Baekdu-daegan photo exhibition to open
70 images from Hike Korea to be on display Feb. 17-22
By John Redmond
A presentation of photos of mountains of the Baekdu-daegan from both North and South Korea will be exhibited at the Gyeongbokgung Station Gallery in Seoul from Feb.17 to 22.
Sponsored by Korea Forest Service, 70 images from Roger Shepherd of Hike Korea will be on display with some 25 works traveling to New Zealand for a month to be exhibited there.
Shepherd is from New Zealand and from an early age began traveling to certain parts of the world, spending eight years in Africa as a wildlife ranger and safari guide.
After visiting Korea in 2006, he came across the large geographical feature called the Baekdu-daegan.
He began walking this 735km ridge and immediately embraced its magic and strong sense of nationalism.
“Halfway through that walk, I suddenly realized that I needed to be documenting this walk which had now become a form of pilgrimage,” he states on the Hike Korea website.
“I stopped walking and planned an expedition of the Baekdu-daegan for 2007. With my colleague and good friend Andrew Douch, we walked the entire length of the Baekdu-daegan between September and mid November, and subsequently published the first ever English guidebook on this remarkable treasure. I was now hooked.”
In 2009 he returned to Korea and began walking the Baekdu-daegan’s subsidiary ridges called Jeongmaek.
“There are nine of these in South Korea, varying from 100 to 500 kms in length. I have so far completed six. It was during this period of pilgrimage that the idea of forming a hiking business that specialized in taking people on jaunts into the mountains of Korea to discover its culture and history.
“After that I went out and simply started walking and talking ― slowly forming a business brand for Hike Korea.”
Before researching his idea he resided in a small hermitage high in the mountains finishing my Masters in Strategic Studies.
“I wanted Hike Korea to be authentic and less touristy, and the idea of introducing Korean mountain culture spiritually through trails that represent Shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Folkism, nature and people was formed. I believe that Hike Korea offers to its pilgrims a unique and genuine experience that will reward them with personal self development, education, and spirituality. Let walking become your pilgrimage into another world,” he states.
“I now reside in small mountain cabin in Korea and when I’m not hiking, I am writing articles and taking photos of Korean mountains,” he concludes.
Shepherd is also an Honorary Ambassador of Tourism for South Korea, Goodwill Ambassador for the Yeongju Korea Forest Service in North Gyeongsang Province, and a member of the Korea Forest Service North Gyeongsang Province advisory committee.
Hike Korea is a foreign owned company specializing in cultural research and independent travel promotion through photography and writing.
Founded in 2010, it is a sole-proprietorship business that specializes in developing new cultural trails in Korea of cultural, spiritual, and religious significance that follow in the footsteps of some of Korea’s most famous religious figures, folk heroes, and historical events.
“Its core philosophy is to brand Korea's image to the world as a travel destination of unique and intriguing discovery. Hike Korea emphasizes strongly the link Korea has with its ancient mountain culture and uses this as its foundation for its empirical studies. Its long term goal is to one day see most of Korea’s wonderful cultural and historical attractions interconnected by a series of national trails that pass through mountains, rivers, valleys, villages, and cities.”
It makes these trails based on existing networks of trails that have been used by pilgrims for thousands of years. Hike Korea connects mountains, valleys, villages, temples, shrines, and national treasures with these pilgrim trails, taking you on a wonderful animated journey back into the history of Korea.
It is also a consultancy service for Korean tourism and recreational forest development for the Korea Forest Service.
“Some of its trail themes are based on the footprints of some of Korea’s most famous heroes from various stages of its respective Kingdom Period’s. These cultural trails are discovered by using a series of old and new mountain tracks that sends the traveler bounding over mountains, down valleys, through villages, along rivers, and sometimes into cities. Along the way the traveler gets to experience pieces of Korea’s transcendent history of indigenous folk customs, Shamanism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity.”
The exhibition opening will be attended by Mr. Daniel Mellsop, Charge d' affaires of the New Zealand embassy along with other embassy staff members..
For information on Hike Korea, visit www.hikekorea.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.