You can see the end point of Olle 13, Jeoji, not long after you leave the start. The trail starts on Jeju’s western shore at Yongsu Pogu (port) and passes through the village before emerging into the fields – with a view of Jeoji oreum in the distance. That’s it in the photo above, rising from the flat landscape beyond the darker line of trees and with the paler shape of Mt Halla beyond.
The route passes through agricultural land – more onions and radishes, barley and citrus – and the profile of the oreum appears at different times, getting closer each time. Once you start to climb the oreum, it becomes apparent that the western slopes are covered with graves, much like Museulbong on Olle 11. The final few kilometres include the circumnavigation of the rim of the crater, before dropping down into Jeoji village, from whence a taxi back to Yongsu Pogu to collect the car.
Yesterday was a grey day on Jeju. The weather was wet and everyone will have been thinking of Wednesday’s tragic sinking of the Jeju-bound ferry.
It was raining steadily as we left Museulpo at the start of Olle trail 11. By the time we got to the top of Museulbong (‘po’ means port, ‘bong’ means hill) the rain had eased but the rest of the walk was still pretty soggy. Olle 11 doesn’t follow the coast; instead, it heads northwards for 18 km through farmland and forest.
Each trail has a point at the start and the end and one point somewhere along the trail where you can stamp your Olle ‘passport’. The photo above is the stamping station at the top of Museulbong and also shows the blue and orange arrows that show the forwards and backwards directions of the route respectively. Sometimes the arrows are just painted on the ground or on a wall and sometimes the way is marked by blue and orange ribbons.
The only other time I got my camera out was at the foot of Museulbong. Beyond the grave mounds, the fields and the greenhouses in the photo below are Mt. Dan and, further, Sanbangsan.
We walked part of the ‘Olle’ trail near Museulpo yesterday. There’s a network of these trails round the island and they look like a good way to explore the countryside. I don’t think there are any decent maps, but they’re well marked with red and blue ribbons.
I took these pictures of graves. You see them in fields and other places, often with a boundary of stones around them to keep the cows out. It’s the traditional way of burying the dead, although it doesn’t happen now – most Koreans don’t have land to do it. Even so, now is the time of year to maintain them and many have had the grass cut and are looking very tidy.
Further on in the walk, we started to climb the slopes of Museulbong Peak. It’s not very high, but the slopes are covered with graves, thousands of them, often with grave stones with Chinese writing. The higher ground also gave us views over the countryside towards Mt. Halla, in the centre of the island, although the top was covered in cloud yesterday.