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A Land of Mystery, the Gombaeryong Pass

Posted May. 23, 2001 09:54,   


No one will object to call Gangsun Valley in the Mt. Geumbong, which is the entrance to the Gombaeryong pass, `the Utopia.` Once one crosses the stone bridge at the entrance of the valley, one will experience the world in which one becomes united with the nature under the shade of the green forest that lead to the Gombaeryong pass.

Suddenly, the sky appeared over the head. As the thick forest vanishes, the sunshine is poured down to the neck. The disappearance of the forest shade signals that the mountain ridgeline is at near. The gentle slope suddenly became steep. The ridgeline appeared. The ridgeline connects the mountain on the left (south) to the small Mt. Geumbong. There is no tree on the ridgeline. However, once you see the ridgeline at close, you begin to heave a sigh of an exclamation. ``This place looks like a place in the movie scene, doesn’t it?``

It was Sunday morning on 20th. Looking at the grass-covered plain of the ridgeline unfolded between the peaks, Park Kwang-Ha (22. Ducksung Women’s University), who climbed to the top of southern Gombaeryong pass, said that the plain reminded her of the last scene from the `Sound of Music`: the last scene in which Maria and the Captain Von Trapp’s family cross over the Alps. Those who came together sat down, staring at the `green plain`, as if everybody was thinking about the same scene.

The wind seems to be the owner of the Gombaeryong pass. Having risen from the opposite side (east-west) of the ridgeline, the wind touches the grasses of the plain unceasingly. The fricative-sound rings like scream. However, the strong life force of grass can bear the hardship and it finally blossoms. The life force of grass cannot be understood unless one acknowledges the wisdom of grass that `lies down and rises up before the wind.` The plain creates a spectacular scene covered by the various grass flowers for 10 days every May (5-15).

The road leading to meet the grass flowers in Gombaeryong pass. This road leads to the Gangsun Valley deep in the mountains. `Sulpibat town,` the hinterland among the hinterlands, is very close to Jindong 2 Li. This town is located inside the Valley. A totally different world appears. Although most valleys were dried up due to the severe drought, Gangsun Valley is different. ``It snowed so much last winter… The snow melted into the water,`` said a woman in her 70s. She added that the snow was still deep in the front mountain.

Along with the Gangsun Valley, I climbed to the Gombaeryong pass. From the Yipsan restriction zone to the Gogetmaroo is 4 km distance long. Except the 300m zone right below the Gogetmaroo, the slope is gentle to the extent that even elderly people in their 70s can climb up. I met four people who came from Seoul at the entrance of the Valley. They were employees of the Hanun Publishing Company, which published the book entitled `Son, Life Is Too Short To Waver,` and were traveling around to explore the theme. Although they looked inexperienced, they climbed in one hour.

``Walking the path through the forest listening to the sound of wind, water and bird… I feel like I’m united with the nature in Gangsun Valley. If I squeeze my clothes that was tinged with the green of the forest, it is likely that the green colored water will drop out of it.`` Park Shi-Hyung said that the path way through the forest reminded her of the movie `The Reason Dharma Went to East` because the atmosphere of the forest seems similar to that of the movie.

The shade of the forest and the inside of the Valley were green world. The brackens with the 50 cm height were most distinctive. The forest looked very primitive, resembling the forest in the movie `Jurassic Park.` There were so many wild flowers on the roadside of the forest. Jolbangjaebi with the violet color, Gaebyul with black dots in the white petals, Guirong, Younyoungcho, and the yellow Pinamool… These are the only ones who stand against the green color of the forest.

Tour package to Gombaeryong: Contact Seoungwoo Tour (02-720-8311)

The departure dates are 27th and 31st. The tour course starts from Sulpibat town, the forest road in the Gangsun Valley, the plain in the Gombaeryong pass, to Shoinaderi.

Cost: 35000 won (30000 won for children). www.seungwootour.co.kr

Cho Seong-Ha summer@donga.com