of the 2007
November 10-11, 2007
(page 1 of 2)
the 2007 Baekdu-daegan Expedition/Research Team
celebrates at Jinbu-ryeong Pass at 3pm on Saturday November 10th, L to R: Korean Tourism Professor David Mason,
Expedition-Hiker Andrew Douch, Expedition-Hiker Roger Shepherd and Korea Mountaineering League President Shawn Morrissey
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Andrew and Roger pose on the very final peak,
before the short final hike down to Jinbu-ryeong
Just after we parked the car, I saw them from a fair
distance emerging from the forest out to the highway
-- snapped a quick photo, unfortunately out of focus...
We celebrated with cups of my own homemade deodeok-ju (a traditional medicinal wine made from a wild Korean root
similar to ginseng but sweeter, soaked in vodka until mature) that I had created with deodeok roots from the slopes of
Jiri-san's sacred Samshin-bong Peak two years ago, right around when I started the Baekdu-daegan research
project. So it seemed doubly appropriate to offer it for this occasion, as our Kiwi heroes had hiked all the way from that area up
to Seorak-san... We finished the entire bottle (seen to my left) in the restaurant that evening, but still felt great the next morning!
By karmic-coincidence, a large group of Koreans from a high school in Wonju finished their own Baekdu-daegan
trek (doing it section-by-section over two years, which seems to be a popular thing for Korean hiking-associations to do
these days) just after we did our little ceremony. They set up and performed a typical Sanshin-je [Mountain-spirit
Ceremony] at that monument, using Korean mokkoli rice-wine, inviting us to participate along with them, which
we did with pleasure, to their delight. I gave their leader a copy of my book on the San-shin...
|The Jinbu Pass itself, on that chilly windy day -- the public-accessible Baekdu-daegan trail ends
here, blocked only other side by a large Korean Army base, protecting the final area south of the DMZ.
The monument itself, erected just 14 months before our visit by
Gangwon Province, contains several bits of information about
and slogans of the entire Baekdu-daegan ridge-trail.
|Sanshin-je Ritual to respect the Baekdu-daegan, and give thanks for a successful expedition
That evening we further celebrated by
finishing off my homemade deodeok-ju
and feasting on wild-mountain-veggies
cuisine at the Osaek Springs area.
The back of the monument, above-left, reads: "The Baekdu-daegan is the spine of the Peninsula, connecting the southern and
northern parts of Korea, and a valuable region for its diversity of biological organisms. However, it has unfortunately been severely
damaged by indiscriminate industrial development before the true value of it can be known by the public. Even now, conflicts
between development and preservation are still going on all along it. In many respects, the Baekdu-daegan is a very important area
where human beings, animals, and environmental surroundings -- topography, climate, soil -- live with each other in natural harmony."