Oops, I put off writing this post until now … when I am about to leave Korea. I think the adventure was so tiring (yet fulfilling in some ways …)
In any case, this was my last free day in Jeju so it was now or never. 3 weeks of walking the Olle Trail still didn’t prepare me enough for the hike ahead.
Hallasan is the tallest mountain in South Korea (the tallest mountain is in North Korea). Hallasan stands 1950 meters tall and some people are really prepared for hiking while others … aren’t so much.
I started from Seogwipo taking bus 742 towards Jeju and getting off at the Seongpanek Bus Stop.
It was raining!!!!
There were washrooms and a convenient store at the bottom. I bought a raincoat there so I can protect my backpack so it doesn’t get heavier and heavier from the rain (lesson learned from Machu Picchu).
There were other washrooms and a convenient store at the midway point. However, I prepared two bottles of water and some snacks anyways.
I started climbing at 8 AM because I wanted to beat the crowd. Most people start around 8:30 AM and they become like ants, one following another and maybe some older ahjummas and ahjussi might push you around.
The top also closes at 12:30 (12 PM before March). Therefore, you have to turn back if you don’t get there by 12:30 PM.
Walking up is easy …. even in the rain … even on non-stationary rocks that move and causes accidents.
After a while … wet snow started to fall and I put on my spikes (or ice traction devices). The climb continues … There would be little rocks telling you where you are on the mountain.
The snow was so pretty!!!!!!! It made hiking fun 🙂 Then came the stairs, which wasn’t fun. This was almost near the top (but never quite there). It was so foggy that I couldn’t really see what was ahead of me.
This was the top, 1950 meters up without rest. Finished it a little over 3 hours.
At the top, you can walk back down, or take another route. For the other route, there are no buses, but many taxis on the other side to drive you back to a bus station.
The top has no view because it was SO foggy! There are no stores here, just a sign that says you’re at the top. Many people brought drinks and food while other continue to take photos with each other to celebrate getting to the top.
I stayed for maybe 15 minutes but my stomach was growling, so I slowly made my way back down to the rest area for some 1500 won ramen. Going down was ok in the snow for me too because of my grip. However, other people weren’t so lucky. They slipped and slide all over the place.
The most difficult part is over! Or so I thought ….
Anyways, I gotback to the rest area just as the gate was closing at 12:30 PM. There were multiple annoucements telling people to pack up and go. I was surprised people ate first and then finisht the climb.
The entrance of the place. Technically, it isn’t midway (it is pass the midway point), but more like the final stop before no man’s land.
There isn’t much to choose from…. they also give you a garbage bag because you have to bring the garbage back to down the mountain.
More winter wonderland photos.
On the way down was also another set of stairs heading up to Baengnokdam Lake. It is a crater just near the top of Hallasan.
The road down was dangerous, because it was wet and one can easily slip. Furthermore, I was so tired and my legs weren’t working properly. I did fell once and it felt like I was walking forever. There weren’t a lot of people coming down the trail so it felt really weird….
Back to the parking lot!!! Back to the bus station, and back to the guesthouse where I slept for 13 hours ….