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TravelHiking
Turning the island's southwestern corner provides a full day's hike[Jeju's Trails] Day 17 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.09.24  17:18:49
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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 21 sites in sequential order for Day 17: east of Hwasun Beach, Olle Course No. 9 finish / Olle Course No. 10 start - Hwasun Beach - beach 1, Olle reference point - beach 2, Olle reference point - Sanbangsan, overlook - Sanbangsan, Sanbang-gulsa Temple - overlook, Olle reference point - beach rest area, Olle reference point - beach, Olle reference point - Human and Animal Footprint Fossil site - Mt. Songak, base 1 - Mt. Songak, base 2 - Mt. Songak, peak 1 - Mt. Songak, peak 2 - Mt. Songak, base 3 - Sesal Oreum - Seotal Oreum - Altteureu Airfield - Hamo Beach coastal pine trees - Hamo Beach - Moseulpo, Olle Course No. 10 finish / Olle Course No. 11 start



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Spent
PC room -- 16,000
Family Mart -- 4,700
mart -- 3,000
mart -- 5,500
Hong Mart -- 5,250
Springflower Guesthouse -- 21,009
Total -- 55,459 won

Consumed
1.5 liters Pocari Sweat, 1 sandwich, 1 gimbap, 2 bags potato chips, 2 peaches, 1 can mackerel, fried hard tack, 1 cup noodles, 1 cup coffee, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 17
Take the long road. Wow. Olle Course No. 10 certainly takes a hiker on a complete look at the southwestern portion of the island. There are so many things to write about, but I only have 10 items. Endless beaches, four oreum, crops, views, Hamel’s boat and the Yongmeori seashore. All from sun up to sun down. I was so tired at the beginning of the course, at about 6:30 a.m., I threw my towel down, right at the trail’s edge of the second beach past Hwasun and slept, out stone cold, for two-and-a-half hours. For then, when did I wake up? In the middle of a Korean Olle hikers’ line contingent, the leader with one of those flags announcing, yes, I am the leader of this group of hundreds. I wonder what they thought of me? Certainly denounced as disheveled, possibly dirty, maybe devious.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Beach overload.
The beaches keep stretching out of Hwasun. The second and third were rather clean. Hwasun, on the other hand, is not. The entire course has countless stretches of sand and rock close to shore’s edge, ending past Hamo Beach and its stand of pines. There’s an entire protected beach in the Human and Animal Footprint Fossil Site.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Sanbangsan.
Although officially not on the course, all hikers should make a side trip. This behemoth is something to behold. I was eyeing any way to the top and a chance to scurry like a rat on up. I heard about one, but did not have the patience to do a full circle in the sand heat with midday approaching. What is available is a large temple near the base and, higher up, another temple inside a cave, Sanbang-gulsa. I was warned it was going to be busy. And it was, with middle school students. The thought of drinking the magical waters in the center washed away when I witnessed scores of middle schoolers assault the area and the subsequent monks scolding them for their disrespectful behavior. True, “bubble bubble, bubble pop” and Buddhism will never go together. Who was responsible for those youth mongers? Find a time to go to the cave temple when it is empty, if possible.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

One of the most difficult things...
on the trail is the stares. It would be one thing if this were a natural hike, for instance on the Appalachian Trail, where all people encountered are hikers and are in the same boat. Walking around Jeju has its problems for me in that a Mr. Korean Pink Tie or Miss Korean Blue High Heels can be seen at any time on the trail or a related tourism site. I am in no condition to brush sides or be within a long pole’s length of either party. Also, I’m not dressed like a colorful and stylish Korean Olle trekker, so I am not identified as an Olle trekker. The stares are endless. I have to deal with men splashing lotion pretty-boy style on their face at outdoor public bathrooms. Ridiculous.

Mt. Songak. This place is cool. My favorite oreum so far. There are a few glitches. However, it has craters, the largest being 500 meters wide and 80 meters deep, covered in black volcanic soil, according to the Olle sign. The views are all there of Marado, Gapado and Hyeongjeseom, which translates to Brother Island, are thorough on not one, but many of the peaks, which are all accessible safely on foot.

Sesal Oreum.
The sign says it perfectly on the translation. It’s worth the read: “This military facility was built to protect Altteureu Airfield, which was considered to be of high strategic importance at the time. Constructed around 1945, this anti-aircraft emplacement is a circular concrete structure with four complete artillery positions and one unfinished position. As a Japanese military facility from the colonial period (1910-45), it stands as evidence of Japan’s attempt to turn Jeju into a resistance base in the face of defeat at the end of Pacific War.”

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Seotal Oreum. Much has been written in English about the Seotal Oreum Massacre Site and adjacent Altteureu Airfield. Seeing the farming being done around, with incorporation of the hangars and leftover concrete structures to the landscape is a strange feeling. It both can be positive or negative, depending on a person’s perspective.

Hamo Beach.
Step up, Hamo. The course takes a hiker through the pine trees first and deposits the person at the beach. Here, I saw the first act of vandalism with the Olle ganse (the image of a Jeju pony). It lay battered and limp, in pieces. I think this beach deserves more attention than it receives. A perfect swimming spot, it remains a locals only place to frequent.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Foibles. Today, I saw a group of three women sea divers, or haenyeo, riding on an ATV, blazing down a main road, in full suits ready and waiting. I got excited. My kind… With a lack of technological skills, my camera is now displaying in Chinese. I pressed some buttons a few days ago, and my English is no longer… Today, after 18 straight days of wearing the same shirt and pants on the Olle trails, they were washed at my resting spot for this night and the following, at the Springflower Guesthouse in Moseulpo (more on this place later)… I mis-wrote yesterday. Tomorrow, I visit Marado and Gapado. Apparently visiting the two sites is fashionable because a popular television show paid a visit recently, so I can inspect how the bandwagon rolls.

Inquiries. Thanks for the e-mails from those who have sent me questions. The most common question I have received is about the no alcohol consumption. It is true. Tomorrow night will be the one day I deviate. Stay tuned.

Date
Sept. 23, 2011
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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