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 (Facebook.com/JejuWeekly). —Ed.
The Journey These are the top 13 sites in sequential order for Day 9: Onpyeong center square, harbor - Olle reference point - Tong Oreum, base - Tong Oreum, peak 1 - Tong Oreum, peak 2 - Dokjabong, base - Dokjabong, peak - Dokjabong, base opposite - Samdal-ri, close to Kim Young Gap Gallery - Bada Mokjang livestock farm - Sonangbat Forest trail - Hungry Bridge (Baegopeun Dari) - Pyoseon Beach, Olle Course No. 3 finish / Olle Course No. 4 start
Spent market -- 6,000 Family Mart -- 5,500 Total -- 11,500 won
Consumed 1.5 liters lemon Gatorade, 1.5 liters Mountain Blast Powerade, 3 hard-boiled eggs, crackers, 1 can mackerel (godeungeo), 1 bag potato chips, double cheese sandwich, fruit Mentos, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water
Thoughts from Day 9 The highlight of the journey so far spotted. And on Wednesday, it was closed. The Kim Young Gap Gallery in Samdal-ri was not to be seen. I almost hopped the security fence and approached the grounds to tell the person occupying I just walked nine days to get to what I thought is the most important part of Jeju I have not seen before, the ultimate photographer to grace the island with the photos he created and left in his gallery. I will go before I depart, but not on foot. The next best thing. Read Darryl Coote’s optimal work, in my opinion, for The Jeju Weekly, a two-parter on the photographer, “The Man in the Art” and “The Art in the Man”. Coote (pronounced “coot,” no “e” in the action) is the paper’s veteran reporter. Although a young pup in the journalism field, one of his dreams is to be such a great writer, he only needs one name for a byline, such as DCoote. His passion will take him there. Mr. Coote, Jeju is one stop of many in the writing circus of life.
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
No legitimate fluid access for more than 15 kilometers. Not a store in view from the beginning of Olle Course No. 3 out of Onpyeong to almost outside of Pyoseon. Farmland galore around mini highlands. Insects making the majority of the noise. A few places were closed; they looked seasonal. I was parched. Looking around every corner. Waiting. I did the next best illegitimate thing and saddled up near to a closed cafe and filled an empty 1.5-liter bottle with water from a hose and dropped in an Aquatab. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drink all and repeat.
Aquatabs. These are water purification tablets. I have about 40 left. Perfect for keeping everything together in the inside. Montezuma’s Revenge is my biggest fear of this trip, but a big solid thanks to the active ingredient sodium dichloroisocyanurate … and limiting intake of any and all Korean food.
Tong Oreum and Dokjabong. These were the two peaks Olle Course No. 3 takes on. Not very exciting, and nothing to write about, except “tong” means bucket in Korean, so it looks like that. Dokjabong, according to sources, looks like a horse's hoof.
Forest Trail. This was an interesting place. Near the end of the route. A sudden turn and a sign, all in Korean, except the title, said Sonangbat Forest Trail. In the hot sun, this was the one covered spot I needed for about five hours today, instead of the five minutes it offered. Certainly it was obvious young trees were cut down to hack this part of the Olle trail out.
Teddy bear surprise. Just to the north of Pyoseon Beach I came upon one of those gigantic stuffed teddy bears discarded off the side of the road. It was reclining, dirty and worn. Sad. Lost love. I’m sure there’s a story behind that big cuddly mess. Well, just as there’s plenty of fish in the sea, so too, there are plenty of teddy bears within the shores of Jeju.
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
Pyoseon swimming. The finishing point of this day was swimming at Pyoseon Beach, for two hours, while I attempted to dry all my other clothes in the sun. It was low tide, so the arm floaties - one thing I forgot to pack - would have done little good, since the lake of sand was exposed.
Beach towel. I have this multi-tasking beach towel from an area resort, courtesy of a man pronounced “she-moan.” This piece has served as a mattress to sleep on the beach, a blanket to sleep on the wooden and concrete ground at night, a pillow to nap in the daytime, a body towel after a makeshift shower, a hand and sweat towel all the time, and a cover for one of my bags when it rains.
Course No. 3. The best so far, in my opinion (out of five complete). There’s (18) more coming. Together, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 were a good run. Things are getting better; my feet are not.
Date Sept. 14, 2011
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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