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Strolling between two popular beaches, Hamdeok to Gimnyeong[Jeju's Trails] Day 2 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.09.08  16:21:35
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▲ Photos by Steve Oberhauser

Contributor Steve Oberhauser has meticulously planned (and now will execute) an ambitious project to hike and write about all the main Jeju mountain trails, every oreum (volcanic cone) open to the public (about 150 of them), and assess every Olle trail, all in the span of about 50 days.

Look for Steve’s reports over the coming weeks, and as always you can send your feedback to Steve and The Weekly on our Facebook page ( —Ed.

The Journey
These are the top eight sites in sequential time order for Day 2: Hamdeok Beach - Seoubong peak - Seoubong south entrance/exit - Dolharbang Park sign entrance across from The April Third Uprising Historical Site - west of Gimnyeong on 1132 - Ibsan Oreum first peak - Ibsan Oreum second peak - Gimnyeong Beach campground

View The Jeju Weekly's Hike Jeju 2011 in a larger map. For best results, please use Chrome or Firefox.

Hamdeok sauna -- 3,500
PC room -- 1,300
bananas, apples -- 4,000
pay phone -- 350
Pocari Sweat -- 2,500
Pocari Sweat -- 2,400
Total -- 14,050 won

3 bananas, 2 apples, 3 liters Pocari Sweat, ½ head of raw cabbage, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 2
Couple Cube. I have a passion - many times - for being alone. While on Jeju, I always have a passion for Konglish. I have seen the structure hundreds of times before at Hamdeok Seoubong Beach, but never did I know it had a name. The grin across my face at 7 a.m., was immense when I saw the title. Yes, that thing is called “Couple Cube.” The word couple is a big word in Korea. There’s “couple look,” “campus couple,” “couple ring,” and “couple watch,” I’ve heard. Quick story: Last year I asked one of my 17-year-old students what was on one of his fingers. He replied, “It’s a couple ring.” I thought: Huh? Oh, so your girlfriend and you wear upside down Playboy insignia-ed couple rings? How cute! As is the Couple Cube.

▲ The "Couple Cube" is a structure you can't miss at Hamdeok Seoubong Beach. Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Seoubong. The oreum to the east of Hamdeok Beach has some more trails since the last time I tried it about two years ago. I actually thought it was not on the official oreum list until I checked. It’s gone from nothing to something special with more than a circuitous route. There’s a connection part at the top where one needs to fight through chest-high vegetation for a few minutes to connect to a wider portion of the trail. Pleasantly surprised indeed.

Dolharbang Park. It’s in a strange location. There’s a big sign off 1132 west of Hamdeok. There’s really no English available and the layout is a bit misshapen, but the collection of stone grandfathers and other stone artwork is impressive. I passed on another visit to this location, but this is the best landmark of the day. Some of the artwork for sale is the only I’ve considered hauling back to the States. The sign is directly across the street from The April Third Uprising Historical Site.

New best friend. The first name of my new best friend is Pocari. Last name: Sweat. Pocari Sweat is no relation to Keith. It’s the only thing that tastes OK, and, I guess, is somewhat healthy for replacing lost fluids. Pocari will be by my side throughout the journey.

Good people in Gimnyeong. After purchasing a Pocari Sweat from the first mom-and-pop market on Gimnyeong’s main street, the nice woman informed me there was no PC room in Gimnyeong, but directed me to a government office where there were computers available. When I found the spot at about high noon, in any other circumstance elsewhere in the world, based on my appearance, plausibly I would have been picked up on a vagrancy charge. Dirty and sweaty, and perhaps not smelling like roses. Worse, I think, from what I could surmise, they were talking about me and understood where I worked in the past. Thanks for the computer use. And also, thanks to the good people of the Gimnyeong Maze Park for allowing me to use a computer of theirs to write this.

The bones of Ibsan Oreum. I have no idea what I am getting into when approaching an oreum. Ibsan Oreum, just south of Gimnyeong, is a burial spot for thousands of deceased people. Many are in the traditional mound shape, others are below ground with a headstone. There’s a service road that cuts in the middle and almost to the top. To get to the top, one has to walk along the short stone fences that demarcate one grave from another. A bit unsettling being in an unexpected graveyard. Nice views from the top, though.

Brutally hot and chillingly cold. The weather in the day, on the pavement, reads at 30 degrees Celsius or a bit below when the sun is out, which has been constant so far. The last two nights of sleeping, or laying down and trying to sleep on a flat, raised and roofed wooden gazebo-like structure -- at Hamdeok Beach first and Gimnyeong Beach second -- it’s rather chilly. No complaints, just the current conditions, and no rain.

Gimnyeong campground. I have gained more respect for Gimnyeong Beach for its layout. The campground is fabulous with only a few people there because of the private space and its use of public facilities. I felt much safer here than laying around Hamdeok. Less creatures of the night around Gimnyeong.

Two for two at the bathrooms. More bathroom behavior gone awry. When I went into a public bathroom off of Gimnyeong Beach there was a naked man taking a shower using the sink. A bit shocked. He acted like it was no problem, talking to a friend. Yes, it’s close to the beach, but it’s also attached to some offices. Wow. Just reporting what I see.

Eyeing Udo for Saturday. I’m on track to get to Udo on Saturday to start the Olle course portion again. These courses will take me back to Jeju City.

Sept. 7, 2011
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