Outdoor family fun in Korea

Outdoor family fun in Korea

by Kat Nickola
Stripes Korea archives

Last weekend we drove a few hours east to a riverside that Bryan spotted from the air.  It was a beautiful river valley with wide sandbars and a bit of shade; perfect for a memorial weekend of camping. Really, the sky was bluer there and the air clear!  The mountains here are steep and verdant and gorgeous this time of year.  It was a nice hot weekend, too, so we easily spent our time playing in the cold water, collecting minnows and tadpoles and generally mucking about.

The kids built a ‘truckstop’ in the dirt.  Bryan gathered and chopped wood. Kid Z and I sketched a bit.  We read 21 Balloons (which is a great book, btw), and waded in the river.  I even took both kids on a little float trip around a bend.  The river makes a huge S curve, but there is a cut through at the center with a little water fall.  Kid A and I did the lower section.  We used our old blow up boat that is on its last legs and found a giant tree limb for some paddles.  It was fairly uncontrolled, but fun with some good rapidy spots.  Kid Z and I walked through the waterfall and did the upper section where we saw some goats, and rolled down 3 pretty good rapids; 2 being too shallow for me to float so she did them on her own!  It was a blast and a super fun way to while the weekend.

We were one of three families camping along the river, but in a fairly unKorean manner everyone spread out so we could barely spot the other folks.  We did, however, make friends with the fishing couples downstream and sat at their spot (it was kinda the best, right at the big swimming hole and waterfall) for a long time pointy-talking and iphone translating.  They thought it was cool Bryan was a pilot, and said we were like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, so they must’ve been blind.  Of course they fed us so at dusk we returned the favor by bringing s’mores over to their campfire.

Spent two nights at that wonderful river, and came back home (where the sky is white) with 4 tadpoles and a giant wound.....    Bryan chopped his hand.   oops.   Kid A wandered over to watch him splitting wood and Bryan glanced at him and, thinking his hand and axe were steady, chopped.  Kid A looked mortified, and Bryan realized he didn’t get the log.   I guess it didn’t really hurt...thats how sharp his new axe is.  He calmly yelled, “Kat, need some help over here” and I looked up to see gushing blood.  ugh.   We stopped the bleeding and I butterflied and steri-stripped the flap back onto his thumb. Our medkit had lots of dried out stuff, so I need to refresh it.  Luckily I found a pop tab of Benzion tincture which he declared the most painful thing ever.  Well that sucks.  Probably it needed stitches, but who wants to go dnif over a little axe to the hand?   He is lucky he has a thumb.

Aside from that excitement it was a calm relaxing weekend that we all loved.  Our little tadpoles are all at different stages; one already turned into a frog and jumped out of the fish tank.  We released it out back....it’s still there, after a couple days, soaking in his tray of water.

The day we packed up, we didn’t quite feel like going home, so we meandered down a different river valley in search of another big sandbar Bryan noticed from the air.  Turned out to be stone and behind someones house, but we were undeterred and pressed on down stream to find another awesome little beach for an afternoon of play.  This valley was surrounded by massive cliff walls, and had a tiny vacation village with cottage rentals.  Our little raft made its final voyage in that river and was actively deflating as Bryan and Kid Z puttered back in.  It has been a good raft.

Do you see this adorable old traditional Korean house?  It was abandoned, so I poked around a little.  It was super cute and nestled at the base of a cliff with a beautiful view over the valley.  I just imagined the little old ajuma who used to hang laundry on that line loving every day.

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