Ask a Daeguite their plans for the weekend, and chances are they’ll say they’re headed to Palgong Mountain, a range that wraps around most of the city. I’ve been to the major temple. Donghwasa, plenty of times, but this was my first hike up to Gatbawi (“Buddha Hat Rock”).
There are two main approaches to the statue, one from Daegu and one from Gyeongsan county, and both are pretty gnarly as far as hikes go. You don’t go up and around the mountain as much as you go straight up it, Korean style. But the views were great, and getting to see morning prayer services so high above the earth was pretty cool.
At the bottom of the mountain we stopped for a simple breakfast — rice, seaweed soup, some soybean past and a few salty radish pickles.
Blocks of soybean paste drying inside the cafeteria.
A view from the top.
Coins left for wishes beneath the statue.
Lighting prayer candles.
You can make a donation and leave a prayer for your family on these roof tiles.
Vendors set up next to the parking lot selling various mountain things like nuts and mushrooms, barks and teas.
On the way back down.
It was a great hike, but not an easy one given that there was still a lot of snow and ice towards the top. Still, I should have gotten here a lot sooner. And two days later my legs are still a little sore.