Ibike Korea People-to-People Program



Photo essay: Seomjin River - Gurye to Iljung

    Points of Interest: Seomjingang Trail, Gokseong, Hyangga Park, Seomjim Dam
  "Share the Road" sign, Korea

Rice rakes, Korea.

Devilish agricultural mascot, KoreaDevilish agricultural mascot, Korea

The is a wide variety of scenes and objects that catch your eye along the way -- most don't get photographed. It is amusing what prompts a stop and the effort to get the camera out:

You know you have gotten to a pretty rural area when motor vehicles, bicycles and the Korean gothic farmer are sharing the same path and there is still no traffic.

In the same area there were these devilish figures.  I believe they are the mascot of a local agricultural corporation.

More functional were a couple of "rice rakes" that are used to mix and turn the harvested rice while it dries.

  Seomjingang Trail, Gokseong, Korea Rice harvest, Seomjingang Trail, Gokseong, Korea Seomjingang Trail, Gokseong, Korea
  Old railroad station, Gokseong, Korea Celebrating the railroad heritage of Gokseong, KoreaThe railroad through Gokseong has a new alignment these days, so they use the old tracks and right-of-way to celebrate the railroad heritage of a bygone era. There station (left) has been restored, the tracks are used by tourist for rail-biking, and bridges (right) in town are decorated to commemorate the heritage.
  Duck farm, Korea Solar voltaic panels covering a barn, KoreaSolar voltaic panels covering a barn, KoreaThrough the morning fog were some duck peering out of their prison. Ducks are not a major menu item in Korea so the sight of a duck farm is rare.

Year-by-year solar voltaic panels are becoming increasingly common in Korea. The economy of installing them must be good because a number of barns in this area had their south facing roofs complete covered by them.

  Seomjingang Trail, Korea Rice farm, Seomjingang Trail. KoreaRice farm, Seomjingang Trail. KoreaRice farm, Seomjingang Trail. KoreaThe northern third of the Seomjingang Trail is again almost entirely separated from major roads. For a long stretch it pass scores of rice fields.
  Kumho tire plant and proving grounds (test track), Sunchang, Korea Kumho tire plant and proving grounds (test track), Sunchang, KoreaBut to add contrast to the scene, in an otherwise agricultural valley midway between Gokseong and Sunchang, is a massive tire factory looming across the river. Sunchang is known for its Soybean Festival and famous for its red pepper paste, but it is also home to a Kumho tire plant and proving grounds (test track). Kumho Tire Co. is headquartered in Gwangju. Other parts of the Kumho Asian conglomerate are Asiana Airlines, Kumho bus company, leisure, logistics, chemical and industrial. Kumho also manufactures tires in Georgia, USA. Many of the companies use the same inverted red "v" for their logo.
  Hyangga Park railroad / bike bridge, Seomjingang Trail, Korea Hyangga Park railroad / bike bridge, Seomjingang Trail, KoreaHyangga Park railroad / bike bridge and tunnel, Seomjingang Trail, KoreaSome of the non-motorized-only infrastructure of the trail is particularly impressive, like repurposed railroad bridges and tunnels, and specially built non-motorized suspension bridges.

In the middle of the old railroad bridge a glass-floored section has been added and cantilevered out over the river (far right) so you can look directly down into the clear water -- if you have the nerve to bicycle or walk over clear space.

In 2016, a variety of art was added to the Hyangga Park railroad / bike bridge and tunnel (below).

This section of the trail is not near a large population center so the numbers of users is lower, and it is all that much more inspiring to see and enjoy this investment.
  Seomjingang Trail, Korea Hyangga Park Tunnel, Seomjingang Trail, Korea Seomjingang Trail, Korea Suspension Bridge, Seomjingang Trail, Korea
    Megasequoia (Dawn Redwood) Trail, KoreaIn Yudeung-Myeon, 2.5km north of Hyangga Park, the 25km long, Megasequoia (Dawn Redwood) Trail connects the Seomjingang Trail with the Youngsangang Trail, 4km east of Damyang. The trail is routed along Gyeongcheon (stream), farm roads and low traffic volume rural roads.
  Meandering fish ladder, Seomjin River, KoreaSeomjingang Trail. KoreaSome of the most beautiful and relaxing sections of the Seomjingang Trail are the 25km of wild areas between Songjeon (after passing the Kumho Tire Factory) and Iljung. The river winds through narrow valleys, the water is crystal clear, the hillside vegetations is lush and dense. Hints of fall color diversify the palette and the environment is much more car-free.

A favorite feature in this section are meandering fish ladders that are built through several of the weirs (far right).

  Chicken farm, Korea Chick stew dish, KoreaRed pepper farm, Seomjingang Trail. KoreaAs they often are, a chicken factory can be spotted from the road but is isolated up on a hill and a good distance away from any village or other human housing.

Much closer to the trail there is the occasional red pepper field. These are definitely ready to be picked, but I won't recommend grabbing one for an appetizer.

Both the meat and the spice for the nights stew might likely came from the local producers.

  Seomjin Dam, Seomjin River, Korea Seomjin Dam, Seomjin River, KoreaSeomjin Lake, Seomjin Dam,  KoreaSeomjin Dam Certification Center, Seomjingang Trail, KoreaThe northern terminus of the Seomjingang Trail is Seomjim Dam. In the Korean River Trails Passport one of the certification points (where you can get a unique stamp for your passport) is Seomjin Dam. The certification points are generally red boths. It looks like it has been a long dry summer because the reservoir behind the dam is quite low.
  Connection between Seomjin Dam to Damyang Dam The next, close, section of the national river trail systems in the Yeongsan River Trail. There are several ways to connect  from the Seomjingang Trail to the Yeongsan Trail. The route from Seomjin Dam to Damyang Dam follows rural roads that pass farmland and villages and travers some forests.

Gwangyang to Gurye Damyang, Upper Youngsan


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