Summits on the Air Expeditions in Korea

전북 Jeonbuk

20141218 Half Crazy, Half Lazy

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The official first day of vacation is never meant to be relaxing or vacation-like, etc…most of the time it’s spent catching up, be it on sleep or administrative duties (hitting the bank, renewing leases, emptying the litter box, etc) or gleaning contacts on deserted, windswept mountain tops. Today was a day to make it count, like Tuesday, when the formerly closed trails have finally been reopened, well, today was my chance to pay a visit to both HL/JB-017 Unjangsan and HL/JB-020 Gomjigisan. Uh-huh. Another double activation (8+3)+(8+3) and one that I haven’t done since 2012. I’ve been waiting…

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When I went down to the car at four o’clock, I wasn’t too concerned–yes, it’d be chilly (chillier, with that nice, sparkling, clear sky) but it is almost technically winter. Isn’t that what it’s been like these days? Having arrived at the trailhead located at Naecheo Village (not at Piam Pass, this time), a local bus arrived a few minutes later: quick jumped out to ask him about the schedule, as I’d like to do something more like a through hike at some point, JB-020 –> -017 –> 027 but getting back to the car would pose a slight challenge, unless I feel I’d be lucky in getting a call taxi to come out. The bus doesn’t go in my direction of interest, but could always be a possibility later on (or going east over Gubongsan…which will become a SOTA mountain with the next update!).

So, I finally get all organized, shoes and spikes on, just as it’s barely starting to get light out when I start up the trail–I’m leaving fresh prints, but that’s to be expected. All is fine and dandy, though as I ascend closer to the ridge (which runs on a north-south axis) I can hear the wind, which I think has actually started up because the sun has risen (energy input into the system). Reaching the junction on the ridge proves me right: yep, wind. No problem, winter, right? It would seem as if the drifts of the other day were a simple appetizer, just a smidgeon of the main course to come…

My main source of surprise comes from the fact that HL/JB-017 Unjangsan is a fairly popular mountain, receiving busloads (really!) of hikers coming to make the loop (which doesn’t get closed off during fire season these days) that culminates between Dongbong (Samjangbong), Unjangdae and Seobong (Chilseongdae). However, the trail did not seem very broken in, at all. Even to the point where I had to break trail in parallel, off to the side of the main path, because of the drifts. The drifts are in the areas sheltered by the wind (hence the snow gets deposited there) and was shallow, guess where? On the windy upslopes a few meters west of the ridge’s crest! We’s gots cold and numbness here in the ROK, but I haven’t thought of frostbite in years, possibly decades. In order to facilitate the ascent, I had to remain exposed to the wind–not fun. Then there are those stretches where you don’t really have the choice but to stay atop the ridge (nice drops on both sides) and face the drifts. Ah, the drifts. Did I mention there were snow drifts? There’s a first time for everything and this is the first time I’ve wished I had snowshoes in Korea: trying to advance, uphill, and breaking through chest-high banks of powder. Seriously? I don’t think there had been more than 15cm of actual snow that landed on the ground, but now it was all right here.

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Irgendwie, finally arriving at the summit just a bit after nine, I didn’t wish to fool around and lose the heat I had been generating plowing up the hill (for what seemed ages, but around two hours for the ascent isn’t /that/ bad…it’s quoted at an hour for that trail, can take one and a half loaded down with gear, so I’ll take that given the conditions), so I quickly set up the antenna (5s collinear, as per our “nail-it theme” this month) and set up shack sweet shack in the bothy bag. The actual activation itself wasn’t very punishable, having been completed within a half an hour–quite smooth for a weekday morning.

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Despite stunning views in all directions, today would not be a day to dilly-dally up in the activation zone, especially were I to stick to my original plan of activating two summits. I have to say that during the activation, my mind was leaning more and more towards not doing JB-020, but was open to checking it out as far as descending via Kalk Pass–however some of my antenna segments had gotten stuck in the tree while dismantling and sortof cemented the thought that a second activation would not be possible today. That, however, did not stop me from still taking that route (breaking trail should be easier going downhill, no?) plus it should be a bit more out of the wind…

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바보…I should know better, as it isn’t all descent, but those places it wasn’t that bad, just a newly developed hole in the side of my shoes was beginning to make itself apparent breaking the banks. Then some uphill through the snow, then down again, until the pass…eh…Gomjigi? Nope, this bear was not going to be crossing that mountain today–I came down a better trail, I’m not going up that path. Down the access road it is!

