Beautiful Fall Leaves in Gyeongsangnam-do!
While Fall and Spring are everyone’s favorite seasons, and mine, they both seem so fleeting don’t they? I waited and waited for the leaves to start changing, and once they did the cloudy days and rain came with them. We haven’t had great weather the past couple weeks, so I was waiting for a good day to go for a Fall drive and look at the leaves in the countryside. That day was yesterday! As soon as we woke up and noticed the sun shining into our bedroom, we quickly got ready and left. We didn’t want to go very far since we still had a lot to accomplish before another Monday rolled around, so we decided to explore Yangsan and Wondong. I was in Wondong in the Spring for the Plum Blossoms Festival, and figured it would be just as beautiful in the Fall. I looked up temples in the area in Dale’s book, our usual reference, and then set off with our final destination being Sinheungsa, a little known temple that ranks very high (8.5/10) on his scale for temples. I was excited to hit the road, so after grabbing a couple sandwiches at our famed Yangsan Subway, we set out for the windy mountain roads!
We made two spontaneous stops on the way to Sinheungsa. The first was a new park and lookout point on the road to Wondong from Yangsan, and it was a really nice, short walk to a brand new wooden pagoda overlooking the Nakdong River. Unsurprisingly, hikers were picnicking in the pagoda, and after admiring the view for a few minutes we followed the trail that loops around to the parking lot and hopped back in the car. After about 20 minutes of driving through the beautiful countryside, we saw some of the brightest red and yellow leaves I’ve ever seen at a rest stop and decided to get out and walk around! First we followed a concrete path that led to another view of the Nakdong and the valley below, then we joined the others who decided to stop for a few selfies on their afternoon drive.
We took a lot of pictures here, as you can see, and I could have walked amongst those trees forever! I always keep a few leaves every year and stick them in a journal to press, just to keep a little piece of my favorite season a little longer. We thought about heading back to Yangsan after this wonderful stop, but I’m so glad we didn’t! Sinheung temple did not disappoint, and it seemed like the perfect time to go. We drove up to the temple along a small creek and parked by a stone dragon bridge. As we walked through the main gate, monks and temple workers were all raking leaves into piles and hauling them onto trucks. The raking was very rhythmic and somehow peaceful, and there were very few visitors at the time so we had the temple almost all to ourselves.
We had an unplanned,simple, fantastic Fall day. I love days like this more than over planned trips that always seem to disappoint. We just enjoyed each other, the beautiful weather, and the bright colors of the countryside in Fall.
Do you like spontaneous trips like this, or more planned weekends? What is your favorite season and activity related to that season?