Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The cavescapes of Danyang

The weekend before last I visited Danyang, in the northeast of Chungcheongbuk-do. Situated on a curve of the Namhangang and, when the water's high enough, considered a part of Chungju Lake, there's a lot of natural beauty in the area. Some of it is underground, as there are 4 well known caves in the area. I visited two, the first being Gosu Cave, which is very close to town (on the other side of the Gosu Bridge, just past the tourist information office). It was first explored in the early 1970s, and was found to have been a shelter for humans in the Paleolithic era. It's now home to some pretty spectacular rock formations.

One wonders how much H.R. Giger explored caves; I often felt like I was on the set of an Alien movie.

This photo should give some idea as to how tall the cave gets at points:

Needless to say, those suffering from claustrophobia and fear of heights might want to gove this a pass (as might those with a large belt size - the walkways get very narrow at points).

Four kilometers down the road from Gosu Cave is Cheondong Cave, which was first discovered in the 1970s.

The warnings that apply to Gosu Cave apply even more to Cheondong Cave, as the passageways at times force you to almost crawl, or to descend stairs backwards. Here's a view of the largest room in the cave:

All in all, a fun way to spend 5,000 won. I'll post more about the rest of the trip in a day or so.


Anonymous said...

Amazing pics!

Can I ask what camera you used, and how you got the lighting so perfect?

Do the authorities allow exploring, or is it a guided tour? I did some caving in California crawling through narrow openings and in the dark.

matt said...

It's just a Sony DSC-W70, which is about three and a half years old and in need of being replaced. The photos were taken a slightly longer exposure than normal, but the credit really goes to the lighting in the cave. You really don't have to work hard for the pictures (just don't use a flash like the photos on the wikipedia page!).

You can't explore, unfortunately. It's all laid out on metal stairways and you're guided along by them. My only other experience caving was in Laos, which was a lot rougher - a lot of squeezing through tiny holes to enter into massive caverns, wading up to your chest in water, stuff like that. It was good fun.