Five minutes later I am thawed out enough that the thought crosses my mind “maybe I can do it today.” That’s a 400 meter elevation difference talking there–the weather hasn’t changed up there. Besides, my shoes were sloshing around, now that everything had melted. That wouldn’t be a good idea. Moving along, people. Going down this road with its many switchbacks is actually longer, but more comfortable. At one of the curves, I had the impulse to look up–what did I see? The very same ribbon I strung up three years ago marking the end of the shortcut between Naecheo Village and this road (because to follow this road all the way to the bottom, a bit to the east and then back up again to the main trail head and parking lot would add an additional 1.5 km or so). No joke!

Twenty minutes later and I was back down at the parking lot, still the only car there, so I assume the only client of the day for Unjangsan. Not before rustling up a doe just above the farms…

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Tuesday Gyeonggaksan

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Always love it how people start freaking out when it starts snowing, but it seems to be when it’s too late to actually take some action (despite a bit of snow now and then, haven’t seen a snow day around here…I figure it’s a byproduct of schools conveniently being located within walking distance–for the students, at least). Just the other day my co-teacher came rushing into the classroom at 4:22 PM, to tell me that I could leave early due to the inclement weather. Really. Backstory: my last class at that school finishes at 12:20 and I have free time all afternoon until the sun sets and I am released 4:30 PM when I may go join the hordes of other mindless labourers who all due to any lack of coordination must congest the roads in unison to ensure a punishable return home.

눈오기 시작하면 여기있는 분들 행동 이상하진다–해마다 겨울 오겠잖아요…왜 준비를 안 해요? 눈이 많이오면 학교이나 다른 행사 취소한경유 아직 못 봤어요. 다른 날에 나의 팀강사는 오후 4시22분에 교실에 빨리 들러왔어요: “쌤! 날씨가 나빠져서 오늘은 우린 일찍 퇴근 할 수 있어요!” 정말. 있잖아요…나의 마지막 수업을 12시20분에 끝나고 4시반까지 오후동안 계속 자유시간 있어요. 진짜?

Focus people! Logic dictates that increased levels of sublimated precipitation would be found to my south thus that is the direction of travel which I must pursue. It could also be the fact that it is December sixteenth and all of the trails which had been banned from entry during the last two months would finally be open again–with the gates open, I whole-heartedly rushed into the heart of the storm, splashing nimrods cruising at 20km in their all-season tired non-lit white SUVs with slush as I exerted my full on Pride™ power: 1300cc and 50W on 2m. Three hundred meters up at the Fire Pass, I pulled over and parked at my usual spot.

집중! 물론 남쪽에 더추우면 날씨더 나쁘면 난 반드시 그 방향으로 이동 해야돼요. 혹시도 오늘은 12월 16일이니까 거의 2개월동안 통제되는 산책길들 이젠 열린다–가슴 기쁘고 폭풍으로 들러가서 여름타이어신은 저속 SUV를 추월하고 프라이드™ 파워 300미터 불재까지 편안하게 도착해서 보통위치에서 주차했어요. 스노우타이어도 도워 줬어요 ㅎ

Fire season trail closures

Breezy and snowy would be a fitting description of the conditions as I followed a single pair of footsteps going up the hill…until I reached the top of the western ridge. Let’s just say there weren’t any paragliders today catching some ridge lift… Had I not known the trail by heart, that there was shelter up on top (and have someone else ahead of me somewhere uphill) I’d seriously question why I was up there. Eh, the answer is simple: points is points. I was fully warmed up but couldn’t take off my windbreaker because it was so blustery! There were some drifts already formed, but it wasn’t whiteout conditions or anything, either. Besides, there aren’t any alternative routes on this trail, it’s straight or straight down.

