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Take the island's highest route to find a treasure[Jeju's Trails] Day 44 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.11.02  15:50:51
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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 23 sites in sequential order for Day 44: Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office - Ansyemi Oreum, base 1 - Ansyemi Oreum, peak - Ansyemi Oreum, base 2 / Batsyemi Oreum, base - Batsyemi Oreum, peak - Ansyemi Oreum, base 1 - Yeolanji Oreum, base - Yeolanji Oreum, peak - Yeolanji Oreum, base - Roe Deer Observation Center, parking lot - Geochin Oreum, base - Geochin Oreum, reference point 1 - Geochin Oreum, trail peak - Geochin Oreum, reference point 2 - Roe Deer Observation Center, parking lot - Noru Oreum, base - Noru Oreum, peak - Noru Oreum, base - Jeju 1100 Altitude Wetland, parking lot - Jeju 1100 Altitude Wetland, trail start and finish - Samhyeongjekeun Oreum, peak - Jeju 1100 Altitude Wetland, parking lot - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office


View The Jeju Weekly's Hike Jeju 2011 in a larger map
Spent
gas for scooter -- 6,000
roadside stand -- 4,000
PC room -- 6,500
GS-25 -- 2,000
jimjilbang -- 12,000
Total -- 30,500 won

Consumed
12 odeng on a stick, a lot of hard tack, a little peanut butter, 2 gimbaps, 1 small soda, 1 small coffee, 355ml Coca-Cola, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 44
This day... I saw a white rabbit, the Roe Observation Deer Center (only to get to Geochin Oreum), the 1100 Altitude Wetland, and six total oreum, four of which are clustered south of Jeju City around Jeolmul Recreation Forest. I am still feverishly researching and trying to locate Jeju’s best remaining oreum. There seems to be a few more to climb on the eastern portion of the island, as well as hidden ones around Jeju City and Seogwipo. I will go east, once again, tomorrow for Abu and other volcanic cones. Stay tuned.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Fences. I have been encountering many fences around oreum. I am used to fences back home in the Appalachian Mountains meaning keep out. There, if a person enters, that is probably trespassing, punishable by getting to see an owner holding a shotgun. On Jeju, things are not so. While my personal experiences are at the back of my mind, some island’s fences are really saying, come in, and just remember to close the gate by wrapping the wire around the pole as to not let the livestock out. Others, where there are new barbs just created and tied, and then, presumably, someone else cuts the bottom portion out allowing easy access, makes me wonder.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

The highlight first. This was my second wetland in as many days. The 1100 Altitude Wetland, located at the highest elevation a vehicle can technically reach on Jeju on road 1139 or the Gosangdon-ro (see below), is on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Read this Jeju Weekly article for more. There are four Ramsar sites on Jeju. Three are accessible (Mulyeongari Oreum, 31 hectares, listed Oct. 18, 2006; 1100 Altitude Wetland, 13 ha., listed Oct. 12, 2009; Dongbaekdongsan, 59 ha., listed March 14, 2011), and one is not (Muljangori Oreum, 63 ha., listed Oct. 8, 2008). … I have been here a few times before. On my first trip, a co-worker told me this is where young Korean lovers go. For me, I love the nature here sans any silly people. The nature discovery trail is short, maybe a one kilometer wooden path, and creatively weaves around the area. Learn about in English what alpine flowers, shrubs and insects are possible to view, as well as the importance of lichen.

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

Samhyeongjekeun and the first Korean to ascend Mt. Everest... was Jeju native Go Sang Don on Sept. 15, 1977. In February of 2010, “this section of road is the highest altitude road in the province” was so named in his honor, according to the sign … Samhyeongjekeun Oreum is easily accessible a few minutes from the 1100 Altitude Wetland parking lot and Mr. Go’s statue. I am a bit ashamed to claim, so far, the shortest and least insignificant oreum to the list, but as I wrote before, they are fast becoming far and few between and the goal is 150. It also gives me reason to believe, thus I know, there are more lesser oreum than greater oreum. It took about 10 minutes and at top it is heavily fortified with towers inside fences, and barking guard dogs. To the mutt that would not stop yelping, I’m just climbing oreum.

