| Janjeon-ri Jinbu-myeon Pyeongchang-gun Gangwon-do
Deep remote valley with legendary palace
During the Samhan Kingdom era, there was a kingdom called the Maekguk Kingdom (貊國: Maek state) in present Ganwon-do Province. The king of the Maekguk Kingdom, King Galwang, (葛王: kuzu vine king) who was escaping from the Silla Kingdom (or Yeguk – 濊國: cloudy state), built a castle in a mountain valley, and the king sometimes went on the observatory tower called Manggyeongdae (Mangundae) looking toward his lost kingdom and wishing for the restoration of his old kingdom. And the king’s maids walked on Sinyeoam Rock, missing their parents and relatives in their home village. According to this legend, this mountain was called Galwangsan Mountain before the name was changed to Gariwangsan Mountain (加里旺山: additional prosperous village mountain).
There is another legend about this village. Instead of King Galwang’s story of escape, the legend about King Galmunwang’s shelter is more understandable. King Galmun (葛文王: kuzu vine literature king) is not a name used by common people but a royal name used by the royal family of the Silla Kingdom. The father or father-in-law of a king, or brother of a king, or a husband of a queen was called Galmunwang. This legend says a Galmunwang made a challenge to be king but lost the power struggle and escaped to this place, seeking a shelter from the attacking royal army. He hid himself here and waited for an opportunity to make another attempt to be king.
Gariwangsan Mountain, which rises 1,561 meters high on the borderline between Pyeongchang and Jeongseon in Gangwon-do, is a magnificent and sacred mountain. On the northern slope of Gariwangsan Mountain, King Galwang or King Galmunwang built up a castle and a palace inside the castle, waiting for an opportunity to be a king of the Silla Kingdom. No remains of the Palace have been preserved after so many years, but the name of the village. “Daegweolteo” (palace site), brings the ancient legends back to mind.
Seasonally attractive valley
Jangjeon Vallley is a deep and remote mountainside valley with a palace site. Of the so many tributaries flowing from Odaecheon Stream, which originates from Odaesan Mountain and flows into Joyanggang River at Najoen near Jeongseon, this valley is the most attractive spot. In spring, Korean azaleas decorate the valley, and in May, vivid green verdure covers the valley. In summer, the dark green forest matches well with the refreshing steams in the valley, and in autumn, colorful leaves present a very attractive vista around this wonderful remote mountainside valley.
Jangjeon Valley is well-known for its green moss. The refreshing water falls and flows along the mossy valley in the primitive forest, attracting many professional photographers all year round. Among the photographers, the valley is better known as Gariwangsan Moss Valley rather than its own official name Jangjeon Valley. It is because the wonderful mossy scenery is very impressive as the subject of photos.
One day I visited the moss valley at Jangjeon. There were few people, as it was a weekday. A middle-aged man was indulging in taking photos of the mossy valley without realizing anyone else beside himself was there. I was shocked to see him try to demolish the moss around him with his shoes and stones. After taking his photos of the mossy valley, he was trying to destroy the attractive mossy scene.
“What are you doing?” I shouted. Hearing my voice, he was surprised and immediately ran away down below the valley. I was very disappointed to witness this incredible incident, of which similar incidents I had heard about before from the tourists visiting this valley. The reason the man did what he did is simple. The photographer was so selfish that he did not want to allow anyone else to take a photo of this attractive place, just as he had done. For this reason, he tried to destroy the attractive scenery, not allowing any other photographers to take beautiful pictures of this attractive mossy valley.
Tenacious vitality of moss in preservation of natural environment
People usually pay little attention to moss. Moss is usually regarded as trivial and uninteresting. However, moss is a natural watchtower in the forest that carries out a more solemn mission than common people do. Furthermore, moss forms a little forest in and of itself. Like a shy maid, moss lives silently in the shade of the forest, but it contributes greatly to its surrounding environment and protects nature very well. Moss is a little bryophyte that lives on wet earth, rock or the bark of a tree in shady forest. Green algae that used to live in water evolved gradually to become moss on LAN. But the evolutionary process of moss was not complete until now, and its shape, biological conditions for growth and fertilization method are quite different from other plants. The spores of moss are spread through water or wind to fertilize other moss groups. However, the survivability of moss is really amazing. Moss survives all year round, including in the sultry summer weather and severe icy cold in winter. Moss can survive even in the freezing north or south poles.
Moss keeps moisture in its body. Some moss can contain as much water as 20 times its own weight. Therefore moss functions as a lifesaver for the animals in the forest during a period of drought and provides nutrition to little insects and grazing herbivore animals. Moss prevents the erosion of top soil and functions as nutritious food for plant eaters. If moss dies away, it returns to the earth. As moss prevents floods and landslides, it is a very beneficial plant for human beings, too, but few people know this fact.