Finding the Snow Fields: Road to Nari Basin

I realize it’s mid-April, and photos of snowy Korean fields on an island off the east coast might contradict the reality of bursting cherry blossoms along my neighbourhood stream in Busan (as well as trigger an unexpected chill in my Canadian readers who are enjoying the thaw of spring), but snowy fields is what I’ve got to show you.

They were taken in a place called the Nari Basin, which is the only flat stretch of land on Ulleungdo–yep, I’m still posting about Ulleungdo (the island was gorgeous, why stop now?)–and surrounded on all sides by volcanic mountains.

Like most places we ventured to during our off-season stay in early February, the Basin, we discovered, wasn’t accessible by local transport.

The coastal road bus

After a morning drive that wound up into Ulleungdo’s hills and cruised along its coast from Dodong, the bus dropped us in the village of Cheonbu, where, upon our mention of “Naribunji” the driver pointed to an uphill road in the distance and shook his head at our enquiry of another bus heading there.

Facing a long steep trek in already-damp boots that weren’t built for snowdrifts wasn’t making me the cheeriest foreigner on Korean soil, but we forged ahead anyway, with the exact time and distance the journey would take a vague notion in our minds of “a few hours.”

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About 20 minutes in, we passed this grave, with the mountains climbing skyward behind it.

Soon after, a Korean family of three drove by, spotted us, slowed down, and picked us up.  We climbed into the backseat and the five of us spoke in broken English, with a few key Korean words thrown in by Joe, who far surpasses me in his ability to communicate with the locals in their native tongue.

They were headed to the Basin.  The drive was icy, steep and miles long; we never would have made it on foot.  Photos of the fields in fall show rust-coloured grass framed with red trees carpeting the mountains surrounding them.  But this day they were bright white, their wide banks shining under the sun.

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Up next: More from the coastal road…

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2 thoughts on “Finding the Snow Fields: Road to Nari Basin

  1. I loved your articles about Ullengdo, but I cannot believe
    their is so much snow there, I just didn’t realize Korea got
    so cold in the winter. Good thing you were lucky enough to get a ride, or you would have been walking
    for hours thinking you were just about there!

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