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Positively weaving through Bijarim Forest, Sangumburi Crater, Dot and Dang oreums[Jeju's Trails] Day 39 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.10.26  10:10:29
페이스북 트위터

▲ Photo 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 20 sites in sequential order for Day 39: Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office - Bijarim Forest, entrance / exit - Bijarim Forest, path crossroads - Bijarim Forest, “New Millenium Nutmeg” - Bijarim Forest, entrance / exit - Dot Oreum, entrance / exit - Dot Oreum, peak 1 - Dot Oreum, peak 2 - Dot Oreum, bottom walking path, point 1 - Dot Oreum, bottom walking path, point 2 - Dot Oreum, entrance / exit - Dang Oreum, base - Dang Oreum, Songdang Bonhyangdang Shrine - Dang Oreum, peak - Dang Oreum, base - Sangumburi Crater, entrance / exit - Sangumburi Crater, peak 1 - Sangumburi Crater, peak 2 - Sangumburi Crater, entrance / exit - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office

View The Jeju Weekly's Hike Jeju 2011 in a larger map
Bijarim Forest admission -- 1,500
Sangumburi Crater admission -- 3,000
7-Eleven -- 10,800
jimjilbang -- 8,000
Total -- 23,300 won

full chicken dinner with Korean sides, a lot of hard tack, a little peanut butter, orange juice, Vitamin C tablets, ample amounts of soju, coffee, beer and snacks, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 39
Bijarim Forest, Part 1: Another contender. The sites are seemingly endless on Jeju. This is another gotta-go-to destination. For 1,500 won, enter the forest world of nutmegs and more than 100 other species of trees and walk about five or so roundtrip kilometers of trails at the national monument site, home to 2,780 trees. Just off road 1112, close to Sehwa on the eastern portion of the island, this place is green and 100 percent, perfectly maintained. I thought there were too many people for my liking, but that attests to its attraction.

Bijarim Forest, Part 2: The New Millenium Nutmeg. Nutmegs? I’ve gotten really excited before for behemoth sequoias and redwoods, strange petrified wood, Joshua trees and dogwoods, among hundreds of other types of foliage. When I read (before actually witnessing) I was going to see the 824-year-old nutmeg, the oldest tree in Korea and the oldest evergreen on the island, that tinge of intrigue was there; however, it slowly deflated upon arrival. And, not to denigrate the New Millenium Nutmeg. Sure, it’s great. I enjoyed every second in Bijarim Forest and recommend every person to mill around at least once. But, it’s an old tree, one among millions around the world. … According to the sign, the tree is 14 meters in height, the trunk is six meters in circumference and the canopy is 15 meters in diameter. It goes optimistically on forever because, as the pamphlet states it is “witness to the indomitable spirit of our ancestors in overcoming hardships imposed by the environment and isolation … the spiritual power of this tree will bring us happiness, glory, prosperity and health.”

Bijarim Forest, Part 3: What is nutmeg? As a wood, it makes for decent and strong furniture including the board of the Korean game baduk. The fruit is used as a pharmaceutical, according to the English brochure. It’s seed? Well, of course, everything being positive, it is billed as, in ancient books, “good for strengthening eye-sight, for vitality and a long life.” It’s the cure-all, accordingly so, eliminates cholesterol, alleviates back pains, regulates kidney function, reduces coughing, strengthens activity of the lungs, helps digestion, prevents hemorrhoids, loss of hair and intestinal parasites. Wow!

Bijarim Forest, Part 4: Campground. You can camp here and a ropes course is sprawled out. There’s space for 1,500 people. It seemed a bit overgrown and maybe seen better days. However, surprisingly, according to the sign, “the area gained prominence in 1993, when it hosted the Girl Scouts’ 6th World Camping Festival with 1,500 scouts from 13 countries.”

Dot Oreum. Immediately east of Bijarim Forest is Dot (pronounced “dote”) Oreum. At 287 meters, there are two hours of walking trails available, both at the peak which wraps around its circumference and at the base there is a separate and long circle trail. I saw two people. Even better. Views are spectacular at top with a perfectly placed oreum map explaining what the eyes gaze on yonder at the peak. It’s amazing how windy it becomes at any oreum’s top.

Dang Oreum. Wanting to climb as many as humanly possible in a short amount of time, this is the dream oreum, in other words, the lazy man’s oreum. In Songdang, the walking course totals 1.36 kilometers and only elevates 69 meters. The on-site sign reads: “It has a horse-shoe shaped crater which [is] paved toward the north. There are some cryptomeria and black pines on the front slope.” I found this place as I was trying to recycle my empty, plastic Skippy peanut butter jar in a bin. I looked across the street and saw a small oreum course sign and that’s all she wrote. Pure luck.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Why go to Dang Oreum? For the shaman shrine. I saw a man beating a drum and chanting, while two others, possibly not affiliated with him, were bowing intermittently as colorful flags hung from the nearby tree. This is called the Songdang Bonhyangdang Shrine and it “governs every kind of production, events and birth and death registration” of the villagers. It further goes into the family history and important celebratory dates. Also, according the placard, the exorcism of this shrine was designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset of Jeju Province in 1986 and the shrine as a Folk Material in 2005.

Sangumburi Part 1: Waves of eulalia for thousands. The bus loads love this place. So does every maker of digital cameras of which Koreans consume. This massive crater, viewed after walking for maybe 20 minutes on a wide, wide pathway with hundreds of other people in unison, is “wider and deeper than Baenokdam, at the summit of Mt. Halla.” There’s literally millions of eulalia flying in the breeze at every turn not actually inside the crater. Inside the crater is alive and protected by wood fences and warning signs. Find 450 species of plants and many mammals in the forbidden space. Sheer beauty. This place is heavy with facilities. The admission fee is 3,000 won. I must say, although an English guide is always appreciated at any site on Jeju, at Sangumburi, it was disappointing. Everything else at the place was not. Facing the crater, a person can walk left, hop over a large boulder and walk for a long time, between eulalia fields and wide green, open spaces, all within view of the crater.

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

Sangumburi Part 2: Details. The aerial pictures are amazing of this place. The crater is a unique secondary volcano, which “erupted from the bottom without forming a cone. With no lava flow or volcanic ash, it is the only example of the Maar volcano type” on the island.

Half days. Surviving. The weather turned to winter today. The newspaper office is still kicking. And, I’m still pounding away the footsteps on the island, which means, too, the keyboard keys.

Oct. 25, 2011

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