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Western behemoths exist in the form of Byeongak, Barimae and Nokkomae[Jeju's Trails] Day 50 of a 1,200 km journey recording Jeju's hiking trails, oreum (volcanic cones) and Olle courses
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승인 2011.11.08  10:53:36
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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 32 sites in sequential order for Day 50: Jeju Springflower Guesthouse - Neupgae Oreum, base - Neupgae Oreum, peak - Neupgae Oreum, base - Dang Oreum, parking lot - Dang Oreum, base - Dang Oreum, peak 1 - Dang Oreum, peak 2 - Dang Oreum, parking lot - Jokeundaebiak, base - Jokeundaebiak, peak - Jokeundaebiak, base - Byeongak / Sobyeongak, parking lot - Byeongak / Sobyeongak, base 1 - Byeongak / Sobyeongak, peak 1 - Byeongak / Sobyeongak, peak 2 - Byeongak / Sobyeongak, base 2 - Byeongak / Sobyeongak, parking lot - Muak, base - Muak, peak - Muak, base - Barimae / Jokeunbarimae, parking lot - Barimae / Jokeunbarimae, base 1 - Barimae / Jokeunbarimae, peak 1 - Barimae / Jokeunbarimae, base 2 - Barimae / Jokeunbarimae, peak 2 - Barimae / Jokeunbarimae, parking lot - Nokkomae keun Oreum, parking lot - Nokkomae keun Oreum, reference point - Nokkomae keun Oreum, peak - Nokkomae keun Oreum, parking lot - Venture Maru, The Jeju Weekly office


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Spent
Hong Mart -- 2,000
Hong Mart -- 3,600
gas for scooter -- 6,000
roadside stand -- 8,500
hof -- 25,000
7-Eleven -- 1,800
PC room -- 10,000
jimjilbang -- 7,000
Total -- 63,900 won

Consumed
a lot of hard tack, a little peanut butter, 3 donuts, full small octopus dinner with Korean snacks, ample amounts of soju, beer and snacks, 4 cold coffees, endless amounts of water

Thoughts from Day 50
This day... was busy. I ended up finishing nine oreum after a good night’s sleep, the first in many, many days. I ran the western interior route close to road 1135 for most of my finds. The best part? It was the power of Byeongak and Sobyeongak together in one course, followed by the discovery of Barimae and Nokkomae (big) oreum on road 1117. A great day cannot just end as a great day. The fog and rain dampened it, but not the spirit emanating from these oreum.

Neupgae Oreum. Out of Moseulpo, just southwest of the junction for roads 1135 and 1136 sits Neupgae Oreum. It’s not great. But it’s a start. There’s a tower at the top, thick and wide stairs running up between graves. Exercise equipment adorns the top portion. Once at the peak, some outdoor kids extravaganza place can be heard at the bottom with Chuck E.Cheese(y) music way too loud for a Sunday morning.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Dang Oreum. Head north on road 1135 and west of road 1115. Meet Dang Oreum. It’s blocked in by a lot of farm fencing and hundreds of head of cattle. Maneuver between the rusty barb fence lines and watch each step in manure to grace the animal-trailed Dang Oreum. At the peak, a path is possible to circumnavigate around the half crater. The views are superb all around. Also, at the peak, this fine day, were a group of obstinate older Koreans lounging around, paying no attention to me, only themselves, frolicking in their ostentatious and rather obnoxious, not peaceful, laughter. I felt freer once they descended, big packs taking over their bodies and walking sticks aiding their every move as if their life depended on it. No real trails or any English here.

Jokeundaebiak. Peaking at 542 meters, east of Dang and road 1135 on road 1115, a person can be one with Jokeundaebiak. Just a foot path, but surprisingly there was an official marker at the peak. What is the story behind these Korean signs? Occasionally, I would guess one out of four oreum has this marker at the top, denoting its height and what type of oreum it is. Often at the foot of the peak sign, but not always, is a concrete slab, most likely with the year 1993 etched in at the one-time poured mixture now hardened forever. The views at Dang and Jokeundaebiak are priceless of the island’s western interior.

Byeongak / Sobyeongak. Out of something so rural and bland comes a treasure trove of possibilities at the combined forces of Byeongak and Sobyeongak in one course. In addition, there are other trails going in every which way. This could be the only path on the island, where both the left and right ropes along the rubber-matted course are an absolute necessity. I felt myself pulling more than any other place on the island. Taking the left course route, I went up Byeongak first and was met by some oafing cattle occupying most of the top portion of the trail. The horns on those boys were big, too big for my impatience of not moving over. Go around, never repeat steps here, down and up Sobyeongak to the manned shelter. The first think I saw was the ...

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Korea Forest Service patch. It was on the old man’s left arm. Completely impressed with the fire watcher’s digs. If in a thrift store, I would have bought that shirt immediately, regardless of cost. I, of course, had my map out and oriented myself on account of our position. This man was the best. Without speaking a word of English, and me not initially comprehending, he gave me directions on how to get to Muak, which was within easy peaking and eyesight distance. Spot on. Perfect. We knew. He knew. I knew. This trekking course is old and used, but has that redeeming quality of sustenance. The cattle are on the trails, but so what? It is beat up already, there is no use in preservation, just enjoyment. It is what it is.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Muak. On toward a close by peak, Muak. It has one of those narrow farm roads going around its base. At an appropriate place there was a converted pick-up truck and a wide enough path to tell me, go up and have no regrets. A few minutes later, a familiar site, a sleeping watcher, curled in his temporary work home. I did not want to startle, so I left him be, without asking any questions. A quick trip down and that was it. Off to better, much better.

Barimae / Jokeunbarimae. This place is one of few, announcing: That’s right, I’m better than the other oreum. Barimae is the Rolls Royce of volcanic cones. Clean paths, signs telling a walker what is growing on the side of the way, what each plant and tree is. It has brevity, height and length. There are two oreum here, a bigger one and a lesser. The lesser is so good and distinct, it gets its own path and signage. Jokeunbarimae does a nice loop trail, perfectly planned and executed. Across the parking lot, stands Barimae, at 763 meters of which 213 is rise, it was named after the crater at its peak, “which is shaped like a barite (a bowl used for serving monks in Buddhist temples).” The fog and rain disallowed me from a view, but apparently, “the southern part of the crater [78 meters in depth and 130 meters in circumference] has a forest and the northern part grassland.” Also, according to the sign, black pines grow among an assortment of other types on the oreum. Little talked about, road 1117 boasts a number of oreum.

Nokkomae keun Oreum. With the day and sunlight going down, Nokkomae was a long six-kilometer roundtrip venture, retracing the steps from the summit back to the parking lot. This oreum, which is the bigger of two adjacent oreum “has jagged points at the top” with a crater shaped like a horseshoe “having two peaks, one in the north and one in the south.” The course starts level at a parking lot and takes about one km to get any real sort of base. Through horses and graveyards, the last one half rises steeper and steeper until a peak is reached with almost stadium-type seating available at the top. Luckily, it was raining, so few people. Unfortunately, the views were nonexistent.

▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser
▲ Photo by Steve Oberhauser

Grinding. Every hour of each day is a grind concluding Hike Jeju and my stay on the island. Dinners are more frequent, and as a result, so is a bit of drinking, so commonly found in Korean culture. I am still pumping out copy, with now a very limited time frame to tackle the best of the 150 Jeju oreum remaining.

Date
Nov. 6, 2011
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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Photo by Steve Oberhauser
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