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The Heart, Mind, and Soul of Mt. BugakA trip from Seoul City to Bugak Skyway
Yeo Ye-rim  |
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승인 2016.10.04  00:04:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리






CITY DWELLERS these days often head off to the mountains to escape the crowded city, but they tend to overlook the subtle beauty of nature that surrounds them. After scrutinizing popular travel blogs and websites, people fall into the trap of only observing what they are told. The result is a bunch of clichéd photos taken after strolling through the same courses. So my advice for travelers is to look at what the place is meant to show rather than what they are told to see. Here is an account of what I have observed throughout the one-hour trip to Bugak Skyway.

 Watch, listen, and smell the forest
As soon as I took off at the Literary House of Yun Dong-ju, I could not help myself from looking at the sky painted above Seoul. After long nights and days of blazing heat and rain, the sky has finally stripped itself out of fine dust. It was clouded with cotton candy and flowers, defying the sight of the repressed city.
The splendid blue sky continued all the way through the Bugak trail. The trip was an escape from the stiff office and cobbled streets of the city – it was a trip for a moment of rest. As I walked through the forest connecting the city and the skyway, I was carried away by the gentle breeze. Stepping onto the car road adjacent to the forest felt strange; it was like rushing through swishing cars, and I noticed how my steps became unsteady. However, just a few steps away, the forest was a relaxing place, blind of time. The trees, the earth, the air – the environment vibrated with soft light shimmering through the rustling leaves. The space was free from the rectitude of people and their science. With each step, I felt my soul mingle with nature.
There are several ways to reach the Bugak Skyway, but I did not regret choosing the trail through the forest. Walking through it drew me into serenity, allowing me to tune into my five senses.


Between ancient and modern
Wow – was the first word that came out upon reaching the Bugak Skyway after a one-hour walk through the mountain trail. Beyond the hills opposite from where I stood, square houses were drilled into the mountains. It was a rebellious sight against nature, but somehow strangely beautiful. People call it cohabitation of nature and humanity. Behind me, there stood the Palgakjeong Pavilion, another bizarre yet familiar beauty. Dark green and red colors were carved through the han-ok structure. The pavilion was a modern oddity, hinting on the old history of Korea amidst 21st century modernity.
It was almost 7 p.m., and everything on the skyway – the park, the pavilion, the benches, and the national flag swaying in the wind – were saturated with burnt orange, setting a romantic atmosphere for families, friends, and lovers. Clouds were gradually fading behind the sun, which was still glowing with its dulcet tones of orange, yellow and pink.
After having dinner at the Bugak Skyway restaurant, the last bits of sunlight disappeared into the horizon, vibrating with coral and gold till the very last moment of the afternoon. Everyone was enchanted at that very moment – all their pain and anger, their sorrows and worries – faded away with the sun.
*                 *                 *
The route back to the city was a little chilly yet relaxing. Listening to my favorite indie tracks, it felt strange going back from the eternal to the ephemeral. While I was waiting for the bus, the city illuminated with building lights. I headed back to the busy streets of Seoul, but my mind was still shaded in green.


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