▲ A midday stroll is recommended when taking up Olle 7.1 as the inland scenery lends itself well to the glow of the afternoon sun. Photo by Shim Jae-wook
Every Olle course has its own unique feel. Course 7.1 has the feeling of walking through a strange and beautiful new world. This course, unlike most Olle courses goes inland which allows hikers to enjoy areas of Jeju that most walkers never see.
The otherworldly architecture of the World Cup Stadium greets hikers at the beginning of course 7.1 and the E-mart nearby is a great place to pick up water and snacks before heading out. Most Olles are best walked in the morning to avoid the midday heat, but because Course 7.1 cuts inland it is best enjoyed in the afternoon, when the light is at its warmest and the sun filters nicely through the trees.
After departing from the World Cup Stadium walkers will begin going uphill. Everyone would do well to stop and look back as they move along; the views of the stadium and Seogwipo are amazing. The first four kilometers of this course lead uphill toward Ungtto Waterfall. Due to Jeju's porous rock, the waterfall only flows after heavy rainfall. Despite this the forest around it is beautiful and worth visiting even when the waterfall isn't flowing. There is also a cave, so bring a flashlight.
From Ungtto Waterfall hikers continue uphill until they reach the top of Mt. Gogun, one of Jeju's three mountains. While it’s a rather small mountain, standing less than 400m above sea level, Gogun is a lovely hike and gives hikers an amazing view. When the sky is clear Halla Mountain takes up the entire northern view, and the islands off Jeju's southern coast dot the ocean. For those that can't make the hike up Mt. Halla this can be a great trip that provides an inspiring view and doesn't take all afternoon.
▲ Surrounded by beautiful forest, Ungtto waterfall is a unique example of a waterfall that, due to the region’s highly porous rock, only flows after heavy rain. Photo by Shim Jae-wook
All Olle courses meander through a town or two, to give hikers a chance to see village life in Jeju. Course 7.1 goes through Seoho and Hogeun Villages which are decorated with the lovely stone walls that Jeju is famous for. They're also great places to pick up some water before continuing on.
The treat of Course 7.1 comes near the end. After descending into a crater valley, walkers will get to experience a rare sight- Jeju’s rice fields. When walking in the afternoon or early evening these fields shine with the warmth of the setting sun. It can feel like walking into a different time or place. Cows and horses graze nearby and due to the rice fields being located inside the crater; there is no sound of traffic. The crater walls cut outside noise, possibly making it one of the most quiet and peaceful places on the island.
The course finishes with a walk to the midway point of Sammae-bong, a small oreum near Oedolgae. Once hikers reach the end of 7.1 they can enjoy the view of Oedolgae. As a number of Olle courses begin and end here, there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. Those with energy to spare can head 100m east of Oedolgae to a nearby swimming hole, located at the bottom of a flight of steps. The ocean in this area is filled with fish and squid so bring a swimsuit, a snorkel mask and jump in.
More information about Jeju’s Olle courses can be found at: www.jejuolle.org/eng
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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