packed out with the day-trippers that the more popular walking tracks of Korea see every weekend.

At the end of our trip we had some bibimbap with of course “medicinal mountain vegetables” and made our way over to the bus which was waiting to carry our weary bodies home to Seoul. Now with an ETA of 6.30pm we were not quite prepared for the actual 9 hours we were stuck on the bus and actual arrival time of 12am, however with the aid of a DVD and our “norae-bus” we managed to pass the time while we inched our way back to Seoul quite nicely ? although I am not sure the bus driver would agree that listening us is a great way to travel.

So that’s about it I guess, a weekend of wilderness, drinking, “group photos”, fun and games with friends old and new and yet another collection of great memories to take home with us when our time in Korea comes to a close.

Here go the quotes from the trip ? looking forward to the next one.

Cheers, Trude

Seokjin 30 minutes from camp “Just 10 more minutes”

Me cooking marshmallows and posing for a photo “Hurry up I’m burning the hair on my knuckles”

Kate Why do you have baby wipes? Do you have a baby?”
Amanda “No I have a husband”

Kate to David on his way to the toilet “I have hand sanitizer”

Ron “I’m not drunk, I just had 6 marshmallows”

Tor at some ungodly hour in response to me shivering and moaning in the cold “Anthony! Trude is freezing! Lie next to her and warm her up” to which my response was “Who is this! Who is this!”

Tor “Do you know what time it is?”
Glenn “Well we’re pissed and that’s all that matters”

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