how to build a hiking trail

#Jeju #JejuOlle

In your lifetime you’ve known people who scorch the earth. Dominate a room. Inspire everyone around them to action. …

Here’s one, Suh Myung-sook from Korea. Founder of the Jeju Olle Trail.

photo credit – Jeju Weekly – Healing Powers of an island trek

Don’t be fooled. This little lady can out hike you. Then out drink you late into the evening. She is vivacious. A whirlwind.

She started less than 4yrs ago to build a hiking trail on the small island of her birth. Today her personal map has over 339km of trails (that number keeps increasing as villages request to be added) attracting perhaps a quarter million walkers a year.

It’s a huge success story in Korea. She started what’s been called a “hiking boom”.

Did she convince the government to build? No, she and her brother picked up shovels. And set out. The rest is history.

I love her life story.

Suh Myung-sook was a sometimes controversial career woman, shattering glass ceilings for women in the publishing industry. But after 23yrs, she felt tired. To rejuvenate, she made a pilgrimage to walk The Way of St. James (Camiño de Santiago). Then published a travelogue on that journey in Korean.

A fellow pilgrim in Spain first suggested the idea of a spiritual walking route in Korea, as it’s so industrialized. As the Korean people work so hard.

Suh Myung-sook made it happen. Out of the sheer power of her personal determination and charisma.

Jeju Olle map - quite outdated

Suh Myung-sook is almost exactly the same age as me. But she’s accomplished so much more.

If you want to build a trail, get consensus of the local people, and build it. Start small. Recruit volunteers. Once you have some success, politicians will come looking for you.

On my best hikes I leave a Summit Stone at the highlight location. But on the Jeju Olle, I gave the Stone to Suh Myung-sook. She’s the spiritual centre of this new world class walk.

Note: her name is sometimes translated Suh Myeong-suk or Suh, Myungsook.

4 Replies to “how to build a hiking trail”

  1. What an amazing person she is Rick!
    A wonderful post and an inspiring story of someone who truly ‘hikes her talk’.
    I hope that moment of sharing a Summit Stone was special for the both of you.
    Much appreciation for that too my friend.

  2. Pingback: World Spinner

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