|Myeongseon-bong & Hyeongje-bong Peaks,
Byeokso-ryeong Pass & Baemshil-saem Spring,
Deokpyeong-bong & Seonbi-saem Spring
the Legendary Center of Jiri-san's Main Ridge
The Legend of Seonbi-saem Spring
It is said that early in the Joseon Dynasty a man of the Yi clan (another branch of which was the royal family
of Joseon) lived in Deokpyeong-ri [Virtue Field Village] Jiri-san's Daeseong Valley (south of Deokpyeong-
bong Peak). He suffered from utter poverty, was uneducated and very ugly, and so therefore he was treated
contemptuously by others. However, he deeply wished to be treated as a gentleman respected by others,
like his royal distant-cousins. He never achieved this wish throughout his whole life, and at its end asked
only to be buried high above their village, at what was then called Sangdeokpyeong-yaksuteo [Upper Virtue
Peace Medicinal-Spring], right below that mighty 1522-meter peak.
His two sons carried his body all the way up there and buried it according to his wishes, and their filial-piety
so impressed the locals that they finally respected old Mr. Yi (reasoning that he must have been a sagely
father to have raised such good sons). Since then, mountain-climbers bow in respect to him whenever they
drink the spring's healing water; he achieved his great wish only when in his tomb. Local people began
calling this spring Seonbi-saem [Scholar-gentleman Spring] to console his ghost.
The 1586-meter Myeongseon-bong [Bright Kindness Peak], the 1452-m Hyeongje-bong [Elder-Brother
Peak] and the 1522-m Deokpyeong-bong [Virtue Field Peak] dominate the central section of Jiri-san's
Main Ridge, about halfway between Cheonhwang-bong Summit and Banya-bong Summit. This area has
a few myths and legends associated with it, like most other parts of Jiri-san. The renowned Seonbi-saem
Medicinal-Water Spring is located on Deokpyeong-bong (see below).
In-between that peak and Hyeongje-bong 4 km to its west is a smaller peak named Byeokso-ryeong
(1340m); just to its east runs the Byeokso-ryeong Pass, a.k.a. Sobaek-ryeong (ryeong means "ridge" and is
often used as the name of a pass). This is by far the highest-altitude vehicle-drivable pass in South Korea, at
just about 1300 meters altitude. A narrow dirt road runs north up from the upper end of the (2-lane well-paved)
Daeseong Valley of Hwagye-myeon of Hadong-gun County, following the Euishin-gyegok Gorge, to the
Baemshil-saem-yaksu-teo [Snake-Room Spring Medicinal-Water-Source] and then widely-switchbacks
over the pass; it then descends north into Macheon-myeon District of SW Hamyang-gun County, finishing in
Samjeong-ri Village near the start of the new entrance-road to Yeongwon-sa Temple. The lower part of this
pass-road has been nicely paved with cement on the northern side, so that an ordinary car can go up, but I
don't yet know how far up; it's dangerous anyway, and using a jeep is advised even in good weather. There
is a gate on the Daeseong end, which is sometimes locked.