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Land of Mystery - Mt. Nae-Byon, Buahn, Chunbuk

Posted July. 11, 2001 20:21,   


Let’s go to Byon-San (Buahn Kun, Chunbuk) of the west coast. Westside of the peninsula. Another small peninsula is waiting. Highway 30, roundly linked along with the mountain hem covering three faces of the peninsular nearby the ocean, is laid out. Zigzag and slowly. The coastline, in which the border between land and sea is ambiguous, attractively continues, even though it looks like it would be cut like the enchanting southern music. Big and small island, island, and island…floating in front of the sea. Along these islands, fishing boats, uninterestedly lying down in the tideland, create the fine scenery of the quiet Byon-San in one afternoon in July.

Byon-San is made of two Chinese characters; Byon means `side`, and San means `mountain`. ``Explanation of the word is unnecessary. If you look around, you’ll experience the meaning of the word,`` said one village senior whom I met on my way to Byon-San through the vast green open field in Buahn, Kimjae. If one travels around the Byon-San peninsular, one finds that the sea and the mountain are not of two different zones, but they are like the two sides of the same coin. Nonetheless, when one thinks of Byon-San, only Byon-San of Chesuk River, Jeokbyuck River and Kyuckpo Beach captivates one`s mind.

Inside and outside of Byon-San are distinctive; Nae (inside) Byon-San toward the mountain, and the Oei (outside) Byon-San toward the sea. Nae Byon-San, placed at the center of the peninsular, looks like a mountain in which many mountain peaks, starting with the Uisangbong, are surrounded, leaving an empty space inside. Pine tree forest that covers the whole mountain is so exuberant that one cannot see the tree braches from the outside. Oei Byon-San is unfolded toward the sea. Travelers who plan to visit the sea of Byon-San this summer should look around the backside of the Byon-San’s beautiful scenery.

It is 7:00 am in the morning in front of the Iljumoon, Naesosa (Buahn Kun, Jinsuh Myon, Sukpoli). Clouds rose up above the forests, as if dragons climb up to the sky, in the Mt. Neungga which is stretched out like unrolled folding screen in the white morning with drizzling rain. Iljumoon is a gate where one announces one’s entering into the world of Buddha. After a few steps, a road like a tunnel appeared through the forest where hundreds of 30 meter-height fir trees stand. The length of the road, filled with dusk scent of fir trees, is 400 meter. At the end of the road, there is the gate of the Four Devas. Once passed the door, there are the precincts of a temple. Main temple, a living compound of monks, pavilion for bell, mineral spring, and tea house are located centering a 1000 year old zelkova tree. 20 monks are currently residing in this temple. Monk Jinsung, who has been taking care of other monks in the zen room during the varsa, greeted the morning guests.

``The wind grazing through the pine trees and fir trees makes the shower sound. As I open the door in the morning in winter, I see the world covered with snow from the night. Tender green of the new spring. Fishing boats with the golden robe mast come back toward the inlet where the glow of the setting sun is hanging over, and at this moment, the sound of a big drum duskily beats… This illustrates the mysterious beauty of Byon-San,`` said the monk Jin-Sung, while we were avoiding the rain under the roof of the main temple. This is true. Byon-San looks different after hearing about the beauty of Byon-San from the monk Jin-Sung.

If one walks toward the side of the fir tree forests of the Naesosa, there is a pathway to Jikso Waterfall. Although it is good to walk in the mountain where the mysterious beauty of Mt. Nae-Byon is concentrated, a light trekking course in which one can look around both mountain and sea by driving the highway 30 toward the Jikso Waterfall through the opposite side of the valley is recommendable. While driving on the way to Byon-San (highway 30), one can see the local road 736 to which the milepost `Jikso Waterfall 15 kim` points. If one drives this local road, the Buahn multi-purpose dam road can be found. 600 meter from the forked road of Sajadong, there is the ticket office of Mt. Nae-Byon, Byon-San National Park. 2.2 kilometer of the forest road continues from the ticket office to the observatory of the waterfall. The first place one passes by is the site of Silsangsa, which was destroyed by fire during the 6.25 War. If one goes a little further, there is a tree garden where there are a wild flower garden and a bird observatory. After passing by the constitution monument for nature protection, one crosses the bridge. Then, the forest road continues alongside the Bongraekukok in which Chinese characters are engraved in the rocks. From here to the waterfall, the forest road is 1.6 kilometer. Of 1.6 kilometer section, 1.3 kilometer section is the `inquiry road of nature study` in which various trees have name tags and the wood stairways are built for the comfortable walk. In between, there is a great lake created by the dam of the valley. Having passed the lake, when one enters the forest again, there is a habitat for toads. When it rains, it is not difficult to see a couple of toads.

As I climb the steep rock stairways to stand at the observatory of the waterfall, Jikso Waterfall (30 meter waterfall), which incessantly drops the white valley water vertically in the middle slope of the valley surround by the Oknyubong, Suninbong, and Ssangsunbong, appears in front. The superb scenery of the waterfall does not stop here. There is Bunokdam (or Sunnyutang) located under the observatory. Bunokdam is a two-clear shaped pond where the water fallen from another waterfall, which was created by the water fallen from the basin of the waterfall, rests for a while.

Cho Seong-Ha summer@donga.com