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New Hallasan base trail, Dullaegil, is the start of something special[Jeju's Trails] Day 32 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.10.22  14:26:22
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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.

The Journey
These are the top 15 sites in sequential order for Day 32: Yeongsil course, Jonjaam (temple) - road 1139, turnoff for Yeongsil course - Seogwipo Recreation Forest, entrance - Seogwipo Recreation Forest, mountain shelter - Seogwipo Recreation Forest, Beopjungak Oreum, peak - Seogwipo Recreation Forest, exit - road 1139, turnoff for Beopjeongsa temple and Dullaegil course - Dullaegil course, start - Dullaegil course, river crossing - Dullaegil course, third stretch - Dullaegil course, Si Oreum, base - Dullaegil course, Si Oreum, peak - Dullaegil course, finish - road 1115, turnoff for Dullaegil course - Sol Oreum, base


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Spent
Seogwipo Recreation Forest admission -- 1,000
roadside stand -- 7,000
taxi (Sol Oreum to Seogwipo) -- 5,800
sauna -- 4,000
King Mart -- 2,150
PC room -- 16,000
Total -- 35,950 won

Consumed
12 bananas, 11 odeng on a stick, 2 bags potato chips, 1 cup noodles, 1 package choco Diget, 1 small soda, 4 small cold coffees, 4 small hot coffees, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 32
Seogwipo Recreation Forest, Part 1: A morning in the park. It starts out with a wooden walkway called the Ecology Observation Path, turns into the vehicle (and walking) circuit route and climaxes at the Beopjeongak Oreum path to the top. For 1,000 won, a person can comfortably walk all the trails in about three hours. There seems to be not many people, at all times. There are massively (for the size) developed facilities with a forest recreation hall (six buildings with 20 rooms) and an outdoor seminar hall. Don’t miss the shiitake mushroom plantation, which is why all the long thick tree segments are leaning against each other. Perhaps, all told, there is 10 kilometers of trails in this interesting area. Well managed with plenty of campground space. Per night, one site is 2,000, and a camping deck is 4,000. Basically, there is nothing in English within this area, but the nature here is worth the tradeoff.

Seogwipo Recreation Forest, Part 2: Beopjeongak’s interesting view. Beopjeongak Oreum is a healthy climb with a rope guiding the way. Most of the plants and trees are labeled - as they are in many other parts of the park, especially on the Ecology Observation Path - all the way until the terminus. Surprisingly, as the park was near empty early Sunday morning, a hiking group of about 20 middle-aged Korean women were descending. I heard them quite a long distance away, and thought a youth group had scaled up early. The views look south to Seogwipo, as well as east (and west) out to the national park.

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

Dullaegil, Part 1: No Expectations. That did not matter. The end result was solidified as precious metal memorable. I have now rethought about the ambitious plan for there to be 500 kilometers of trails inside Hallasan National Park spider webbing around and spurring. If done right, this will be real special. (See below.)

Dullaegil, Part 2: Starts at Beopjeongsa Temple. The trail begins a few kilometers south of Seogwipo Recreation Forest off route 1139. There are no warning signs and it is all in Korean on a wooden sign reading (Romanized as) Hallasan Dullaegil. But, it is also with and next to the translated sign for Beopjeongsa Temple. A person on foot has to walk an additional three or so kilometers to get to the start. A hiker can also get a history lesson concerning the anti-Japanese Movement in 1918 at the site as well. I rate Hallasan Dullaegil as unassuming and classy because of its ...

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Dullaegil, Part 3: National park feel. Rightly so, national parks should be held to a higher standard than any other regular hiking trail. (I’m a big supporter, follower and user of the U.S. National Park Service, and live directly off the Appalachian Trail.) I felt everything positive toward Hallasan Dullaegil - its cleanliness, design and impressive natural sites it weaves a trekker through as being inside a national park, regardless of a country’s borders. When it is well maintained, this may be the next big thing for Hallasan, maybe a 2012 (or later) hit tourism product national trend award.

Dullaegil, Part 4: Learn about... a colony of camellia, a charcoal kiln (sutgamateo), and Si Oreum 4.3 station. Camellia bloom around November through April, the sign states. And, distributed for about 20 kms on the southern slope of Hallasan at 700 meters and above around Seogwipo Recreation Forest, Si Oreum and others; this represents the largest area in the nation. … Sutgamateo is a circular stone mound where heating briquettes were manufactured around the mountain from the 1940s through the 1970s. The structure has “a diameter of seven meters, and a height of 1.2 meters. A chimney on top is 1.2 centimeters, and fuel intake is 30 to 60 centimeters. [Two to three people work together in the process, which eventually nets charcoal for wintertime wood heating.] … The triangular rock fortressed 4.3 station at Si Oreum was one of 25 installed “at every major point of Halla Mountain jungle and Jungsangan Village until subjugation of armed units remained in Mt. Halla completed in 1954.”

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Dullaegil, Part 5: Si Oreum. There is no designed or planned path to the summit. It is foot worn, and if nothing is done, will be subjected to serious erosion problems in the not-too-distant future. It is almost impossible not to slip slide down half of the path. The view is worth a picture. The damage is not. This is near the end of the trail on road 1115. Once here, it is a long haul on foot to Donnaeko, maybe another hour plus, heading east. Same goes for bearing west. Planning needs to be considered. While the actual trail is only nine kilometers, add another three from the start of road 1139, and three more at the finishing concrete to reach 1115 and yet another five to seven to reach a 5,000 won or less taxi to Seogwipo. I don’t think a rural bus is even within closer reach of a lucky taxi find. I made it to Sol Oreum and waited for at least 45 minutes for one to pass at twilight. The lesson here: This nine-kilometer Dullaegil trail, can easily turn into 20 kms, if all done on foot, as was the case with me.

No wild animals spotted. In the back of my mind, I thought they will come. This trail would be able to show me an actual animal all the signs and displays and exhibitions I have seen concerning Hallasan and Jeju in the last three years have been talking about. Not true. I am not talking about birds, insects, small lizards, harmless snakes or the sullen looking roe deer that often resemble, respond and reflex as if lazy, old dogs. Where are the Jeju minks? The badgers? The boars? These dangerous, big snakes? Squirrels? Perhaps they are all an illusion and only exist in the minds of those who created the information. Shut out once again. My theory is there are no wild animals within a certain metered radius area of any hiking trail on the entire island. The constant barrage of colors, cackling, loud group movements, audible pop music and hurried stepped and walking stick prodded area sadly shoos all wildlife away 24-hours-convenience-store style for those looking for a more natural experience. Oh, well. I know I am safe, and don’t think twice, when I lay my head down in the forest most nights.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

More or less trails? Two ideas emerge. When there are 500-plus more kilometers of trails opened up (within the year, I was told), it could dilute or oversaturate, as stated before, all other trails’ importance. People may shy away from OIle and less support may mean diminished maintenance. This could be competition for the worse. Or, on the flip, Hallasan’s trails, if created correctly, could push Olle to get even better and cleaner and more desirable and increase the island’s tourism draw for mainland hikers. Yet, these ideas may mix and could turn into a double-edged sword. All told, I still firmly believe, an increase in international hiking will be decades away.

On to Donnaeko. This is the last major trail to tackle within park boundaries. Unlike the others, I have never been here before, but I feel I will be enlightened, once again, in Hallasan National Park.

Date
Oct. 16, 2011

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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