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From City to Campsite

Posted October. 26, 2007 09:16,   


It was on the afternoon of October 19, at the Palhyeon Auto-Campsite in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province. The weather forecaster had predicted the first frost for the Gangwon mountains, and it was chilly. Would anyone camp out on a cold day like this? Surprisingly, there were children about. Where there are children, there is fun to be had.

“You know, kids find fun on their own.”

Stay-at-home mom Lee Oh-sun (35) glanced at the children and jerked her chin toward them.

7-year-old Seong-ho and 4-year-old Seong-ju were busy playing with a stick they recovered from a bonfire. Brandishing the blackened end of it like a sword, they each poked at the fire, the bright warmth reflecting on their smiles.

Husband Kim Ju-wan (36) was grilling chicken and shrimp for dinner. The sole reason for weekly camp-outs such as these, the couple said, was simply because of the various recreation activities available to them out in nature.

The facilities aren’t top-notch here, but it’s close to Seoul. From the heart of the city, Gwanghwamun, on a Friday, it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the site starting at 5:20. The distance is about 42 kilometers total.

The couple are green to the camping scene since starting in August this year. Feeling game this time, they invited another couple to come along. Unable to say no to a night in the great outdoors, they made a beeline for the campsite. Kim took a day off from work to make memories with his kids.

Lee Min-hee (36), mom of 4-year-old Pu-reun, says, “The campsite is heaven for kids.”

Pu-reun has been here with his parents nearly every week for the past year and a half. They live in Daebang-dong, Seoul, the land of asphalt. Yet Pu-reun has experienced nature as a country boy. He runs through the campground with his friends as his parents did in the country when they were children. They make mud pies and play with tree sticks. In the summer, they live in the river. They even bet on who can catch the most frogs.

Lee says, “Everything the children see are toys. If they see a weird insect, they count the legs and feelers. They pick wildflowers and sort them out according to smell, pretending they’re medicine.”