산행을 출발 해서 발자국 1개 딸라서 날씨가 통퐁이 되고 눈이 계속 내려오고 있었어요…서쪽의 능선까지. 거기서 바람 많이 불렀어요! 오늘 능선 리프트 타는 파라그라이더 볼 수 없겠다~ 정말, 이 산길을 안 외우고 위에 대피가 없으면 (그리고 앞에서 어디서 한분이 있고) 정신을 확인 해야겠어요. 암튼 점수는 점수에요. 몸이 참 따뜻했는데 바람 (태풍?) 때문에 바람막이 바찔 수 없었어요! 눈더미가 여기 저기 있었는데 아직도 잘 볼 수 있고 그길에서 다른 길 선택이 없어요.

Upon finally reaching the peak with the fire tower, I left the prints to continue on their merry little way without me (doing the loop course?) while I set up the 5s antenna and retreated from the wind to activate. The last few activations haven’t been that difficult to achieve, QSO rate wise–well today was going to turn that around: it took forever and a half to obtain four contacts, all basically local, with excellent signals.

산불감시초소탑에서 발자는 날없이 계속걸려서 (둘레 코스한다?) 5단지피 설치하고 탑속으로 가서 운용을 했어요. 요즘 저번 몇 운용이 합격하기 그렇게 힘들지않지만 오늘은 진짜 어려워서 QSO 4건밖에 못 잡아서 모두가 그냥 강한 지방 신호들 됐어요.

The descent sloughing through the drifts in the dark was quite pleasant, only catching a few new sets of tracks, some rabbit, some deer, nothing bigger this time around, reaching the car at just a little after seven o’clock. The roads weren’t so bad on the way back that I did arrive at diner’s club on time–what was interesting was that south of the Mangyeong River had the worst of the road conditions but on the other side things were very clear (until getting downtown again, that’s another story).

18시10분에 정리하고 우리 우더운 눈길로 하산을 행복했어요–토끼와 사슴보다 이번엔 더큰 발자를 (인간제외) 보지 않고 19시 좀넘어서 자동차에 도착 했어요. 길거리 월성봉갈때보다 좀 더 좋아서 완주군과 김제에 좀 미끄럽지만 만경강을 지나서 갑자기 도로는 깨끗했어요! 와! 시내까지…ㅎㅎ 그렇지만 화요일마다 만남 다이너스 클럽에 늦게 도착 하지 않았어요!


Better luck, this time!

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Some in the audience may recall an expedition a few years back to Wibong Mountain Fortress. Or maybe not. Ahem. It was sortof a flop. Kinda. Maybe. Eh…on that occasion I managed to muster up only three contacts, despite having lugged up the FT-857, set up a Zepp,…in the end, the contacts mustered were via 2M on an HT…foo foo.

몇년전에 위봉산성에서 실패된 운용을 아마 어떤분은 기억 할 수 있읍니까? 기억도 안하면 ㅇㅋ…그때에 운용 해봤는데 교신을 3건만 합격 했어요–4개 아니구 ㅠㅠ 또는 난 나의 큰 리그와 단파 안탠나까지 가지고 갔어요: 그리고 그 3 QSO가 다 2미터 HT로 했어요….땡.

Fast forward a few years, time is fluid, no? to redeem myself, having avoided it for a while (“well, officer, the trail isn’t that discernible….also, no summit marker, that I’ve been able to find”)….errr…do such things matter? She’s got prominence! That’s what matters–ignoring the fully remodeled with tended grounds hump across the street, in black and white, this is what counts!

몇년 앞으로 보시면 오늘오후에 완주군으로 이전쟁 맞자워야되었어요…요즘은 지도보면서 그산을 그냥 보기 싫었어요. ㅎ. 이름도 찾을 수없어서 생각 안했어요 (정상에서 아무표가 없고 많은 지도탐색 하면서 못 봤어요–하지만 좀 옆으로 때때로 귀뜰봉 찍었어요, 601미터봉대신 580미터해발 에서.)

이젠 그냥 “위봉산성”으로 이라고 할꺼요–산성벽이 저기까지 올라간다. 미안 하지만 JB-080 서래봉 때문에 맞은편 (북쪽에) 위봉산은 소타된 산 안이에요. 아마 더 이쁜데 그것때문에 위봉산 아직 방문 하지 않았어요. 남쪽있는 산성 그렇게 잘 관리와 리모델링 할 수 있으면 좋갰다!

