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Olle's remotest locale, Chuja Island, marks the completion of a thru-hike[Jeju's Trails] Days 27 and 28 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.10.06  14:53:28
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▲ 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.

Please note that for the moment, Google Maps does not have a clear view of Chuja Island. You can see a detailed view of Chuja by clicking here. —Ed.

The Journey
These are the top nine sites in sequential order for Day 27: Hamdeok Beach, point 1 - Chujado dock, Olle Course No. 18-1 start - General Choe Yeong Shrine - Mt. Bonggeulle, peak 1 - Mt. Bonggeulle, opposite base - Navarone Cliffs, sign - peak, Olle reference point - lighthouse, peak - bridge connecting Hachujado and Sangchujado

PC room -- 8,000
Family Mart -- 800
sauna -- 5,000
Family Mart -- 3,000
ferry ticket, Jeju City to Chujado -- 12,500
mart -- 10,000
PC room -- 8,000
Total -- 47,300 won

3 liters Pocari Sweat, full Korean lunch of yellow corvina, rice, soup, side dishes and soju; 1 sandwich, a lot of hard tack, 1 can Chilsung cider, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 27
Chujado’s course is top 3. This trail is great. Considering all the fried, thin crisp slices of potatoes I have consumed in the last month, excuse my use of a bad 90s expression, but Chujado’s Olle Course No. 18-1 is all that and a bag of chips. How great is it? It is one of the three best courses Olle offers. It’s the most difficult in elevation changes and undulations, hence the longest in time duration (seven to nine hours to complete). It covers both islands of Upper Chujado and Lower Chujado, which are connected by a bridge, and offers incredible views as it goes through mostly forested paths and meets smaller villages when appropriate. This course is not for kids or any person with subcutaneous belly fat. With the ferry schedule - the Pink Dolphin leaves Jeju City at 9:30 a.m., and departs Chujado at 4:10 p.m., every day - it will require an Olle trekker to spend at least one night to successfully complete the course. There also is a freighter ferry departing Chujado from a different port at 10:30 a.m., returning to Jeju City, but at a slower pace. I was not clear to the latter’s departure time from Jeju City.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Special guest appearances. They were The Jeju Weekly’s Editor-in-Chief Todd Thacker, Assistant Editor Darryl Coote and Head Designer Yun Seong Un. We all boarded the Pink Dolphin. At different points and paces, they walked brief parts of the first five-kilometer stretch of the Chujado course with me. All were on assignment; this was no vacation. They returned back to the city the same day. Amazingly, for Mr. Thacker, it was his first trip off of Jeju Island in more than a year, since he started at the Weekly. Some of Chujado’s architecture and layout reminded him of the American West. He recalled summertime on the Canadian prairies as a youth climbing trees. Mr. Coote thought of Spain when wandering the tight alleyways toward another island marker. His walking rate is the exact opposite of the dawdling ganse (image of a Jeju pony). He thinks hiking is all work and no play. Mr. Yun, well, he was content riding his first scooter in a decade or so, taking professional pictures of many things, including eulalia, and introducing us to the best yellow corvina restaurant on the island, smiling all the way. Thanks men.

Navarone Cliffs. The name originates from the 1961 British-American war film, “The Guns of Navarone,” according to the Olle sign. Unfortunately, the whole picturesque expanse of the cliffs can only be seen in the distance from a ship.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Lighthouse has stellar views. Looking out from the southern portion of Upper Chujado to Lower Chujado is the best spot on the island. And that’s saying a lot, because this collection of islands is not a one-trick (ganse) pony concerning its scenery.

Ajeossi. Ironically, I was awoken at 3 a.m., by an older Korean man (ajeossi) when sleeping the night away in a gazebo in the heart of town. He yelled, “Ajeossi!” about a meter from my face. That did it. I rolled over.

Oct. 4, 2011

The Journey
These are the top 19 sites in sequential order for Day 28: bridge connecting Hachujado and Sangchujado - peak, Olle reference point - Mukri, Olle crossroads - Sinyang, close to harbor - peak, Olle reference point - Hwang-gyeong-heon-myo - rock beach (not Mojini) - island lookout - Yecho - Eom-rock guardian angel - Dondaesan, base - Dondaesan, peak - Mukri, Olle crossroads - reservoir - Dondaesan, opposite base - bridge connecting Hachujado and Sangchujado - Chujado dock, Olle Course No. 18-1 start and finish - Jeju City dock - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office

market -- 4,900
PC room -- 7,000
ferry ticket, Chujado to Jeju City -- 12,500
Total -- 24,400 won

1.5 liters Pocari Sweat, 2 sandwiches, a lot of hard tack, 1 Vitamin C tablet, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 28

Rock guardian. There are many stories regarding Chujado, most notably about Hwang Kyeong Hun and why nobody from the Oh and Hwang families can marry each other. For more information, please read "Walk Chujado." I stumbled across the site for why people from the villages of Yechori and Hoenggando do not tie the knot with each other. At the Eom-Rock Guardian Angel statue (in Yechori), according to the sign, a strong man named Eokbaljangsa lived on the rock Eom. He played Korean marbles with five rocks near the sea. One day, he slipped and died when trying to jump to the island of Hoenggan. No marriages happen between the villages because the bride “fears becoming a widow early in her marriage.” So, “one day a villager carved a wooden guardian angel.” People play the geolgung, a Korean traditional instrument, and pray for their wishes at this spot every year.

▲ The bridge linking Upper and Lower Chuja Island. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Dondaesan. It’s Chujado’s highest peak and, again, another spot not to miss. This is the only oreum or mountain I have seen where the towers are hidden from the peak’s view. At most peaks where towers are constructed, the steel destroys the view. At Dondaesan’s top, a 360-view awaits and the view of the dishes are 100 percent obstructed, off the side and away. Plenty of benches and a roofed, gathering place with lights, too, are available on top.

Quick gripes. As Olle had to cut a few paths on the Chujado course, there remains many small stumps directly in the middle of the path (and also on the newest course, No. 19). I can imagine I am not the first person to repeatedly trip their way through certain portions. Removing the stumps may be the most difficult solution. Yet, covering them with some small rocks and dirt in the form of a gradual mound while future hikers pack that in, would prevent future blunders. Finally, it is on the not-to-do list for Olle hikers. For the first and last time, hollering from the top of any oreum is just not cool. It’s plain annoying. I wonder where this Korean tradition started? I hope it does not come from the scene in the “Titantic” where a certain actor says he’s king of the world.

This is the end of Part 1. Chujado marks the last part of the Olle thru-hike. Twenty four-course segments finished in 30 days (which included two rest days).

What’s next? Six days to rest and write the Olle course ratings as well as two stories. Next Wednesday, early morning, I will start Part 2, most likely 12 straight days covering Hallasan’s five courses and additional base route. Also, the long course that links Jeolmul and Bijarim national recreational forests, with as many other forests and oreums I find along the way.

Oct. 5, 2011

▲ Arranging nets at Chuja Harbor. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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