Saturday, August 12, 2006

Gangwon Rafting

We went rafting today, white-water style.. though it was mostly brown placid water, with the odd tufts of white. Nevertheless, we got to see some beautiful Korean scenery that is usually only experienced from behind the window of a train. Paddling thirteen kilometres down the wide, meandering river, we gazed at mountains and hills as they rolled and blended into one another. Every inch of mountain is heavily blanketed with a certain very green deciduous tree. Our guide pointed out various faces and images hidden in the rock forms around us. He then proceeded to push every last one of us into the frigid water, then stretched out with a sly smile as we all hopelessly attempted to clambor back on.

Along the edges of the river, small areas of fine sand were interspersed between the cliffs; silt that had been carried along and remoulded into new mini-beaches after the recent monsoon rains a month ago. High up on the cliffs on either side, plastic bags, frayed grey cloth and faded tarpaulin clothed pine trees like scraggly, disheveled scarecrows - eerie testament of a much higher water level during the monsoon. Apparently this was one of the villages that had lost some material possessions - and lives - during the flooding.

At one point we moored on beach of smooth, round rocks and went for an official swim. I love feeling the power of nature firsthand. Thunderstorms, windstorms, etc. Whenever I see the Squamish river running at different strengths, I always have an urge to jump in and see how strong the current is, and how fast I'd be catapulted down the river. Luckily, I got the chance to feel the undertow today. Drifting to the middle of the river, my toes could no longer reach the bottom, and I let the river pull me a bit. Then, I quickly tried to backstroke against the current, to no avail.. it kept pulling me farther down at a frightening speed.. and then a second later, I swam toward the shore, rather than against the current (surfing class 101) and suddenly I could touch the ground again.

All in all, not a trip to go on for the ' white water rafting' aspect, but rather for the scenery, and great way to spend a hot Korean day cooling off, without using aircon.


Post a Comment

<< Home