Previously, I had ascended up the easterly ridge, leading up to the summit from the pass where Wibong’s fortress walls cross, however since it was hairy business going up, I said to myself, “self, the trail goes down over here,” and descended along the non-renovated fortress wall all the way back to the pass. Wasn’t glamorous but it was cleared. This time I went up this route, and with the snow and whatnot, it wasn’t that bad climbing–I just established that I would not be going down via that same route this evening….

저번에 난 동쪽능선으로 알라 갔어요…산책길상태 좋지 않았어요, 그래서 정상에 반대편의 산성별으로 내려는길을 봐서 하산 선택 했어요. 이번 여기로 올라 갔어요. ㅇㅋ. 노프롭램 하지만 오늘은 이도같은 길로 하산 원하기 싫었어요…아직 너무 미끄럽고 걸려면서 벽돌이 계속 움지겼어요.

Upon reaching the summit, I was rewarded with quite a nice view, even if soon after the sun had decided on going behind the one cloud that was in the sky…I mean, c’mon. Really? With hope that this was not a premonition of a repeat performance for this summit, I proceeded to setup my big 5s 2m antenna (eh–it’s served me well so far, this week?).

정상에 도착 해서 멀리까지 이쁜 배경을 찾았다! 몇분 못 지내서 햇볏이 없으졌어요…하늘에 구름 하나만 있었는데 그 구름 하나 해와 위봉사이에 멈쳐서 주차했다. 정말? 양쪽에 모든 다른산들 햇살을 받고있었어요….불운 신호 이라고해…? 아니! 그냥 따뜻한 날씨없는 듯이에요–그럼 5단지파 설치 준비 했어요. (이번주간 동안 잘 썼어요…오늘도~)

Not so fast–there! The wire between the J-pole matching section and the first phased segment broke–well, it is a weaker point in the design, where probably the most stress is exerted when the wind blows (and it does, on those summits!) and things, they all start a’floppin’ around! No, wait! That’s not it–the connection between the two elements (the bottom of the “J,” if you will) had disappeared, donc a bit of surgery was necessary…I removed some wire from the first segment to make the matched connection…if there were any discussion before regarding how much out of tune this antenna was, well, I think we may say in confidence that is more out of tune than beforehand…

앗! 그렇게 쉽게 안돼! 제이폴 매칭아래에 연결선 좀 빠졌어요? 빠리빠리 수슬 해야지–공구 있음…첫단에서 선을 조금만 빌렸어요. 얘전에 튜닝 걱정 있었어요–이젠 더 확실히 걱정 하도 돼요! ㅎ

Such trivialities didn’t hold me back from activating, even if there was a lull midpoint–success was to be had! Yes, it was getting dark, though people do get out of work and hop into their autos for the schlepp homewards….all I have to do it suck it up, call CQ, and wait around.

그런 작은 문제도 있으면 아직도 합격 해야돼요–다른 선택없음. 만약에 주파수 좀 조용이 하면 그냥 기다릴 수 있고 퇴근시간에 모바일국들 나오갰다.

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Remember that comment before about not descending along the non-wall (could be called as such?)–well, I decided upon leaving the summit via the east ridge (not the east ridge which leads to JB-070, but the other east ridge, obviously!), through the mini-bamboo…following the trail was actually easy enough, but somewhere along the way down I must’ve gotten distracted, as I was, pretty soon, going over fallen trees and whatnot…I can only assume from 2012’s typhoon: Vol-au-vent (I know, that’s not the real name, but it sounds as such, and I’m too lazy to look up the name at the moment of press–another time! Peu importe, y’all can figure it out….). For a stint. I was crashing over and under fallen trees, snow-smushed mini-bamboo, usw, until reaching the logging road. Skid. Whoops!

아까 전에 나온 다르게 하고 싶은 하산길 댓글 기억 하시죠? 저쪽 동쪽능선으로 (JB-070 원등산으로 가는 능선 말고…) 하산 했어요. 반길까지 편리하게 가는데 2012년 가을의 태풍 (바로밴)

Lost an Eisen: one for the mountain….I ain’t going back to look for it tonight. Maybe in the spring? I know, there’s plenty of moonlight to spare, but I’m happy to be back on pavement, at the moment.

