Things always work out fine in the end at Naeyeonsan Mountain (Day 243)
Often on our Grown Up travels, things go wrong. Today is a good example. What we have learnt is that things always work out fine in the end.
We arrived at the Bus Station nice and early. In fact one hour early, so sat in a convenience store drinking coffee, surfing the net and people watching. We needed to cross the busy main road to catch our bus, and in the back of my mind, I thought that perhaps we should check what side of the road the bus was going from. You can guess what is coming next, I am sure. Why don’t I listen to myself?
The guy we met yesterday told us the bus went from the other side; Tim checked on the Maps App which confirmed this, however, there was a strange line on the map which we didn’t check out properly. (It turned out Tim had the journey on “walk” rather than “bus”). I still had a niggling doubt and I didn’t listen.
We crossed the road and waited in the burning heat. Tim opened the brolly to prevent some of the rays reaching us. While waiting, I suddenly noticed the number 510 driving off on the other side of the road. I knew it was our bus, yet there was a calmness over me. Oh well. I was even a bit shocked at my calmness.
I suggested we went to the Tourist Information Desk to confirm what time the next bus was and also the time of the last bus back. After quite a long time drawing a diagram to get our request across, Tim talking to an English speaking colleague on the phone of the Tourist guide, we established that the times going was the same as the times coming back. I’m sure you can imagine that it took us a while believing this.
We had 90 minutes to wait. What to do? Shall we get a taxi? Ah, we need more money for that. We walked to an ATM – reject…over to the post office – reject – to a Bank – reject. By the time this had taken place we only had 40 minutes for the next bus. I was getting hot and my calmness was slowly melting away. I berated myself. Why did I not listen to myself?
Things often don’t go according to plan for us and what I am learning on this journey is that it always works out fine. There really is no point getting het up, it’s just a waste of energy. Tim has always been the cool dude, very rarely getting frustrated (unless he is hungry and even that is not much of an issue these days) whereas I could quite easily be a bit of a drama queen and get annoyed when things go “wrong”. This travelling is good for me. I put things into perspective a lot quicker now than I used to. A good lesson is being learnt.
We returned to the convenience store for a cold drink and the assistant even gave us another one for free! I think it was my bright red face that did it – it is scorchio here, at least 34 degrees and counting.
The bus arrived – 4 minutes early. Good job we were ready for it. 85 minutes later, after driving through various industrial towns and countryside with rolling hills we arrived near the Bogyeongsa Temple, the start of our trek to see some of the 12 waterfalls in the Naeyeonsan Mountain. Hurrah!
We visited the Temple and rang the small bell. The next few hours were walking alongside the river or climbing up the side of the mountain. I wish I knew more about geology and the different types of rock. I think the rocks were Sedimentary and at some point in time, the land moved, causing the rock to pivot 90 degrees. Huge neat rectangular boulders with sharp straight sides were hanging down. How they remained there without crashing down is beyond me. An incredible sight.
We managed to see the first 7 of the 12 waterfalls. That was my limit. The remaining 5 are for the more determined trekkers.
The first waterfalls were Sangsaeng Falls, a pair of twins with water gushing down in parallel to one another. The next few weren’t anything to write home about, it has been extremely hot and dry here for the past week. The 6th Gwaneum Falls is named after the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and has a cave nearby where Buddhist Monks were supposed to pray in. I’m not sure how they reached it. We needed to cross a swing bridge to see the 7th Waterfall, Yeonsan, which is the most spectacular. It cascades from a height of 72 m into a beautiful pool. It would have been delightful to swim there and cool down but alas, it was all cordoned off. Good ol’ health and safety.
We stayed there for a while, drinking in the beauty. What specifically amazed us were the Chinese characters engraved into the rock, some in places that we have no idea how people could reach, let along carve into the rock.
We took our journey slowly, listening to the birds chirping, the frogs and cicadas competing who could be the loudest, and the constant backdrop of the water gurgling down the river. We crossed over the river at one point where it was low, jumping from rock to shingle avoiding getting our boots wet. Suddenly Tim stopped and pulled an object out between some rocks. It was a soppy wet wallet, full of money and credit cards. There was no one around so we checked the details inside, tried to phone, realising that Tim’s sim doesn’t have phone facility, so emailed Lee Sang Ho. I wonder if he was calm when he realised his loss or did he go into a frenzy?
Walking back we asked people we met if the wallet was theirs – mainly by holding it up looking puzzled. Shaking heads was the response. We then decided to cool our feet in the river and as we sat down, in the corner of my eye, I saw a man trotting with a blue checked shirt on. I had one of those feelings – that was our Lee Sang Ho we were looking for… too late, he had disappeared.
We were nearly back to the start of the trail when Tim’s phone rang. A very relieved man was on the other end of the phone and we arranged to meet him at the temple gate. We arrived and after a short while a man turned up. It was Lee Sang Ho’s friend, Lee Sang was still not back. We handed the wallet over and carried on to get the 6pm bus back to Pohang.
As we were near to the bus stop, Lee Sang and his friend turned up in the car. He hopped out and was so grateful. (Ah, he was wearing a blue check shirt. My intuition was correct.) It transpired that they were driving back to Pohang so offered us a lift. Our 85-minute journey by bus was reduced to 45 minutes by car – What a result. All’s well that ends well…things always work out fine in the end.