Korea – Olle Trails and Halla Mountain

*This is a continuation of the previous Jeju post. To continue following my olle trail adventure, just keep reading. Or if you want to skip to the other adventures click here.*

Knowing that I wanted to spend the rest of my time in Jeju, I was able to finally leave most of my luggage (clothes) at the jimjilbang. Also, I knew I needed to get myself a ticket to Busan and so my first destination the next day was the tourist info center, where I asked about olle trails 7 and 8 along with flights that left Jeju to Busan. Luckily, the women told me that I should probably book my flight now as the site I was using left out some other airlines which connected much better with my original schedule.

After sorting all that out, it was 11 and I was ready to top the amount I walked the day before. Going to the beginning of olle 7, I had a bad feeling about it as the whole area was full of tourists. However, they were only there for the attraction and so 10 minutes later, it was only me and a couple of others who were also doing the trail. This was the first time I saw anyone else but me doing these trails (olle 1 I didn’t see anyone and olle 1.1 was full of tourists so I don’t know how many of them were just trekking) but part of me was glad to see that others were taking advantage of this and part of me was disappointed that I wasn’t the only one around. Olle 7 and 8 were both rated hard (the previous two were rated medium and easy respectively) and it didn’t take long to figure out why. With 7 and 8, there were parts of the trail where you were trekking across the rocks at the bottom of a cliff that overlooked the ocean and so with paths really not defined in those areas, you had to be a bit more careful. As there is no real way to describe the trek in words, here were a couple of highlights of olle 7:

The beginning of the olle 7.
Jeju Olle Trail

Didn’t take long to lose the crowd.
Jeju Olle Trail

The reason why olle 7 and 8 are rated hard.
Jeju Olle Trail

The olle trail takes you through some temple.
Jeju Olle Trail

It didn’t take long for my feet to start feeling the effects of yesterday and 2hrs in, I knew that I would have a difficult time topping yesterday’s distance. However, when I saw the stamp area that singnaled the end of 7 and the beginning of 8, I realized that this was the first stamp zone that I saw and to commemorate the success and to give the respect that I believe olle should have, I put the stamp in my actual passport next to the korea stamp of entry.

With my time being closer to the upper end of the estimated time to complete (I was completely under yesterday), I knew that my body was not fully rested and that I wouldn’t have enough time to complete olle 8 before the sun sets. I guess this is one of the downsides of olle trails; since they go through many natural areas, you rely on the sun to trek them so with bad weather (or at night) it’d be very difficult. However, I did what I could with the time I had left and once the sun started setting, I had completed about half the trail.

Another temple, this time it was on top of a pretty high mountain.
Jeju Olle Trail

Walking through yet another beach.
Jeju Olle Trail

Trekking until sunset.
Jeju Olle Trail

Olle 8 also took you through some rich area of Jeju. This here is a restaurant.
Jeju Olle Trail

Halla Mountain

Before going into details about Halla Mountain, I just wanted to point out that I was surprised to see plastic bags not used on at a large grocery store in Jeju. Instead of providing plastic bags, the store provided an area where you can take a box, tape it together and put your groceries in. I believe this is something that many places need to learn to start doing.
Jeju No Plastic Bags

So Halla Mountain is 1950m above sea level and was also what I decided to spend my last day checking out. Getting to Halla Mountain is not hard, with a 5.16 bus from either city in Jeju that would take you there for 3000 won. There are two ways up to the top of the mountain – one from the east and one from the north. When I reached the east side, I was surprised to see so many people there. With buses constantly dropping off elementry school students, it was a constant flow of people going up. I later learned that this was the main way people went up and down and that it’d take 5-6 hours each way.

The trail was a mixture of wooden stairs and big chunks of rocks so the trek up to me would’ve been quite easy (even with 10kg of baggage on my back) if there weren’t so many people taking up the whole width of the trail. It’s a lot easier to rush through long stretches of steep steps as you don’t give your legs time to feel the pain but when walking behind people who are lingering at each step, your own legs start feeling it too.

Beginning of Halla Mountain.
Jeju Halla Mountain

The easy part of the trail,
Jeju Halla Mountain

Almost at the top.
Jeju Halla Mountain

The top climb with no trees was super hot.
Jeju Halla Mountain

The top of Halla Mountain.
Jeju Halla Mountain

The view going up wasn’t very special and the surrounding up top also wasn’t special. I did however, learn a very important thing through this experience. So I started this journey with approximately 2 litres of water split into 3 bottles and by the time I reached the top, my mouth was constantly dry and I probably had a bit more than one bottle left. There were no shops that sold water and no water refilling stations so I was actually worried about being totally dehydrated. Luckily on the way down to the north entrance, there was a refill station. So lesson here: bring 1 litre more water than what you think you’d need. You’re much better off carrying one litre more than trying to rationalize 500mL of water.

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