Yes, of course, I did have auxiliary lighting, but why spoil the mood? Nothing like the moonlight on the snow during a northwards trajectory, be it on foot or bike.

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On a side note, I was stuck behind a Musso Sports with military plates (육) on the way back…until Bongdong, at least. Was interesting: usually you see the all-band radio-tuned antennas only on the older heavy-duty vehicles–I’m not current, but it seems like they’d be changing their fleet over?


Out with the old, in with the cold!

the end of riding season?

Yesterday, December 1, definitely truly proved itself to be the beginning of the winter bonus period in Korea, with a good snowing…even with some starting to stick! Might have to put the wheels away for the winter? Even yesterday’s tea, which had been left behind in the car, had frozen–the change from a very comfortable autumn to “it’s officially winter” was a rather sudden one! What better way to commemorate than with an after-school activation on one of Iksan’s higher peaks, HL/JB-140 Cheonhosan? Registering at exactly 500mASL it just squeaks its way into 2 points and winter bonus territory. Time to cash in, while the daylight lasts~

어젠 12월 01일의 겨울 보너스점수 기간 찐짜 맞으게 시작 했읍니다: 눈이 왔다~! 해마다 날씨가 다르지만 올해 가울이 착했는데….새로운 달이고 새로운 계절은 시작하고 딱 쉬치처럼 이추운것 꼈어요! ㅎ

자동차안에 넣은 차잔까지 얼었다~

월요일의 엄무좀 늦게끝나서 오늘은 이겨울기간시작 기념 해야했어요–익산지역에 HL/JB-140 천호산밖에 다른 맞는목적지 생각 나지않았어요…그럼, 가자!

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So, class was finishing up in Nangsan, at the northern end of Iksan, so I could easily cruise on over to Yeosan, up the hill and over the pass that is often snowed out so much that you have to park on one side and walk up the road through the brand-new two-lane tunnel which passes under the pass, and up a bit closer to the ridge line on the northern side of the hill.

낭산쪽에서 수업이 끝나서 바로 여산방향으로 쉽게 이동 했음…이 시골학교 시간표는 평일 소타운용에 편리하게되었어요!

여산 다운타운을 지나서 비봉쪽으로 가서 힘들지 않았다–저번방문 할때는 고개까지 도착못했다–타이어체인도 풑였는데 땡! 불 가능. ㅠㅠ

이젠 조금 낮게 새로운 턴널로 지납니다: 차로 2개 있고 급커브 20개 없고 그냥 쭈~욱! 반대편에 2분안에 도착 했어요!

Despite the frequent snows these last few days, it was actually possible to get up to about 300m with the car on the logging roads–even the parts that were in the shade.

거기서부터 천호산의 ‘노스 페이스’까지 임도로 300미터정도 차랑 올라 갈 수 있었음…눈도있고 그늘도 있는데 ㅇㅋ! (날씨 이렇게 계속하면 아마 담달 안 됨…)

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To ensure that I wouldn’t be calling CQ for two hours on this hill on a weekday, I made sure to bring the trusty ol’ 5 segment collinear–despite not having toughened it up for regular use, it’s still holding on. Whether it remains in its original tuned condition is another issue–one I haven’t delved into recently…if I don’t measure it, it doesn’t exist, right?

평일오후에 HT로 2시간동안 씨큐 씨큐 불기 싫테니까 큰 5단지피 가지고 갔고 사용 했고 운용 빨리 빨리 했어요…혹시 이 안테나 상태가
안좋지만 튼튼하니까 계속 사용 하는중–나중에 (항상 나중에…뭐?) 다시 만들고 더 깨지지않는 모델 들어야돼요: 요즘의 튜닝 확인 안했지만 검사 안하면 문제상태 없잖아요 ^^

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So, the activation was actually quite quick in the doing, and hands weren’t cold except when collapsing the antenna mast (gloves just don’t grip as well!)–thrice: once for taking some arial photos of the summit, once for resetting the antenna (love it when calling back after your first CQ that the antenna just comes crashing down) and finally to pack up and descend.

