Hiking in Korea is great. There are so many spectacular areas to explore in our own backyard and throughout the country. Alli and I have done quite a few amazing hikes and last week we got to go to one of the most famous places, Mount Seorak. When we got there we saw one thing was clear, Koreans take their hiking seriously. It’s something we’ve noticed a bit on our travels but it did not fully show its face until this day.
Korean people love to wear the correct gear for everything. When going out shopping they are decked out in the most glamorous outfits, they match each other when they are dating, they wear complete wetsuits when swimming, and they have every piece of hiking gear your could possibly own. At Seoraksan (Mount Seorak), there were so many people with full suits, poles, backpacks, boots and other items — even if they were just walking to the next food service place. We seriously thought that we were walking in a living commercial for North Face, Black Yak, Merrell, K2, Gore-Tex and many more hiking companies. It was very comical at times, especially because we were in shorts, T-shirts and tennis shoes. Person after person, old and young, was covered head to toe in this stuff. Almost everyone had a full pack on, which left me constantly wondering, “What could they possibly be carrying?”
When we got back to the nearby town of Sokcho and wandered around, we saw just what a big business hiking gear is because the amount of stores selling this gear was incredible. We stopped and took some pictures of the store windows. One worker came out and asked “It’s good?” I said “Yes,” and he replied “thank you,” with a large smile on his face. His pride in his window display was another example of how serious Korean people are about their gear.