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Gujwa provides the top cluster selection for oreum[Jeju's Trails] Day 45 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.11.03  15:46:16
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▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

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The Journey
These are the top 36 sites in sequential order for Day 45: Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office - Baekyaki Oreum, base - Baekyaki Oreum, peak 1 - Baekyaki Oreum, peak 2 - Baekyaki Oreum, peak 3 - Baekyaki Oreum, base - Abu, base 1 - Abu, peak 1 - Abu, peak 2 - Abu, peak 3 - Abu, road base 2 - Abu, base 1 - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, base - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, peak 1 - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, peak 2 - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, peak 3 - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, valley - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, peak 4 - Geomi Oreum / Munseoki Oreum, base - Gungdaeak, base - Gungdaeak, peak 1 - Gungdaeak, peak 2 - Gungdaeak, peak 3 - Gungdaeak, base - Hugukak, base - Hugukak, peak 1 - Hugukak, peak 2 - Hugukak, trail end - Hugukak, base - Namgeobong, base - Namgeobong, peak - Namgeobong, base - Sosusanbong, base - Sosusanbong, peak - Sosusanbong, base - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office

View The Jeju Weekly's Hike Jeju 2011 in a larger map
mart -- 6,480
oil change for scooter -- 7,000
gas for scooter -- 6,000
gas for scooter -- 9,000
GS-25 -- 2,900
jimjilbang -- 11,000
Total -- 42,380 won

10 bananas, 2 pieces bread, a lot of hard tack, a little peanut butter, 6 hot teas, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 45
This day... I have decided the eastern portion of Jeju (about 10 kilometers) from Geomun to Darangshi oreum and points south (another 10 kilometers or so) - mainly in Gujwa - have the best cluster of oreum, at least 15 publicly accessible, on the island. If adventurous to seek out private ones, that number can triple. I finished eight oreum today, seven were within this cluster belt. Nowhere else on the island can rival or even think about comparing to what the eastern group has: sheer joy. It fits all oreum fancies and fetishes.

Baekyaki Oreum. I was unaware I was here, until after climbing and holding out my topographic map to a newly arrived Korean couple in the parking lot. I thought I was at Abu Oreum, but no, the first spot of the day was Baekyaki Oreum, on a connection road between routes 1112 and 1119. If you want to see the best of Jeju’s oreum, become familiar with this road. Baekyaki has a large crater in the middle with no signs or feeling where a person is. Once at top, it’s a long 30-minute walk around the edge. Baekyaki is much like New Orleans is to a first time guest, seemingly like Disneyland, but real. So real, no improvements need to be made, even if the course is a bit run down. A great start to the day.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

My father, my father, he liked me. Abu Oreum (just north of Baekyaki Oreum), also has a crater. This one is filled with a mysterious circle of tall pines, and is quite smaller in magnitude than Baekyaki. Abu’s overall height is 301 meters and rises 51 meters. There’s also a trail around and another path goes up and down the backside starting from a farm road. According to the on-site sign: “The top of this oreum is in hallows which looks like father seating in the room from which the other name of this oreum ‘Abu (meaning father)-crater’ originated.” It is also called Ap, meaning front. It seems Abu receives a lot more attention and is photographed and talked about much more (in English, at least) than Baekyaki. This should not be the case. Baekyaki is more impressive. However, ...

The best place to be? My pick, and don’t tell anybody, also goes by the name of Donggeomun Oreum. There’s two peaks at Geomi and Munseoki oreums. It is literally across the street from Baekyaki. If a person were to ask me, “What is your favorite oreum (so far) on Jeju?” My response would be, “The entire area of Donggeomun.” Get lost within the jagged and cragged landscape of this enormous multi-expansive graveyard. Four peaks are accessible and hold a multitude of possible fascinating snapshots. At the peak, the valley drops dramatically. Feel alone, the only one in the world. Small hues of purple dominate throughout. In the distance, at every turn, reveal the island’s other oreum, in a new light. Go on a weekday, for sure there will be no one else. Use the footpaths and the old, covered up rubber mats at certain portions on the trails. Spend at least three hours going to each peak. Perhaps on the last one, you will find ...

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Grave robbers, an exhumation, ascension? This I consider to be a startling experience. Seeing the mound hollowed out, no doubt where the body used to be, is unnerving. I saw this at the last peak. Out of the thousands of mounds on Jeju, this one I will always remember.

Gundaeak and the Susan eco-village trails. Heading south from the incredible first four oreum, a person finds Gundaeak on the east and Hugukak to the west. Both are part of the Susan eco-village trails, which has 20 trails, each varying between seven to 50 minutes in walking length. I imagine these two oreum paths have just been cut, seeing all the newly lumbered wood and freshly shellacked and positively smelling wood stairs and railings and benches on both parts of these trails. Gundaeak is rather low to the ground, but the forest walk is thick and easy on the feet.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

New cuts at Hugukak. The same goes for Hugukak, across the street from Gundaeak. Also, relatively flat, only rising 36 meters. It takes about 40 or 50 minutes roundtrip to see all of Hugukak. And, as with Gundaeak, the forest is dense. A good observation point near the end looks down upon two water basins and a solar panel field.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

A short, powerful view at Namgeobong. The last stop in Susan is a must at Namgeobong. There’s a distinct observation tower here. And, for the first time, manned. He questioned me, and I said, oreum, pulling out my map. He rattled off every oreum within sight of our 360-degree view. I was thankful. Even though he could not speak a lick of English (save “small”), we communicated the language of oreum.

Sosusanbong in Seongsan. There’s a graveyard oreum roughly between Seongsan Sunrise Peak and Seopjikoji. It’s small, but easily identifiable as an oreum because it’s the only hill rising above the flat surroundings. I went up, and unfortunately, there are zero views, and apparently no decent trails. When I descended, I was on the opposite side of the oreum and had to walk around the base to get back to my scooter.

Oreum ramblings. This being one of the best days of taking in oreums, it is also relatively devoid of words since there are no English signs or other learning chances along the route today. Only experiences here and many non transferable into words. … How to choose the oreum? I have been circling the island (several times already, and a few more times coming, for sure). Usually, when oreum are grouped together, I will go up the tallest and most popular one first and look around, seeing what other possibilities exist. In addition, having previous knowledge researching an extensive Korean site with accompanying map, I decide where to try next. There are many attempts to get close to an oreum on the backroads and be adamantly rejected by private farmland, no more backroads, and reasoning that those oreum are not to be climbed, as there is no trail or access point. Obviously, a Jeju sign, or large rock slabs announcing this is an oreum with an English translation is fair game to climb, in my book. Any oreum that has a trail, either marked or unmarked is also OK for me. A parking lot is a dead giveaway as are road signs, no matter how subtle, along the main thoroughfares. After searching the Internet several different ways, either English text or pictures, I have a list of remaining oreum to climb that get priority, one or two great ones a day, giving me something to write about, to supplement the nameless and faceless oreum, which are the majority.

Nov. 1, 2011

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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