This past weekend I finally got my wish to hike Mt. Halla right after a big snow. It had snowed for a few days in Seogwipo and so I thought the mountain would be more pristine. It was also the Lunar New Year here so not many people were out at the mountain which was great for us.
Today we ventured out to Soesokkak beach for a swim. It was bright and sunny compared to the last two rainy days. We took a cab on our way to the beach. At Soesokkak beach there is a river that flows down from the mountain and meets the ocean. We hiked up along the river and explored the rocks looking for a good swimming hole. In the end we chose to dive in right where the water meets the ocean on the beach. The sand on the beach was a black sand so it was very hot on my feet. It took a while to get up the courage to jump in the cold water but once we did it was very refreshing. We swam there for a little while and then decided to just walk back home instead of calling a cab. We skimmed the ocean line on our way back and ended up eating in a restaurant right on the shore at the base of Jejigi Oreum. We sat outside and had a spicy fish stew. At the end of my dinner something caught my eye out in the ocean. It was a pod of nearly 100 dolphins jumping completely out of the water! They looked like they were having fun and I certainly was having fun watching them play. After dinner we hiked to the top of Jejigi Oreum and that’s where I snapped these two pics. This first one looks away south with Seopseom island in the background. We ate just to the left of where you can see in the picture near the craggy rocks. The second shot looks away to the east where we came from. It’s hard to see, but there is a crane and to the left of the crane is a long concrete breakwater wall that they are building for a new harbor and just left and above that you can see the river pouring into the ocean at Soesokkak. All the round tube shape buildings are greenhouses that mostly grow citrus fruits.
Last week we went hiking in the day before i had to go and teach at 2pm. We went to an oreum on the Western side of the island. An oreum is a parasitic volcano that spawns off from the main eruption. There are many here on Jeju-do. So Mt. Halla is the main volcano that formed the island, but these smaller oreums form mountains all over the island. The one that we visited has a Buddhist monastery. There is the main monastery at the base of the mountain and then a shrine way up in the side of the mountain in a cave. We hiked up and along the way I shot some pictures. I can’t wait to get a car so we can explore the island more on weekends.
nancy and i hiked east molera trail today in andrew molera state park. the main bulk of the park runs from highway 1 west towards the ocean, and it’s really beautiful. however i think the east trail that starts on the mountain side of highway one is the best. it starts out in a wide open field and then climbs steeply up the hillside. at the top you reach a grove of redwood trees nestled together. if you look at the google map images above, the first is more an overview of the whole park, on the second you can actually see the trail from the image winding up the mountain. the group of redwoods i’m talking about is dirctly below where it says andrew molera state park. from there the trail skims the ridge line and continues to climb and climb. and the views get better and better as you go. looking east you can see pico blanco looming with cloubs getting caught on its peak. we ran into roman along this hike, he used to work at the dive shop. small world isn’t it? he was kinda upset because right when he caught up to us we had just scared a group of five deer away. i didn’t have a long lens to capture them and they were standing in the path so i didn’t see any reason to sit and wait. oh well, sorry roman!
we hiked with roman for a while and i had to stop every five seconds to take pictures. i played hell keeping up having to jog double time to always catch up. this just about killed me. roman also hiked about double our speed and just about killed nancy and i both. hahaha. we had to part ways before we hit the peak as we had an appointment and had to start our descent. i wish we would have had time to make it to the top!
this trail is also one of my absolute favorites. once you pass the little grove of redwoods it just feels more and more magical. you get that sense of seeing the curve of the world and the barren grass fields mixed with patches of trees and mountains like pico blanco in the background make it spectacular. get yourself out on this trail if you make it to big sur. in the end we did somewhere around 8+ miles and 2000+ feet of elevation. it kicked my butt of course… 🙂 but i trimmed down my camera bag this time so i didn’t die. i also was smart and wore my hiking boots.
on sunday nancy and i went hiking in big sur. we took the car down the hell road again, tassajara road. click on the little map above to see where we were. the little green arrow on the bottom right marks our approximate location. it’s a beautiful drive, but treacherous. i think it helped to destroy one of my front struts in the car. so a truck or something along those lines is certainly recommended. at the end of this remote road is a zen buddhist center. the end of another hike we did takes you through the center. it seems like a really cool place to go and study.
i think this area is one of my favorite areas. not sure i can explain exactly why. maybe it’s just my emotions at the moment, or because it’s fresh in my mind, but there is something about the way things feel there. somehow the earth vibrates there, the landscape is raw and unashamed. it’s unforgiving and comforting at the same time.
the hike was 7.2 miles traversing 1200 feet of elevation. we left a little late in the day so we had to hike fast, sometimes jogging a bit so we could make it out before nightfall. it took us 3 1/2 hours round trip. this hike kicked my butt. i think it would have been fine except for the giant lead weight camera bag on my back. but if i didn’t take it, you couldn’t see any of these photos, so i guess it’s worth it. i keep telling myself that anyway. at the turning point we sat and quickly scarfed an apple before heading back. it’s strange how much better food tastes after you exercise a bunch. the hike back up from where we turned was what really got me. the sun was going down but right on our backs and hot. the camera bag really started to hurt me… hahaha. after we reached the top of the ridge i started feeling better. the last 1/2 mile or so, we ended up doing a jog for the finish line to beat nightfall. when we started to descend the shade side of the mountain i think the temperature must have dropped at least 20 degrees in like 5 minutes. we made it back to the car right at dusk.