Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jeju Day Three

After our rainy walk on Udo, we set off on the first "proper" section of the Olle Trail. We grabbed a cab from the hotel, which took us back to where we had been dropped off on our first day (a story that the Blogger ate, which I will repost shortly.) There, a few feet from the bus-stop, was the entrance to the first Olle Trail. On the other side of the road from it, there is an information booth that also sells small things like energy-bars and water.
That lovely picture is the beginning of the trail, and off to the right you can see the first 오름 (or "parasitic volcano' or 'small inactive volcano'). We walked for a bit, and then headed up it for a total of about 2.9 kilometers in. The views were ok, but not as good as from the 오름 we would soon go up. It was through pretty land, pastureland really, with lots of greenery, and occasional rain and cows. Also, of course, cowshit. Tons and tons of cowshit.

After a walk through the valley of the shadow of cowshit, we headed up the second 오름 the top of which had a brilliant view of Udo and a massive geographical feature that we weren't yet familiar with 일출봉, or "First Sunrise Peak." We'll get back to that.

Here is Yvonne trekking up the second 오름

And here she is triumphant, unaware of the evil that is to follow.

The first evil was that I, in shorts, managed to slip on the way down a relatively easy dirt trail. This smeared mud on my left calf to such an extent that the next day I had a differential sunburn. I tried hard not to contemplate what the cowshit % of the dirt was, and soldiered on.

Then the trail wandered down to a small store and then a flatish area with the traditional stone walls of Jeju (which I will post below this, because they are everywhere and kind of cool) and various plots of land. We wandered through this for some time, our packs growing heavier at each step.

Finally, we broke out of this (think of hedgerows in Europe) and came to a small village, in which we promptly became extremely lost, but unaware of the fact. We did notice that we were no longer seeing any of the painted blue arrows, or blue ribbons that indicated the trail, but we were confidently following a Korean family that had been on the Olle with us. One thing about the trail, if you're a "spaceout" hiker like I am, you can miss changes in the trail direction.

The evil town in which lostness ensued!

Anyway, we eventually got to a ferry port which was quite clearly NOT on the trail. By comparing a Jeju map to the Olle map, I figured out that we were on the "Shore Road" somewhere, and that by heading down it we would either rejoin the Olle, or figure out where on it we were.

Yvonne violently disagreed with this conclusion (an annoying thing she did at every opportunity) and it took some convincing to get her on the tread again. We walked a while and, sure enough, we eventually saw the reassuring blue ribbons and paint that marked the trail. Part of the reason we had got lost is that ALL road features on Jeju are marked in blue paint (e.g. gas lines, manholes) so it is easy to see false positives for trail markers. I'm not sure why the Olle folks didn't choose a different color?

Anyway, we were now on the "esplanade,' which just means footpunding regular old road. We walked past a bunch of squid hanging up to dry, and stopped for a beer and coke at a lovely roadside cafe directly after an equally lovely statue of a Haenyo (female diver for which Jeju is famous.

Then we plodded on, with so-so views of the ocean to our left.

An hour or so later, I was amazed to discover we had done a big loop... we were back at the hotel in which we had stayed the first night. Even more amusing, the guy who ran it heard our voices as we passed, and leaned out a 2nd story window and said hello to us (this story will make a bit more sense when I repost the first day). We trod on, until it became clear that we we going to end up about 300 meters from our hotel, before we finished the last 3-4 kilometers of our day.

The temptation was too much, and we headed for the hotel. ^^

We had meat for dinner, as we did basically every night that Yvonne and I were together. It's her all time favorite Korean food, though it sometimes wears me out.

The next day, Yvonne was to meet up with our friend Joy (Of the "Foreigner Joy" website) and the big geographical thing we had seen earlier turned out to be right behind the hotel. So, we decided that our next day would be hiking up that, retracing out lost section of the first trail, and then continuing on to finish the last bit of it.

At this point, I had begun to develop some awesome blisters, and a semi day off seemed quite appealing.

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