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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

South Korea: Touring Jeju Island‏

November 18th, 2010 · 1 Comment

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Continuing our tour of Jeju Island after visiting the Jeju Stone Park, my guide, Ki Hyung Kim, and I went on to the Bijarim Forest, another great place to visit. Mr. Lee and I walked through its lovely paths. We walked to oldest evergreen tree on the island, the “New Millennium Nutmeg,” which was born in the year 1189, only 821 years ago.

Jeju's Oldest Evergreen

Jeju's Oldest Evergreen

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A Lovely Stone at the Bijarim Forest

A Lovely Stone at the Bijarim Forest

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Then, before continuing with our tour in the afternoon, Mr. Lee understandably wanted to stop for lunch. While I didn’t particularly want to waste time eating, I suggested that he pick a traditional restaurant. He did, stopping at a place right at the edge of the ocean so simple that they — a mother and daughter — offered only one dish. It was a seafood noodle soup. I joined Mr. Lee for lunch, believing in doing as the Romans do. The tasty noodles are indeed starch, which I hadn’t eaten for months. The broth was seafood compete with little shells. They restaurant was so simple that the only drink they had was coffee. No tea. I passed.

This Is Literally a Roadside Restaurant

This Is Literally a Roadside Restaurant

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The Restaurant's Kitchen

The Restaurant's Kitchen

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Then we went to the Hadori Sanctuary for Migratory Birds further along the coast. I saw many egrets and ducks and other birds through their powerful telescope and got some shots of egrets that flew closer.

An Egret Flies

An Egret Flies

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Then, I hiked for an hour. Along with a hundred thousand or so Koreans on vacation, I climbed 600 feet straight up Seongsanilchulbong Sunrise Peak. This hike I had to do along; Mr. Kim wanted to rest. He told me later that he had never climbed it. The climbers who I went up the trail with were mostly teenagers, ever so polite in the Korean way yet still pushy. I guess you have to be physically pushy in a crowded country. The kids, like kids everywhere I guess, wore t-shirts with the names of schools or stores in English.

The Path to the Peak Is Steep

The Path to the Peak Is Steep

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I felt exceptionally strong here, moving much faster than usual and climbing easier. The only explanation that I can think of is that my lungs had become accustomed to the thinner air of mile-high Boulder, and in Korea I was always close to the level of the sea. This may also explain the great success of Ethiopian runners in races in the States.

Then, we reached the furthest point on my planned itinerary. I especially wanted to see the only waterfall in all of Asia that flows directly into the ocean. Jeongbang Waterfall is wide and a straight 75 foot drop.

Jeongbang Waterfall Meets the Pacific Ocean

Jeongbang Waterfall Meets the Pacific Ocean

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On the way back from the waterfall, which is across the island from where my hotel was, we finally could see Mount Halla when the clouds broke at sunset. Much of the day was cool and overcast, but certainly good enough for me to take hundreds of photos.

This was an unbelievably full day. We went to all the places on the list that I gave to Mr. Kim plus several more that he wisely suggested we stop at. And I got to experience another traditional Korean restaurant. But dozens more attractions await my next visit.

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Posted in: Asia

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Gretchen // Nov 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I think it was all that kimchee that gave you so much energy.

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