The Korean city of Daegu is blessed with a number of local mountain ranges and a seemingly infinite array of hiking options. Some of the most popular routes can be found in and around Apsan Mountain, a 1968-foot peak towering over southern Daegu. This is where Wonderboy, my brother Cory, his fiancée Kaley and I headed on an overcast Sunday morning to get the blood pumping and… you know… connect with nature and shit.
Prior to my Daegu trip I had romanticized about doing a solid chunk of hiking. But alas my motley crew of associates were not feeling the Apsan love that day. Wonderboy has a generally screwed ankle and Cory and Kaley were channeling a special brand of knackered you’d expect to see after an all-night drinking session. In all fairness, we’d already been walking for well over an hour just to get to the start of Apsan’s mountain trails. So when we arrived at Apsan Cable Car Station a brief conference was held and I resigned myself to the fact that we’d be taking the fast track route up to Apsan Observatory.
Apsan Observatory has two levels, one attached to the side of a restaurant (the food looked pretty decent) and a giant, top o’ the rock style platform accessed via a set of stairs. The views were, of course, wondrous and this, along with a decent cup of coffee, had woken everyone up and lifted our spirits. Until that is, moments after the above photo was taken, a giant flying monster thing flew into Cory and bit him on the arm. Yikes!
From Apsan Observatory you can do a short one-kilometer trail up to Apsan Mountain’s highest point. It’s very easy going, no special equipment required, though of course, that doesn’t stop all the Korean climbers from dressing up like they’re about to try and scale Mount Everest. One thing’s for sure, hiking is a serious business for locals!
It’s a really pretty walk, with verdant bushes, wildflowers, and some fantastic cherry blossom trees. For lovers, a postcard-perfect swing set beneath the trees is a popular photo spot, so much so that there’s often a queue.
At the very top, there’s a small, rocky platform from which you can look back down over Apsan Observatory. The platform is actually part of the ruins of Daegu Fortress, a horse’s-foot-shaped- battlement that back in the day ran for 3 kilometres along the peaks and ridges of the mountain. All in all, it was a decent introduction to the delights of Apsan Mountain and a fine sendoff for Cory and Kaley, who had an afternoon train to catch back to Jeonju.