▲ Jeju Islander Go Sang Don, the first Korean to summit Mt. Everest. Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser


Ansyemi Oreum. Is off the same road as Jeolmul Recreation Forest, and north a few kilometers. There’s a large gathering spot with benches, a small pond, and a manicured area. I support any alternative view of Jeju City. This is a secret place to sneak a new peak of the island’s biggest urban area. The rubber mats lead a person to the top and deposits a person down to the second base. Another oreum awaits, Batsyemi, cross a very small concrete road, look for some colored ribbons and get muddy on the rise up. If geographically solo, I find nothing positive about heading up Batsyemi. No real trail, signs or relative views. However, in many ways it is a continuation of Ansyemi. Once backtracking to the base, a hiker can walk the curvy road to Ansyemi’s originating spot.

Completing the trilogy. I’m not sure why I went up Yeolanji Oreum. It’s maybe 30 seconds down a secondary road off an already secondary road of Ansyemi. I found a parking space and a newly crafted barbed-wire fence. Yet there was a hole cut. I justified the ribbons inside the course as a subliminal message speaking, “Walk me.” I did. On the descent, I lost my way, overshot the base, hopped an overgrown fence into a bed of eulalia and soft ground brush. Scratches everywhere, I staggered through a farmer’s field, and on the road to find the scooter and get the hell outta of dodge.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser


▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Tetralogy averted. There is reasoning behind my locating oreum (I will write about it in the future). Near this group of three oreum, I found another across the street. And, bingo, the street sign read chioreum. That was a positive sign. I wasted a lot of time, finding a base, getting on a trail and turning back when the trail disappeared. Bushwhacker no more. Absolutely no point. At all six oreum today, there was no English, and only a government sign at three (Ansyemi, Goechin and Noru).

What is going on at the Roe Deer Observation Center? There’s maximum-security, prison-grade barbed wire rolled on the top of the fence here and gated. Huh? For deer? I had to go through some fortified doors to access Geochin Oreum. After exiting the enclosed area, I saw the white rabbit. A sign? All I know is I have hundreds of spots on Jeju I can recommend to see roe deer. This would not be one of them. Geochin Oreum has a wood walkway all the way around, at least three observation spots are all positively placed here. At one, see Mt. Halla, the other, Jeolmul, and another overlooks the April 3rd Peace Park. The two workers at the roe deer center’s entrance were happy to direct me to Geochin.

Noru Oreum. I am guessing this is named for Mt. Halla’s deer. This is at the intersection of roads 1139 and 1117, just west of Gwaneumsa. There’s a small cutoff road, that leads to a base. If you take the road all the way, it sadly leads to the top. The trail is, once again, quite a theme these days, steep and muddy. Ten or 15 minutes is all it takes one way. From the road and from the peak, it looks higher than it actually is. The walk is relatively painless.

More oreum ramblings. One thing I never raved about was the Olle Passport. A person can pick up a new one at a trail office or the airport and get it stamped at many points along every trail they do, most likely at the starting or finishing points. I had no interest since I have other proof of my walking. Now, I sort of think oreum will have an increased presence for the future Jeju hiking experience. Why not the Oreum Passport with accompanying map? This does two things. It solidifies which oreum are actually acceptable to climb and tells people all others are off limits. I see a lot of evidence of people doing anything to get to the top (of a few oreums I otherwise have zero interest in), or peaks to as many as possible. I have heard claims a person has done them all. That has no value. Shamelessly narcissistic. … I have so many questions about how oreum are administered. I am thinking this is all a bit in the discovery stage. Providing tourists with information about the best 50 or 75 or 100 or so oreum accessible to climb will keep them coming back. Once a person goes up Darangshi or Saebyeol or Mulyeongari or Wondangbong or Jejigi, they will want to climb more. I am already itching to get to Abu tomorrow. I just wish it did not take me hours of research to figure this out. Plenty more is coming.

Date
Oct. 31, 2011
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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