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An old forest and special black pine arise as top picks toward Jeju City[Jeju's Trails] Day 24 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.10.03  16:05:41
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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 23 sites in sequential order for Day 24: Hallim Port and Biyangdo ferry terminal, Olle Course No. 14 finish / Olle Course No. 15 start - Suweon-ri - Yeongsae pond on the rock - farm fields, Olle reference point - Seonunjeongsa (temple) - Napeup warm-temperate forest, Napeup Elementary School - Zinnia Trail, start - Gwa Oreum, peak - Gwa Oreum, opposite base, hidden trail’s start - path, point 1 - path, point 2 - Bogwangsa (temple) gate - Gonaebong, peak 1 - Gonaebong, peak 2 - Gonaebong, opposite base - Gonae Port, Olle Course No. 15 finish / Olle Course No. 16 start - coastline, Olle reference point - Gueom Port - Susanbong, base - Susanbong, peak 1 - Gomsol (pine tree), Susan reservoir - Yewondong - Hangpaduri



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Spent
GS25 -- 4,400
PC room -- 15,000
Family Mart -- 3,600
mart -- 4,200
Family Mart -- 6,300
Total -- 33,500 won
(Note: Rest day, Total -- 9,800 won)

Consumed

6 sandwiches, 5 cookies, 1 can fish (gongchi), 1 gimbap, 2 bags potato chips, 1 banana, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 24
Warm-temperate forest in Napeup. When I originally set out to hike all of the Olle trails, this is one place I dreamed about discovering on Jeju. I found it. Better yet, it’s right behind Napeup Elementary School and I saw groups of students walking around and learning in nature from their teachers. It’s clean (not one piece of litter), it’s quiet (besides the students, no one is here), it’s an original forest (about 60 subtropical trees and plants are here), and it retains a primitive status (as National Monument 375). I know the students that learn from such an incredible natural experience will be different -- regardless of test scores, family background, or their famous-ness factor -- than their counterpart, automaton study machines. The sign states: “This is a sample area where the nobility enjoyed their social lives while writing poems or discussing contemporary affairs and their natural environment is well preserved.” Thank you for sharing, Napeup forest; your boardwalks and everything inside the designated site are priceless. Whichever English teacher is assigned at the school, I think, receives a different kind of bonus, as well.

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

Course No. 15. There’s nothing for one here as a trail. OK, there’s an oreum or two and a site or two. But those can be visited individually. Admittedly, it was a joy to leave Hallim and continue on to Jeju City. Course No. 15, there is little I can boast about your long stretch.

Yeongsae pond on the rock. Here is a pond about one meter deep, a few kilometers into the trail. Back in the day, according to the sign, “people dug in the ground to collect clay for their houses, and then water naturally gathered in the hole.” Locals also used to watch the swallows flying around.

Gwa Oreum. This is not a public oreum because no official trail goes to the top. That does not stop people from climbing, however. At the rear base, accessed by the Olle trail, there is a semi-worn path leading up. Once at the peak, no real substantial view exists.

Aloe farm. Sometimes a new crop appears around a corner. After Gwa Oreum, a lone field of aloe is planted. There was no further information. I was curious if this is the only farm on the island and if this plant is used for medicinal or ornamental purposes.

Gonaebong. This part of the course consumes more than an hour’s time. At the base, there is a Buddhist temple, Bogwangsa. Reaching the first peak, there is an interesting map that displays 18 other oreum in view from that spot. Although a restricted view, this is only a stopping point. Off guard, the oreum continues to climb until another peak. It takes another route down and around en route to the finish of Course No. 15.

Rest day and the state of aging saunas and tangs.
Friday was the second and last rest day for the Olle portion segment of Hike Jeju. I arrived at Hallim and made myself at home for a day at the tang in town since the ferry for Biyangdo was grounded due to sea conditions. Next time, small island. Respectfully, this tang along with other rural counterparts and saunas on Jeju have seen better days, much better days. I was the only customer from 6 a.m. (promptly an older Korean woman inside asked me if I was drunk, which was not the case), until at least 3 p.m., when I awoke from a dingy, down-and-out back room, where the owner kindly let me sleep. The pools were not even full of water, and the male owner was constantly eyeing my towel consumption. My 4,000 won could only take me so far. I left the cotton swabs as they were and did not think about touching any of the extra toiletries. Outside of the island’s two major cities and aside from the remodeled saunas in Namwon and Samyang, all the other saunas and tangs I have experienced in the last three-plus years are on their last legs. I’m not sure if that is a lack of investment capacity by the small business owners to upgrade a dying business as more people tend to favor moving to the big city, or perhaps, people in rural areas are not interested in public baths and showers anymore.

▲ A Jeju sauna. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Susanbong. Course No. 15 starts after Gonae Port and about six kilometers in a hiker faces Susanbong. Well signed and with different courses laid out, they meet near the top where the military occupies a large section of land with a fence and gate all present. Close to the top there is a nice badminton court and exercise equipment, most likely used by the soldiers in their free time.

Gomsol and reservoir. At Susanbong’s base, residents of Susan have a 400-year-old Japanese black pine called Gomsol. The sign states “when the tree is covered with snow, it looks like a white bear and is thus called Gomsol (literally meaning a bear pine).” The tree is looked upon as Susan’s guardian. It fronts the Susan Reservoir, another wide stretch of water within the island’s borders.

Cool conditions for 30-plus kms. The weather turned for the better, according to my body’s liking. As locals are starting to say choo-wha (“It’s cold”) all too often and theatrically shiver, I have wholeheartedly welcomed the conditions since this is the first day I have not been constantly sweating and taking in an abundance of fluids. I can hike for the duration of the day. I covered one course and another 12 kilometers of Course No. 15 to finally sleep outside of the Hangpaduri fortress, where the Sambyeolcho Army fought against Mongol invaders some 700 years ago. One more thing that has picked up is my food consumption to prevent abject emaciation. Let the chilly autumn weather continue.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Date
Oct. 1, 2011

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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