Seolpi Village lies in a remote area in South Korea and an interesting group of people have settled there.
Even when it is mid-spring in other parts of the country, this small village will occasionally receive snowfall. Surrounded by mountains, the village has a single road. It only takes 30 minutes to reach the nearest town by car. Before the road was built, the villagers had to hike through the mountains. There are about 60 families residing in Seolpi Village and they've stayed despite the winter. Just 20 years ago, there were only nine households living here. But after the road was completed 20 years ago, people started to move in. Jang Eung-kwon traveled around the country for a year to find a place to build a home for his family and finally settled on Seolpi Village after visiting the place by chance. Jang Young-mok has been building this log house for eight years. Every weekend, he comes down from Seoul to work on his house. Interestingly, most of the residents are recent arrivals from the city. There is an elementary school next to the village. It has a grand total of seven students. Though there are only a few kids in the village, they hardly feel lonely as there is plenty to do together outdoors. What attracts city dwellers to Seolpi Village?
Seolpi snowshoes are indispensable when traveling in the knee-deep snow.
During the winter, the village elders stay busy by making crafts. They spend their time making snowshoes or, as Koreans call them, seolpi, which they will use themselves. The shoes distribute his weight and although his feet sunk in the snow, they were preventing him from sinking deeper. Snowshoes are indispensable in the winter. Snow and snowshoes define this village. It's the very reason why the village was named Seolpi Village in the first place.
One of the last remaining virgin forests in Korea lies here in Mt. Gombaeyreong.
The area is closed off to the public because it is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. But people can make phone or online reservations to gain access to the reserve. In early summer the trail becomes densely covered with foliage. The broad-leaved trees grow back their leaves in warmer weather. When the snow melts in spring, wild flowers will bloom to create a beautiful spectacle. Mt. Gombaeryeong invigorates the people of Seolpi. Mt. Gombaeryeong offers wonderful vistas and the villagers there have found a fulfilling lifestyle that is everything they ever dreamed of.