LEFT and ABOVE:  on the 31st, my wife and I
climbed up to the viewpoint for the
[Ten-thousand Things], a really amazing set of ridges
and peaks all in eroded granite, with boulders spaped
like anything you can imagine.  This is a primary sight
of the Outer Geum-gang area.  There was a plaque
on the rock declaring that "Great Leader" Kim Il-sung
had himself stood there, proclaiming it the best
scenery on this earth.  It was REALLY cold up there!  
The Jade-pool Hot-spring was most excellent
Left:  the famous painting "Entire View
of Geumgang-san" by Ahn Hyeon,
18th Century, one of Korea's most
important artists.
My own trip to the spectacular
Diamond Mountains
Dec 30th 2001 - Jan 1st 2002
(what a strange, glorious place to spend New Year's Eve!)
Lourdes and I goofing with a tourist photo-site based
on a popular myth set at Geum-gang-san -- I as a
San-shin-dosa [Mtn-spirit-Sage] with two axes and
her as a humble woodcutter.  This is what North
Korea has instead of Mickey Mouse...

In the tale, a very poor woodcutter has lost his axe,
and is searching for it in the Diamond Mountains.  
The Geumgang-san-shin appears, offers him a
pure-silver axe, asking "Is this one yours?"  The
woodcutter answers honestly that it is not. San-shin
offers him a golden axe, asking "Then Is
this one
yours?" and again the poor man resists the
temptation to lie.  San-shin then tells him "If you had
been greedy, I would have killed you.  But because
you are sincere and honest despite your dire
poverty, I will give you both of these precious axes."  
The woodcutter and his family lived happily ever
Our entire group, rallying our spirits.  
My office (Visit Korea Year, which
promotes inbound foreign tourism)
brought the ambassadors to Seoul
from a dozen nations to experience
the Hyundai Diamond Mountains
Tour over the New Year's Holidays.  
The sign behind us declares that
Geum-gang-san is the most
beautiful mountain "under Heaven".  
As you can see below...