Jeju Olle Trail Course 6
This past weekend, Craig and I went back to Jeju for the third (fourth?) time. Despite predictions of rain, the sun shone
brightly fiercely, so we went straight from the airport to Soesogakk Estuary (쇠소갂), where Olle Trail Courses 5 and 6 meet. Last time, we walked 7, 7-1, and 8, so our plan was to walk to Oedolgae (외돌게), the beginning of 7 and 7-1.
Our bags weren’t too heavy and we had picked up some sunscreen at the airport, so it wasn’t too bad at first. Most of course 6 is along the coast, and what isn’t is mostly either through forest or quiet lanes. On one of those quiet lanes, we ran into a woman who claimed credit for creating the Olle Trail, which gave us a happy hour or so of guessing what level of responsibility she had. My guess is she was on a committee to get the trail to run past her restaurant. Just a guess. For all we know, she’s a member of parliament.
As we were walking, we finally realized how we got so very, very lost while walking course 7-1: the trail is in no way the most direct route. Course 7-1 is a spur which travels inland, ending at the World Cup Stadium. Since you can see the stadium from quite a distance in several directions, it would seem quite straightforward to get there, but the trail winds through the countryside, providing ample opportunity to get lost. On course 6, there are also several detours, particularly as you get closer to Oedolgae. In fact, when we finished, we went straight back from Oedolgae to the yogwan we had stayed at on our previous visit, and covered the last hour of the walk in less than 20 minutes.
Between the heat and humidity, our sunscreen had been “washed” off us hours earlier and we’d given up reapplying after several attempts. Since I was still recovering from my previous sunburn, I ended up with a nice patch of blisters where my part meets my forehead. Hello, skin cancer! Craig didn’t get too sunburned, but his underwear had gotten so sweat-soaked that he had a rash which had him walking like a cowboy for the rest of the trip.
In other words, we didn’t get to go hiking on Sunday. He wasn’t interested in my alternatives: the Seashell Museum and the Tangerine Museum, so we walked down to Seogwipo Port (about 5-10 minutes from our hotel), and got tickets for the first boat tour of the morning. We walked over the pedestrain bridge and killed a little time before boarding at 11:15. The boat was scheduled to sail at 11:30, but was about 15 minutes late.
In true Korean style, a tour guide shouted “jokes” (One big hit amongst our benchmates: “There are foreigners on board, but I’m only going to speak Korean.”) and information/ trivia into a loudspeaker pretty much the entire way. We sat on benches on the top deck, trying to see past the people leaning on the safety rails. When I do touristy things in Korea, I often wonder how often Korean tourists get beaten up or verbally abused when they travel overseas. I can say the average American would not be shy to complain about someone blocking everyone else’s view for no reason (there were plenty of seats which all afforded the same view as standing at the rail, just a couple meters back).
Despite the crowding hoardes, it was a pleasant way to spend the morning. The trip lasted about 45 minutes, going from the port ot Oedolgae and back. I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was under 20,000 each and there were 4 trips per day.
After our hike on Saturday, followed by watching Jeju United crush Jeonnam Dragons, we were ready for a some quiet time. So, after the boat ride and some grilled mackerel for lunch, we relaxed in our room until time to go to the airport. We had a full sea view with wall-to-wall windows, so it was quite a pleasant way to while away a few hours.