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Olle Course No. 9 goes au naturel around Andeok Valley[Jeju's Trails] Day 16 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  13:11:28
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

▲ Photo 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 14 sites in sequential order for Day 16: Fireflies Reservation - Olle reference point - Yerae Ecological Village - Daepyeong Harbor, Olle Course No. 8 finish / Olle Course No. 9 start - Moljil path, point 1 - Moljil path, point 2 - Bolenang path - Hwanggaecheon - Sanbangsan overlook, Olle reference point - cave, Olle reference point - area peak, Olle reference point - corn fields and grass, base - rest area, east of power plant - east of Hwasun Beach, Olle Course No. 9 finish / Olle Course No. 10 start

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mart -- 7,200
Hwasun tang -- 4,000
Total -- 11,200 won

1.5 liters Pocari Sweat, 1 can mackerel, fried hard tack, 2 orange drinks, 4 small hot coffees, 2 Vitamin C tablets, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 16
Course No. 8. I would say at the conclusion of Course No. 8, it is hit-or-miss with many of the sites. It benefits because it is rolling in succession from the two popular southern courses before it and an incredibly natural trail in No. 9 awaits. However, it made me think about why the others were better. Toward the end, I just wanted to finish to get to No. 9. So, despite its individual strong points, which were many, especially through Jungmun, it left little lasting collective impression. If the Marine Corps Trail were restored and improved upon, that would immensely increase its desirability.

Course No. 9. One of the two actual natural Olle trails (No. 14-1 is the other.). This was the first time during the entire Olle trek I considered the majority of the course to be immersed in nature, for longer than say, 10 minutes. A mind can truly wander along its route. The only problem, this is the shortest Olle course at about nine kilometers (minus Gapado’s stroll). With the view of the power plant, I wished it kept on going inside its protected environs. The steep grades were worth the effort expended. On the other hand, the little English interpretation was a little frustrating. Almost nothing could be improved. The nature speaks for itself. I would like to see a topographic map of the area and the course. It seemed like it zigzagged a lot and I really had no idea where I was around a few places. Plus, a lot was overgrown limiting views of Andeok Valley.

Look up and around. Before Course No. 9 gets going, nice views are possible of cliffs, termed Baksugijeong. The area to view is around the port at Daepyeong, which also can be called “nanduru” translated as a “wide field looking toward sea,” according to the Olle sign.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Horse path.
When Course No. 9 turns toward the hills, it begins at the Moljil path. According to the sign, the trail was walked by horses for the purpose of transport, since during the Koryeo Dynasty horses were sent to the Yuan Dynasty, which was Mongolian led. The way was steep, rocky, narrow and spider-web strewn. This also signaled I was the first to walk it early in the morning, since all the webs were soon wrapping around my clothes and face.

The Olle route continues through the Bolenang-gil. Bolenang is Jeju dialect, the sign reads, for linden tree, which is deciduous, and found all over the area. Views abound of Sanbangsan and further west toward Moseulpo.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

When I spotted the river upon descent, Hwanggaecheon, I hopped the wood fence and bathed my head in it. Then, I realized the power plant was awfully close by. I dried my noggin as quickly as possible and walked on.

Archaeological digs. At the end of the hike, the Hwasun Prehistoric sites are present with interpretation only in Korean and many ongoing excavations off both sides of the road, just south of the power plant. The workers were taking a break in the shade, but all the tools had seen recent activity earlier in the day.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

At the closing beach.
All the area around Hwasun Beach has gone the way of habitual development, the point of no return. With the increase of cruise ships docking, a Korea Customs’ satellite office is there as are money changers. My, how Hwasun has changed in a few short years.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

The best copy of a general store... is the Kosa Mart at Hwasun Beach. Where else can one buy a car battery, flip-flops, ice cream, tackle, fertilizer, and garden tools all in one? The tiny mart outside of the beach is messy but great to explore everything available inside. The daughter of the store spoke passable English giving me correct directions to the town’s tang, a stripped-down version of a sauna.

Two islands tomorrow.
Gapado and Marado. Depending on the ferry schedule, I do not know which one will be first. Gapado, the in-between one, has the ultimate shortest Olle course that can be completed in about an hour through barley fields. Marado is famous for occupying the southern-most point of land in Korea.

Sept. 22, 2011
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Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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