By Mario McKellop
Early next year, thousands of people will come to Pyeongchang, South Korea to enjoy the Winter Games. And while the grand spectacle and world-class athletics featured in the Games are sure to be dazzling, the surrounding Gangwon Province offers visitors so much more. Namely, a host of jaw-dropping local landmarks that rank among the most gorgeous and captivating in the entire world
Among these landmarks is Gangwon’s Nochu Mountain. One of the most beautiful and unique destinations in South Korea, Nochu possesses attributes that make it appealing to hikers, explorers and those wishing to learn more about the region’s fascinating history. Its stunning main hiking trails run alongside the mountain slopes. One trail is steep and will pose a fun and exciting challenge for expert hikers. The other features a gentler slope and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Both feature some of the region’s most breathtakingly mountain vistas.
About 30 to 40 minutes’ walk from the Mountain’s entryway, visitors will find the bridge entrance to Mojeong Tower Road. The road, which takes its name from the Korean word for “mother’s love,” stands as a testament to love’s ability to transform grief into creativity. Just past the bridge, sightseers will find more than 3,000 hand-built stone towers. These towers were erected decades ago by a local woman who had a remarkable response to a number of painful personal trials.
Two of the woman’s four children were lost in a tragic accident and her husband fell ill soon afterward. She was overwhelmed by grief until she had a dream wherein God spoke to her. God advised the mother to exorcise her grief by working with her hands. Upon waking from the dream, she dedicated herself to making stone towers out of the rocks that litter Nochu Mountain. After 26 years of hard work, the woman had constructed more than 3,000 towers.
Visitors coming to South Korea for the Winter Games owe to themselves to take some time to explore the Gangwon Province. Tourists who do can have a life-changing experience by taking in the area’s incredible natural beauty, delicious and exotic food and extraordinary architecture.