사실 준비 잘했으니까 이번 천호산 운용 빨리 완료 되었고 춥지 않은데 안테나 폴대 정리할때만 손이 시렸어요. 3 번. (1번째 “위성” 사진 몇장찍고 2번째 첫 응답 하면서 갑자기 안테나 고장나서 그냥 크래쉬로 내려왔고 3번째 진짜 하산준비 포장 했거든요~)

*그 위성사진들 나중에 붙이겠음….

Well, at least I was back at the vehicle, with daylight to spare! Not an easy feat, after school in the winter!

아무튼, 햍빛 넘어가면서 차에 도착했어요–물론 수업후에 겨울운용하면 이것은 쉽게 할수 없어요!

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20120815 구성산

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Rainy or not, the 815 contest is a day to be on the air in Korea. This year, not falling on a weekend or creating a longer-ish weekend, being right in the middle of the [work] week, my QTH wasn’t that much a ways a way. Kimje, in fact, via Jeonju, via Wanju. The roads do wind about. I made the effort to bring the 857, principally for the HF bands, including 7 MHz which should’ve been hot, but was not so. ㅠㅠ

Can’t say it was raining the whole time, but it did delay things a bit, and most of the operations took place inside the big red bothy bag. As a result of the WX, there weren’t many others seen on the trail. Fun was had, contacts were made, nothing was broken.

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Mandeoksan from the west

You may remember last year when I mentioned how much of a ______ going up the east side to get to HL/JB-058 만덕산 was….sliding up shale, etc, etc….well, though I technically took the better trail up this time, I actually didn’t, having taken the wrong fork not very high up. The result of which was going through an open field trail infested with spiders (you know, by the time August hits, the mommas’ bellies full’o’babies are larger than your thumb), then another shale-y scramble up a deer trail, until finally hitting a decent ridgeline trail.

This time also, I took the 857 since it was a weekday….need the extra push, sometimes. It was worth it, getting some contacts farther out to the south and northeast. Getting up to the summit, it looked like someone had been doing some trimming up there, and signage needs a slight upgrade…. Using the 5s GP, quick work was made for the activation, it was after all, a school day, no time to fool around.

Descent was accomplished via the correct trail, which will be remembered for next time. Maybe next time will be fall or winter, when a machete wouldn’t be necessary…


HL/JB-027 샤티미 연셕샨!

The KMA does it again! The Tuesday morning hour-by-hour forecast had happy little suns all morning except for one hour when there was supposed to be a little rain. In fact, it was the exact opposite. At first it was sprinkling, but me, having checked the weather ahead of time, put off going up the trail until about 6:30. It was a constant drizzle until around the point on the map below where you see the track splitting off into a Y. From then onward, it was a full-fledged downpour! Upon arrival at an outcrop about 100m south to the summit it just stopped, giving me time to set up the 5 segment collinear and let my rain protection drip dry for a bit.

HL/JB-027 연석산 is located just to the west of HL/JB-017 운장산. Their proximity would make for a great double (or triple, if you include HL/JB-020 on the other side, there) activation, especially if you start a little higher up at Piam Pass, hit Unjangsan first (I believe the West Summit might actually be within the Activation Zone, maybe?), then mosey along the ridge down towards Yeonseoksan, to finish up around Yeonseoksa Temple on the 55.

This was a QRP activation, using only an HT with a LiPO pack to power it along I made some pretty good contacts, even down to Jeju! That made my day, especially not having to go at it with 50 watts like in the spring (from much closer to Jeju!) Otherwise the contacts were pretty much in line with what I can usually get (though not bad at all for a weekday morning). It wasn’t even half an hour that it started to rain again….time to break down!

Before making the actual descent, rather, on the way, I decided to verify the second AZ just to make sure it conforms with the rules, and well, it does. It’s not as spacious as the primary Activation Zone, but it isn’t too bad. I continued down along the way to make a tight loop while going down the same valley in which I came up, now once again, in the pouring rain.

I should mention that this valley has some fabulous chilling spots, from Madang Rock (Yard Rock, pictured above) to some swimming holes and water falls farther down, there are some nice nooks and crannies. If I weren’t already soaked to the bone by the time I made it back down I would’ve seriously considered taking a dip!