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East meets west: Darangshi and Saebyeol oreums are admirable opposites[Jeju's Trails] Days 40 and 41 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.10.28  11:23:07
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▲ 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 16 sites in sequential order for Day 40: Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office - Aggeun Darangshi Oreum, base - Aggeun Darangshi Oreum, peak 1 - Aggeun Darangshi Oreum, peak 2 - Aggeun Darangshi Oreum, base - Darangshi Oreum, base - Darangshi Oreum, peak 1 - Darangshi Oreum, peak 2 - Darangshi Oreum, base - Yongnuni Oreum, secondary base - Yongnuni Oreum, peak 1 - Yongnuni Oreum, peak 2 - Yongnuni Oreum, peak 3 - Yongnuni Oreum, main base - Yongnuni Oreum, secondary base - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office


View The Jeju Weekly's Hike Jeju 2011 in a larger map
Spent
mart -- 4,680
gas for scooter -- 8,000
gas for scooter -- 6,000
hof -- 16,000
jimjilbang -- 9,000
Total -- 43,680 won

Consumed
10 bananas, a lot of hard tack, full meat dinner with Korean sides, ample amounts of soju, beer and snacks, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 40
Darangshi Oreum. I’ve always been an East Sider. Darangshi Oreum is Jeju’s representative eastern oreum. It’s close to Bijarim Forest equidistant from roads 1112 and 1136. After three years of constantly glimpsing it as a backdrop before and after every workday at Sehwa High School, I made it to its top and accompanying Aggeun Darangshi Oreum. First things first. There is a visitor center here. Check it out. The building is small and there’s little or no English, but its presentation of exhibits is good and it has two incredible hardback books about Jeju’s natural wonders a person can sit and page through, as well. Second, ascend Aggeun Darangshi Oreum first. It’s Darangshi’s little sibling, directly across the parking lot. It will take maybe 45 minutes to climb up, loop around and descend. Third, Darangshi is a fatiguing and inspiring walk up, and then circling (to 381 meters at the tip) and back down. Maybe two hours total, for a slow walk. The oreum is massive at 3.4 kms in circumference. Even with 30 people on it, a person feels alone. Also called Wolangbong, Darangshi Oreum’s crater looks like a funnel and is 110 meters in depth and has cedar, cypress and black pines growing inside. Also according to the sign, on the oreum is Darangshi Cave, where 11 people were killed during the April 3rd Massacre (1948) and later found. Come early and often to this Jeju spot. I will be an East Sider for life.

Rude awakening. At the top, the circumference walk is not exactly even as there is elevation gain toward the eastern portion. Halfway up, I took a snooze on a generously offered wood platform. Half in and half out of a dreamlike trance I heard and understood the oft spoken word of “foreigner” from a passing group of Koreans. Not worrying, one man walked on the platform and started stomping on it speaking Korean loudly, very close to my head. I ignored the shenanigans. Expectantly rude and routine at best; annoying at worst. I did ask myself, many times, why is a person like that climbing an oreum for? Ah, I (always) forget, he looked so cool in front of the people he was with. Image is everything.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Immediate oreum concern. With oreum becoming ever more popular with Korean ttuh-ray-king (trekking), the first immediate concern is all the side footpaths that are cut on many of the popular courses which scar the oreum indefinitely. There were several illegitimate paths heading down into Darangshi’s Crater. I’ve been up and down a few oreum that are advertised as (go up and down me) by a government sign, but no overlaying path or steps or rocks, just eroding dirt. Those oreum will not last long. The site of those steps will, however.

Yongnuni Oreum. Within sight of Darangshi is Yongnuni Oreum. A great find. There’s two entrances. Both have the Jeju government sign posted at both spots. I took the backdoor route and walked all the way around counterclockwise. At sunset, when I found this treeless place, seems best with Mt. Halla and many other peaks playing in the background. Its presentation is simple. One circle walkway, about 45 minutes worth. Many, many cameras find their way to this place, also off road 1136. No English interpretation anywhere.

Odeng Monster. At dinner with a few coworkers this night, one tousled man piped up and said when he lived in Seogwipo, he was given the nickname “Odeng Monster” for his propensity to eat, savor, and continually think about more odeng on a stick. I agree. Odeng and bananas are my hiking fuel. Raise a glass for all the processed-fish-parts-coagulated-then-stabbed-on-a-stick-and-pulled-from-a-cooking-hot-broth-to-be-dipped-in-soy-sauce-sometimes-with-slivers-of-green-peppers lovers out there. Odeng’s tasty, but it begs the question, how is it exactly made and from what?

