Must-dos when on holiday…
1. Climb a mountain : checked.
I’ve seen people blogging about the climb but why hasn’t anyone complain about how tiring it is actually, because I’m sure not all of them are frequent climbers.
There are 4 routes up the mountain where two allows you to reach the top and the other two does not. The first two are Gwanamsa route and Seongpanak route. The two that doesn’t reach the top are the Yeongsil route and the Eorimok route. The routes that reach the top takes about 4-5 hours with Seongpanak being an easier climb.
In my case, I was told that I could go up by Yeongsil and get down by Eorimok because I wasn’t ready to hike up for 5 hours and use another 5 hours to get down. May I remind you that there is no cable car to depend on if you reach the top and are too tired to get down by foot. But… The two other routes didn’t prove to be easier if not just shorter because you couldn’t reach the top. Thank goodness for those times I had to climb the stairs in school because this mountain climbing is more like climbing stairs as the Koreans apparent built steps, whenever they could, along the routes. Not that I don’t appreciate it, but climbing steps and just walking up the slope uses very different muscles.
Climbing within the trees is all very pretty but the real scenery starts when you get out of the forest. From Yeongsil route, you get to see the edge of Jeju and the ocean beyond it. The air is fresh and when the wind blows at your perspiration-filled body, your motivation becomes just a bit stronger. The best scenery has to be when the route reaches the clearing. It’s practically paradise as we usually portray it to me. Meadows and even a spring to drink from (scoops provided). Having climbed a mountain in Switzerland, I can tell you that the scenery is quite different. But then again, this is only my second mountain.
There’s a resting spot (at where both Yeongsil and Eorimok meets, where people can hide in a sheltered place to eat ramyeon which is sold there for 1500won. After resting for a bit while eating, I started on the route down via Eorimok. Eorimok is longer than Yeongsil and the scenery at the beginning is beautiful as you climb on rather leveled ground at first. The way down feels really long and it’s about 5.5km or so. Proper shoes are a must because even though there are proper steps, there are parts where one has to climb down on a rock-filled path.
Oh. If I forgot to make it clearer, the hike is really not that easy. Though going through that tough period always makes it more satisfying and the scenery more beautiful. You dont need to be a climbing expert, just bring along your perseverance and you should…. be ok. I was very lucky to meet a ahjumma on the bus that hiked this mountain pretty frequently and with her accompaniment I managed to finish the route in a shorter time than I would have if I was alone because boy, was she fast. Our legs were trembling when we were near the end of the Eorimok route but it was satisfying seeing people only beginning to climb while we were finishing.
P.S: will upload pictures when I get back!