Cycle 3 – Item 366
5 (Sat) January 2013
at Jirisan National Park
-Sicheon, Sancheong, Gyeongsannam, Republic of Korea-
with KKH, LHS + YYH, et al.
The occasion was an illicit overnight backpacking campout on Jirisan National Park with members of the camping crew and a few acquaintances from the extended camping club.
As expressly set forth on signs along the trail, prohibited activities on park grounds include cooking, camping, smoking, and littering. This standard at most national parks in the country. Here, the penalties would be 100,000 won for the 1st violation, 500,000 won for the 2nd, and 1,000,000 won for every violation thereafter. However, enforcement is extremely rare – I’ve never heard of anyone getting busted – perhaps because the few people who do participate in this type of illicit outdoor pastime tend to be very respectful of the environment and leave a virtually undetectable footprint (i.e., no forest fires, no piles of garbage), so the authorities don’t really seem to care.
For many reasons, reaching the summit was a major challenge for me. The biggest problem is that I’m a fat slob – more like an out-of-shape blob – who hadn’t set foot on a mountain trail in over a year and a half, not since May 2011 (see 2.143 Smoked Duck with Buchu and Perilla Leaves in Onion-Wasabi Dressing). I was humping a backpack stuffed with winter gear; although I’d done my best to minimize, knowing that I could rely on my companions for certain luxuries (e.g., food), the load still ended up being close to 10 kg. Our destination was around 1,500 meters above sea level. The snow seemed to double the effort. Through sheer force of will, joints screaming at every step, I made it. And it only took 3.5 hours.
As usual, the food was insane: in volume, in variation, and in deliciousness. LHS + YYH couple’s spread would’ve been lavish within the context of casual car camping, but it was extravagant to the point of absurdity given that everything had been schlepped up the long trail on their backs (technically, she’d done the prepping, and he the shlepping). Among the items was YYH’s famous marinated beef ribs, a signature dish that I’ve adored since first tasting it upon our first meeting back in May 2010 (see 1.144 Grilled Yangnyeom Galbisal) – the best yangnyeom galbisal that I’ve had under any circumstance. The other stuff was good, too.
As usual, my expected contribution was some kind of “western” item involving bread and/or meat and/or cheese, so I made grilled salami sandwiches dipped in cheesy ragu.
Food aside, what an amazing experience. I couldn’t have scripted a better ending to Cycle 3 of Give Me This Day.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also CAMPING)