Date
Oct. 26, 2011

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

Day 41: The Journey
These are the top 24 sites in sequential order for Day 41: Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office - Saebyeol Oreum, base - Saebyeol Oreum, peak 1 - Saebyeol Oreum, peak 2 - Saebyeol Oreum, field - Idalbong, base - Idalbong, peak - Idalbong, opposite base / Idalichotdaebong, base - Idalichotdaebong, peak - Idalichotdaebong, opposite base - Saebyeol Oreum, base - Chongmul Oreum, base / Chongmul Al Oreum, base - Chongmul Oreum, peak - Chongmul Oreum, base / Chongmul Al Oreum, base - Geum Oreum, base - Geum Oreum, path reference point 1 - Geum Oreum, path reference point 2 - Geum Oreum, peak 1 - Geum Oreum, peak 2 - Geum Oreum, base - Gaetgori Oreum, base 1 - Gaetgori Oreum, peak 1 - Gaetgori Oreum, base 2 - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office


View The Jeju Weekly's Hike Jeju 2011 in a larger map
Spent
mart -- 5,180
jimjilbang -- 8,000
Total -- 13,180 won

Consumed
15 bananas, a lot of hard tack, 4 coffees, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 41
Three-for-one oreum. Always a good sign to start the day when on approach another type of sign tells there is a course that figure 8s to the tip of three oreum. So it happened when finding the entrance of Saebyeol Oreum, on the western portion of Jeju off road 1135, known more prominently as the site for its annual Jeongwol Daeboreum Fire Festival. Make sure to find the actual Jeju endorsed sign for the entrance rather than the other handful of paths to the top. The course goes its way to Saebyeol’s, Idalbong’s and Idalichotdaebong’s peaks within two hours. It’s a bit of a chore opening and closing two cattle doors and trying to locate and stay on the designated trails, and dealing with the loafy cows. The views are all grand of wide graveyards, dense eulalia and jutting rocks, providing lengthy stretches of reflection. There is a feeling before getting there and leaving the concrete areas that the carnival has packed up and left town. Obviously, this oreum has been trampled to death and there are extra paths all over. It is still endearing. Saebyeol Oreum has a western facing horse-shoe shaped crater, and maxes out at 519 meters. According to the sign, “General Choi Young, camped on this oreum and suppressed a rebellion in the era of Koryo (918-1392).” And, apparently, the oreum looks like a morning star, so it was originally named Hyosongak or Shinsongak.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Two-for-one oreum. Not bad. Another oreum with actually two and one circle path. Chongmul (meaning twin fountains) and Chongmul Al oreums occupy a horseshoe-shaped path up and around to see the open crater. Close to Saebyeol off 1115, Chongmul and its junior, located on the western side, provide a fast way (30 to 45 minutes) to see a view at 469 meters. Sanbangsan always looks distinct, almost menacing, in the distance. This place is no different for that. According to the on-site sign, “The field located in the east of this oreum was used as a ranch. It is said this is a propitious site for a grave. Legend tells us that a faithful dog found a grave site here for its master.”

Win, place and show oreum. I looked at three more oreum before the sun died. First (win), and most impressive was the 428-metered peak of Geum Oreum, close to Chongmul, that has a 2-km path up and then another 1.5-km path circling the top looking always out and inside at the (dry, this day) lake. Impressive display for the path as a walker does not have to repeat any steps. What is terrible is that a vehicle can access the top via a paved, albeit steep road. Despite this and it being the home of some large towers, it is probably the best damaged oreum to date. Second (place) goes to Gaetgori Oreum, which is an easy 69 meters in rise. It is tricky to understand, in that its base does not provide access to the trail. One has to luckily ascend the parallel road and find either one of two unmarked access points. Once on the trail, it is well trodden, tightly weaving between grave site and shrubbery, with farmland in the distance. No other useful information was provided on this oreum. Last (show), is Soenso Oreum, across from Gaetgori. There are gates in one spot and barbed wire in another. With no sign, I passed for good reason. For sure, for show only.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Planning. Faced with a lot of oreum to find and climb in more than two weeks, I have planned to first focus on all the public oreum that are listed on my master list. I really am interested in the ones with Jeju government-endorsed signs first. Second, are the oreum with the big thick slabs of rock with etched information both in Korean and English. Any others with no real paths or signs or access is not of importance to me. Another question is how many each day are possible? I knocked out seven today with a late morning start.

Geomun Oreum, you are next. I was firmly rejected a few days ago as a walk-in to Geomun Oreum. No amount of cajoling worked. First playing the role as an international traveler only here for one more day, second as a helpless foreigner. I soon made a reservation for Saturday at 9 in the morning (only 300 people are allowed each day, with staggered times between 9 a.m., and noon). The lady even checked my shoes to see if I was legit. I have a feeling this could be the best oreum experience of which Jeju Island can provide. Wait and see.

Date
Oct. 27, 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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