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TravelHiking
The biggest temple, falls, beaches, loose rocks and fireflies[Jeju's Trails] Day 15 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.09.23  11:24:28
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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 15 sites in sequential order for Day 15: sleeping spot, near Yakcheonsa - Yakcheonsa (Temple) - Daepo Port - JTO Duty Free Shop, ICC - The Seaes, front entrance - Baerinae Oreum, peak - Campbells’ English Academy - Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, main - bridge over Cheonjeyeon Waterfall park - Cheonjeyeon Waterfall, third falls - Baerinae Oreum, base opposite - Baerinae Oreum, base front - Jungmun Beach, west - Marine Corps Trail - Fireflies Reservation



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Spent
market -- 3,000
Family Mart -- 2,500
market -- 4,000
Total -- 9,500 won

Consumed
Petya’s spaghetti, salad, apples, pears, muffins, large cup of coffee; 2 cups tea, 2 cups noodles, 2 bags potato chips, 2 apples, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 15
Jeju’s (Foreigner) Three Wise Men. I started the day inside Olle Course No. 8 and did not leave it. However, more importantly, my rounds as of today are complete with the Three Wise Men. … Jeju’s Three Wise Men are Fred, Eugene and Ralf. Proverbial Grandpappy, Pappy and Son. These three older foreigner men on Jeju - so famous only their first names need to be used - have been here a long time, have their hands in an invested business (maze park in Gimnyeong, English academy in Jungmun, dive shop in Seogwipo), and have a lot of information to share about Jeju Island. I have no one left to talk to until I resurface back in Jeju City. Loaded with so much information, it’s always a figurative mystery how it will be delivered by these elders: a straight shot, misfire, from the hip, blank, or a pistol whip. All good.

Yakcheonsa. I witnessed daybreak here. Buddhist temples of the Jogye Order in Korea are quite similar. Yakcheonsa is hailed as the biggest in Asia. Upon entering, the space from floor to ceiling is the most overwhelming and the size of the Buddha statue. I found it to be boxy in the other dimensions. Very quiet and peaceful first thing in the morning. Grounds, as at all temples, are delicately manicured. Found a spring water drinking spot. I’m very, very curious, why Olle did not list this temple on their course maps. Some temples are, most aren’t. A separation of temple and the Olle state?

Columnar Joint (Jusangjeollidae). With so many natural wonders on the south coast, this two-kilometer stretch from Daepo to Jungmun seemed routine and I almost forgot about this entire section. According to the sign, there’s a lot of technical scientific terminology I cannot simplify. They are rocky cliffs, either in the form of a columnar joint or a platy joint and are worth seeing in person.

Baerinae Oreum. This one is a sleeper oreum. On the map it seems insignificant. A full wrap-around walkway, improvements that are the best I’ve seen and an almost 360-view of Jungmun made this visit something better than average. I also received a full eminent domain history lesson at the peak from none other than Eugene, followed by computer usage time at his family’s academy, mixed in with lunch at the Campbell homestead.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Visit to a hagwon.
Vocal on Jeju’s active English message board, RhymesWithJeju, Eugene is probably not known in person by a majority of the recently arrived foreigners. Maybe he’s a bit misunderstood to some at first in cyberspace. … Listening to the 64-year-old long-time resident of Korea play piano while his elementary students and he sing to “Edelweiss” is pretty sweet. It’s important to have meaningful breaks off the Olle trail. This was one of them, along with lunch. Eugene and wife Petya operate the only all-foreigner run English academy on the island.

▲ Cheonjeyeon Waterfall. Photo by Steve Oberhauser

The third falls at Cheonjeyeon. I’ve been stifled at a few spots as to why Olle does not incorporate more of the sites into their routes. With this information, procured by local knowledge, I was able to witness the third waterfall at Cheonjeyeon right off the side of Olle Course No. 8’s route as it wraps around Baerinae Oreum. There’s no mention of it on the map. I do understand the money issue of it. The sneaky backside entrance is free. No English signs say otherwise. Other people have to go through the main entrance and pay a fee, if not a resident. Maybe work out a deal in the future? Cheonjeyeon is not to be missed.

Jungmun Beach. Closed for any activity in the water as of the end of August. There still are a lot of people taking in the surroundings. The Olle trail traverses the entire (deep) sand portion of the beach upon approach to the steep stairs up to the Hyatt’s back gardens.

▲ Jungmun Beach. Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Marine Corps Trail.
Officially closed, the Olle sign says. But, I was following a few Koreans and thought, I can’t miss one of the better stretches of the Olle trail because of a sign, right? I did a twilight run of the Marine Corps (93rd Battalion) Trail. Basically, I think there’s really nothing left of the original work because of the rough seas continually washing away the shore. On the western-most portion for a few meters the original trail is still intact. As for the other entire long trail stretch, any large rock is liable to move. As a result of some loose big rocks at dusk, I reacquainted myself with some grade school gym class square dancing moves, such as the do-si-do, allemande left and the solo-partner promenade. Not to mention the jitterbug, step-to-the-left motion.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Random thought of the day. I remembered all the visible artwork colors at the Lee Jung Seop Museum the day before, contrasted with the drabness of my daily Olle interactions. It reminded me, at one point, most people want to be, in some form, an artist, but most, if not all, just end up painting commercial billboards.

Fireflies Reservation.
I walked until I could walk no more. I ended up on the coast at the Fireflies Reservation. Yeah, it’s chilly at night. But, it’s better than sweating buckets in the afternoon sun. Laid down on a bench in an overgrown patch of greenery, wrapped myself in netting and watched the few remaining firefly gypsies create their magic and dance for their lone spectator.

Date

Sept. 21, 2011

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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