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Go west, young man, go west to Chagwido[Jeju's Trails] Day 20 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.09.27  16:31:31
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
▲ Photos by Steve Oberhauser

For a complete list of Steve's Hike Jeju articles please click here and as always you can send your feedback to Steve and The Weekly on our Facebook page. —Ed.

The Journey
These are the top 16 sites in sequential order for Day 20: Sinpyeong (Olle Course No. 11) Market, backyard - Gotjawal start, point 1 - Gotjawal, point 2 - Gotjawal, point 3 - Jeju Culture & Ecology Experience Village, Olle Course No. 11 finish / Olle Course No. 12 start - resting spot, Olle reference point - Pyeongji Church - Noknambong, base - Noknambong, peak - Noknambong, opposite base - seaside, Olle reference point - Suwolbong, peak - Suwolbong’s tears - Chagwido Harbor - Dangsanbong, base - Dangsanbong, peak

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Total -- 0 won

1.5 liters Pocari Sweat, 10 hard-boiled eggs, 2 noodle cups, 4 small cold coffees, 3 small hot coffees, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 20

Course No. 11’s conclusion. The trail cuts through a few kilometers of Gotjawal, Jeju’s forest referred to as the island’s lungs. Water is retained here and slowly seeps and filters to the all-important water table. Gotjawal is the clear highlight of this course. It gets a little higher rating because of that, otherwise it’s average, in the middle with the mediocres. A lot of flat farmland. Today, I stopped just short of Course No. 12’s end at Dangsanbong’s peak since the PC room in Gosan was close by and the only one around. I have reintroduced the word “scuzzy” into my vocabulary.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Construction at four sites. First, from the pictures I have seen of the Jeju Culture & Ecology Experience Village, the place is under major renovation. Solar panels cover the roof, and a lot of large wooden pieces and sawing inside and out. I’m not sure any experiencing is currently possible. Second, Dowon Pond, an area ripe with migratory birds is being invaded by many, big earth-moving machines resulting in a lot of relocating dirt piles. Not much water left. Perhaps not even a pond. Third, Suwolbong’s exercise equipment is getting a massive face lift. Fourth, the road from Suwolbong to Chagwido Harbor, which passes the area where Suwolbong’s tears flow was being handled by at least 20 different construction workers doing different tasks.

Who does that? More Olle vandals. I found a decapitated ganse (the image of a Jeju pony) at the top of Suwolbong. Even the information placard was stripped and not to be found. At first I laughed. Am I heartless? Then, I remembered when I was a child, my ma would always ask, “Who does that?” when something outrageous happened. She still does. I asked myself, Who does that? Who would cut the head off a helpless and defenseless ganse like that? Seriously? Another similar question, Which people can’t flush a toilet on the Olle trails? Really? Who does that?

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Noknambong. A simple oreum. A bit neglected I say. No maintenance, at all. Completely overgrown. An easy climb, exercise equipment left for naught and an easy descent. Again, an Olle oreum. A crater at the top with a tangerine and persimmon plantation, according to the sign. And, it used to be dotted with camphor trees.

Hundreds of discarded shoes. Around the fields and around the sea the most trash is visible. Along farmland, I notice a disproportionate number of old shoes, all sizes, makes and colors. Why is that?

Suwolbong. Home to an office of the Korea Meteorological Association. A mixed-use oreum with quite an easy climb. Views around this area of the sea and islands around Chagwido are the closest. Cars can come up to the top, obviously, because of the weather office building.

Candidate for Jeju’s most beautiful spot. Flashback of kayaking around close and past Suwolbong, calm waters, the tide going south to north, moving in the same direction, the sun setting, a perfect view of the striations to the earthen right and ahead Chagwido and Wado due north. What can beat that?

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

Dangsanbong. I have not finished this oreum, but the view at top is almost 360 degrees.This is the best place to view the immediate surrounding area, since the sea, the two harbors, and Gosan are visible amidst thick tree cover, and not many people using it because of a long climb up and down.

Christening Course No. 19. Even more walking ahead. Olle Course No. 19 opened Saturday. It stretches from Manse Hill in Jocheon to Gimnyeong. I will pay a visit, on foot, within the week. It will be like deja vu.

Three straight days in the boonies. Olle course Nos. 13, 14-1 (Gotjawal) and 14 (ends at Hallim) go through the island’s interior. The next three days will be all walking and no writing until Hallim. I was warned before departing on this trip to be aware of village hoodlums by an intelligent older Korean (Jeju native) friend. I will heed that advice. Also, the English version Olle Trail book stops at No. 12, so the only English I can reference will be on the trail, which may be next to nothing.

Sept. 26, 2011

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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