Hiking for Azaleas

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More than a month ago, I visited my friend in Namwon and saw the small but beautiful City of Love. I’ll post some pictures of beautiful Namwon some other time because during that time we also went on a hike during the Jirisan Unbong Royal Azalea Festival. It was that time in spring when all the azaleas were blooming beautifully in the mountains. Who could resist that?
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Armed with a backpack of snacks, water, sunblock and my trusty camera I dragged myself along with my friends to Unbong where we started our hike towards Baraebong peak. We got to the starting point and were greeted with a landscape filled with Koreans in full mountaineering gear (felt a bit underdressed for the occasion really hahah). Oh well~
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The first bit of the hike was pretty easygoing I was mostly concerned about taking good photos without the hordes of hikers in my shot. Hahha. Ah but sometimes you just stumble into interesting photos when someone accidentally (?) poses for your camera, Like cowboy ahjussi. You rock that hat.
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And then there’s the desperate attempts at National Geographic-esque photos.
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Or maybe a highly rebloggable tumblr image. #dramaticlensflare
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Hey this hike isn’t so bad. I don’t even feel the burn in my thighs yet, I thought. Boy did I think too soon because the incline just kept getting steeper and steeper the further we got. I thought going slow and steady was a smarter way to do things. But really, sprinting uphill (and weaving past the Korean hikers crazily in the process) turned out way better for me.
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A few hours later of huffing and puffing (and internally blaming my genes for short legs) we arrived at the very crowded Baraebong Peak. All the hiking groups were clamouring to get a photo with this marker and I just kind of wormed my way through to get a random shot of the coveted slab. Meh.
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Interestingly the best of the azaleas were not to be found on Baraebong Peak itself during that time. It was a good thing that one of my friends suggested to venture further to a different path to find more.
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Where was the best of the azaleas, you ask. We found them on Pallangchi Pass on the southern side of Baraebong Peak. The hill was pink!!! If it weren’t crazy filled with people you can almost pretend you’re on a hipster video as you navigate through a mini maze of azalea shrubs. *insert all excited emojis here*
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The hike, the heat, the crowd and even the awkward tan lines from my shirt and shorts were all worth it for a view as spectacular as this.
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Happy hiker face and all. This hike took about 6 hours up and down, including the random side routes we took and general tumbling and sliding into dusty little paths underneath and between shrubberies. Haha. To make the hike down more fun my friends and I took random ‘paths’ that required crawling, sliding and fun things. Felt like being a kid. YOLO, right?
This was a fun hike with unforgettable views.
See you soon with more adventures!

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