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Circumnavigating two more islands, Gapado and Marado[Jeju's Trails] Day 18 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.09.26  16:08:50
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

▲ 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 (Facebook.com/JejuWeekly). —Ed.

The Journey
These are the top 12 sites in sequential order for Day 18: Moseulpo, Olle Course No. 10 finish / Olle Course No. 11 start - Moseulpo-to-Marado dock - Marado dock - Marado marker, southernmost point in Korea - Marado, grass pasture looking north - Moseulpo-to-Gapado dock - Gapado dock - Olle Course No. 10-1 start and finish - Gapado, Olle reference point - Gapado Elementary School, back side - Gapado, looking north, Olle reference point - Springflower Guesthouse


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Spent

PC room -- 5,100
ferry ticket, roundtrip to Marado -- 15,500
ferry ticket, roundtrip to Gapado -- 10,000
mart -- 2,000
Hong Mart -- 7,150
PC room -- 1,400
Springflower Guesthouse -- 31,000
Total -- 72,150 won

Consumed
4 pieces toast with jam, 1 bag potato chips, donut, 2 small hot coffees, Springflower Guesthouse’s Saturday night Korean pork barbecue dinner, a lot of soju and orange juice, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 18
Two islands, one Olle course. I took in Jeju’s two southern inhabited islands, Gapado and Marado. Gapado is home to Olle Course No. 10-1, a five-kilometer jaunt. Marado is home to little. More importantly, I got to clean myself, clothes and supplies for two nights in Moseulpo at the Springflower Guesthouse, which is the only foreigner-run place to stay on the Olle trails. Proprietors are Dean Brown and an expecting Lee Choon Wha.

▲ Marado ferry. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Marado Marker. Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Marado, part 1. For an international traveler, there may be no reason to go to Marado. It holds the distinction of having the country’s southernmost point. That’s about it. With the South Korean landmass about the size of Indiana, and with about 50 million Koreans inhabiting, every strip of land is precious. Imagine 50 million people in Indiana! Every hour or so during the day a ferry pours out hundreds of Korean tourists onto this island.

Gapado part 1. Olle Course No. 10-1 is the reason in any season to go. However, the best time to go is when the barley fields are up from late winter to early summer. The rocks are different on the island, so the outside walls have a different feel. Also, there’s very little litter and no convenience store chain. (Marado has a GS-25.) From Gapado’s northern coast, a person can view these six mountains: Halla, Sanbang, Songak, Gun, Gogeun and Dan.

▲ Gapado Olle 10-1. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Marado part 2. Many Koreans “tour” Marado by way of a guided golf cart. While I was strolling, one driver got to practice his English with me. He said, “Excuse me, Marado fighting!” A passenger followed with about 100 “oles,” or were those “Olles?” The church and temple were about the only two things worth “seeing.”

Gapado, part 2. I think of Gapado as Marado’s little stepbrother. That’s quite a shame. There’s a unique charm that separates this place from the rest of Jejudo’s smaller inhabited islands. The Olle course is the most peaceful I’ve experienced so far. I thought there was a no nonsensical tourist feel to it, all natural.

Marado’s Magic Muffins (part 3).
The ferry company that services Marado is sitting on a gold mine. The amount of people visiting that strip of land is insane. They should pull out all the stops and create Marado’s Magic Muffins. The branding will be “well-being, good for health, and therapeutic when rubbed on the skin.” Only available on Marado, and created using only all-natural Marado ingredients, the ferry company could proclaim this is as a once-a-year holy pilgrimage for officially being a Korean citizen, eating a Marado Magic Muffin. Ferry profits will soar even more.

A sight to behold (Gapado, part 3).
I’m still debating what happened. But, when I was waiting to leave Gapado around the dock, there was a man chanting and following close behind were three women repeating everything the man said. All four raised their fists when yelling loudly. I would guess Southern Baptist. They were all carrying, what I believe to be, leather Bibles.

Cactus sign. One of three English signs on Marado. It explains in June and July yellow flowers bloom from them. In November, purple berries emerge. This cactus species “grows prolifically in rock crevices along Jeju’s seashore.” The scientific name is opuntia ficus indica var. saboten.

Saturday night barbecue. The last English stop on the Olle trails. Outside, under the stars of Moseulpo, at the Springflower Guesthouse, I ate with the owners, another guest, and three members from the nearby Susanjae Seon Culture Experience Center. I drank a bit too much soju and orange juice. Also, I finally found and completed an interview for a future story about the guesthouse, which is related to the Olle trails. The guesthouse, very clean and comfortable by the way, provides many stories for hikers along their journeys.

Olle homestretch.
Basically, 10 more days are left to finish the last 10 courses. Probably the loneliest stretch is the last one. Luckily, I am a bit rested and clean, for a short time at least.

Date

Sept. 24, 2011

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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