Last weekend, I joined a Meetup group to hike the Jagged Ridge Trail on Saryang-do, two tiny islands located in South Gyeongsang Province. I had never been to this province before, and the inexpensive price (50,000 won) and itinerary sounded excellent. Also, the weather has been gorgeous this spring, and I had been wanting to get out of Seoul and enjoy Korea’s natural beauty.

After catching a few hours of sleep in the van on Friday night, we arrived in the south of Korea on Saturday morning and took a short ferry ride to the island.

Here I am, looking a bit disheveled while hiking the Jagged Ridge Trail on southern-most island.

In university, I studied Asian art history for a semester. This scene reminds me of the traditional ink landscape paintings on scrolls, depicting floating clouds among jagged cliffs. Those scrolls come to life on this island.

Eric, the leader of the group, played music on top of one of the peaks.

The hike took us about 5 or 6 hours to complete, but we took several breaks to drink makkoli, Korean rice wine. I was a little tipsy after this break, and thankfully for the rest of the group, I didn’t clumsily sprain my ankle.

This is why it’s called the “Jagged Ridge Trail.” I love the expression on Sojuman’s wife’s face, to the left.

We essentially rock climbed to this point. It was slightly frightening to think about someone losing their footing, falling off the cliff and dying, but alas, we all survived. Also, I was a little worried about one of the girls hiking in sandals. I thought, this girl’s gonna lose her fucking toe. Luckily, she proved me wrong.

Here’s a view from the pension where we stayed, ate samgypsal and got drunk. Despite the previous night’s lack of sleep, it was a fun, soju-filled night.

The next morning was bright and sunny, and we visited a sandy beach on the island.

These girls (twins?) showed us some crabs they caught.

And balls of seaweed. The island seemed to be occupied by children and old folks. Most young to middle-aged adults have probably migrated to the city to find jobs.

The ajumma to the left was selling dried fish. She wondered why I wasn’t wearing shoes.

Overall, Saryang-do’s Jagged Ridge Trail was the best hiking I’ve done in Korea, and the fantastic weather, food and company added to the great atmosphere.

Directions: I have no idea.


-Text and photography by Sarah Shaw @ All rights reserved.