As I post, tensions are high between North and South Korea after the artillery exchange of November 2010 – the Shelling of Yeonpyeong. I wish peace for all in both nations.
trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | (routes 1→ 6 = 106km)
Depart from the beautiful ‘Siheung Elementary School’ and climb up Malmi Oreum and Al Oreum. At the top of the volcanoes you’ll see Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise peak), along with Woo-do (Island) and many picturesque farms will catch your eye. The route continues along the salt fields in Jongdal-ri to the esplanade in Siheung-ri.
When walkers reach Sumapo Beach, the Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise peak) appears once again. The color of the sea at Gwangchigi Beach (the terminus of Route 1) is truly unforgettable.
We started at the beginning, Siheung Elementary.
The weather threatened, but turned out to be good walking. Windy and cool.
A group of us from the Walking Festival unloading from the bus to begin.
These volcanic stone walls are emblematic of this island.
In the Cotswolds, UK, stone wall masons study for 3yrs. Likely fitting these together takes more skill than it appears.
Jeju Olle is very well signed. Ribbons flag the route, as well as other devices.
This was my first good view of Sunrise Peak (Seongsan Ilchulbong), the geological highlight of my hike.
You could see how volcanic soil and a mild, wet climate make Jeju ideal for agriculture.
Our first of the famed Jeju ponies.
They are one of the symbols of the Jeju Trail.
As part of the Walking Festival, we enjoyed many treats and surprises en route. A piano, at one point. Singers at many other highlight sections of the trail.
The professor is also an opera singer. Our charismatic leader, Suh Myung-sook, convinced him to sing, as well.
For the two days prior, at the conference, I had heard many apologies regarding too few toilets on the Jeju Olle. Much to my surprise the toilets were excellent.
Signs marked the distances between, rarely more than 4km apart. (Many are squatters, however. And some are signed only in Korean.)
We foreigners had much discussion about the many burial plots.
Tradition is that bodies are cremated. Then buried in sometimes spacious stone rings. … It seemed to us (from outside the culture) that much arable land is lost to the farmer.
More treats for the walkers. Fresh carrot juice. And some kind of tasty sweet.
Finally, Sunrise Peak. The highlight is a short, steep climb to the summit. (That’s not actually part of the official hike, so I came back another day to join the throngs climbing it.)
Read more about route 1 on the official website.
See the rest of my route 1 photos on flickr.