Sunday, November 30, 2014

Part 2 of My Mount Halla Hike via Yeongsil Trail @ Jeju Island [Korea]

For part one, please click here. Since this part is a continuation, i would strongly suggest you check out Part One before reading any further.

After cutting through the rocky stone bed, lo and behold, we came to a clearing that drew us really close to the crater summit of Mount Halla!

Both Joyce and i were obviously in awe of the great view; can't say the same for Louise as she was nowhere to be seen. The ahjumma, as i mentioned previously, was in a rush to get to the location where she can start to hawk her wares.

After close to two hours and we had only accomplished halfway?!?!!?!? That's ridiculous, given we were supposed to be fast walkers!

These grass-like plants that dotted the land belonged to a rare species known as crowberries which grew at an altitude of above 1,400 meters. By the way, i do agree that greeting fellow hikers do make the hike more pleasant, more bearable! :)

A fork road where a decision must be made - should we continue the trail or cut short the trail since we still had many planned destinations to cover for the day?

Poor girl had been waiting for us at the fork, under the scotching hot sun as she wasn't sure which way we would take! She would have to respect the decision of her two elderly siblings (me and Joyce), who were having trouble keeping up with her footsteps.

We didn't want to make a hasty decision and chose to walk up to Witsejogeunoreum; an outcrop that would have provided quite a good view. Yes, more steps to climb although it was physically less demanding than taking the route that appeared to be never-ending.

One thing was sure; we could never get to the summit of Hallasan via Yeongsil Trail unless we were wealthy enough to engage a helicopter for a personal tour.

In comparison to the humongous crater summit, Witsejogeunoreum was in reality really tiny and we were in fact not expecting much except to make use of it as a much needed resting point.

Remember the song "Top of the World" by Carpenters? Its lyrics struck a chord in our hearts as we arrived at Witsejogeunoreum. The view was in one word; stunning!

Even though the sun was relentless in tanning our skin, it was an aura of relaxation as we felt the light breeze brushing against our faces, the melodious chirping of birds (not ravens) and the crisp scent of mother nature (not shit, if i could add).

Time for the ahjumma to lay out her wares after two hours of lugging!

A picture of both sisters; the guy at the back seemed to be taking photos of them! Oh well, i didn't want to make a big fuss since the advanced technology of cameras  (zoom, pan-wide functions etc) could mean he was taking a closer view of the surrounding.

More photographs of the crazy duo.

It's not hard to identify the crazier one. This person, by the way, is my elder sister who has always been mistaken as the youngest child in the family! Note her resemblance to Jovyn, the monster brat!

View of Hallasan summit from Witsejogeunoreum.

Plaque showing places of notable interests on Hallasan. It would have been more helpful with an English translation! Even for Witsejogeunoreum, i had no idea what it meant until i noticed the Chinese characters; 威势小岳. 小岳 means small mountain.

10 minutes of rest - agreement was made to descend the mountain! Yipppeeeeee, i was actually famished and could do with some food!!! This experience has resulted in one key decision; i am so not going to climb Kota Kinabalu in my trip to the East Malaysia next April!

It has been quite a while since i last caught sight of a ladybird! To prevent it from being trampled, i picked it up and placed it on the cowberries next to the stairs.

The moon was still in the sky!

Clouds are unpredictable and the initial dragon-like formation was transformed into almost a mystical spread across Witsejogeunoreum; as if it was sourcing for mysterious powers.

Sisters with Witsejogeunoreum in the backdrop. I would put it more accurately as a viewing platform rather than the more formidable-sounding little mountain. 

Last picture with Hallasan summit before we made the descent. My younger sister apparently would like to challenge the summit the next time she visits! 

Needless to say, it was an exuberant walk down the mountain; the perspective was much more at ease since we had a better gauge of the distance needed to get to the start of the trail. 

Even the millions of stairs appeared much less of a hindrance! It's more strenuous to climb up rather than climb down; or so i thought! 

We were initially so focused on going up; we neglected to see the beautiful scenery surrounding us! Correction: it was hard to enjoy the view with the sun shining at us! 

Timing is important for photography; the same place can take on a different look at sunrise, midday, sunset and at night! At this moment, i can at least see the commencing transition of autumn. 

I mentioned in part one that i didn't know the species of these trees and wondered if they were even alive in the first place. The answer was given on the information panel i found on my way down; they were Korean firs! Still looked dead to me. 

On top of the Folding Screen Rocks (Byeongpung Bawi) again!

Picture didn't turn out well but i might as well share the "buddha's five hundred disciples" which was with reference to the standing rocks on the mountain. 

Three sets of panoramic photographs for your viewing pleasure! With the latter two, you can roughly see the change in landscape as we descended down the stairs. 

Ahjumma had diligently packed up after facing bad business at Witsejogeunoreum. She had a much lighter load though as we cleared most of the water she brought up.

If, and that's a big if, i ever want to attempt a mountain again, i am going to get my hands on the hiking sticks!!! Given my age by then, i should be at a suitable age to use them!!!

Joyce with the folding screen rocks behind her! I wanted to get Louise to join her but she had gotten so far ahead, i doubt she wanted to climb up again just to be included in this pic. 

Found another ladybird on the floor!

And a grasshopper! Anyone interested in bigger grasshoppers can check out the roof garden at Stephen Riady Centre, University Town, National University of Singapore! 

About to get into the thicker foliage where i had complained about the super steep steps in my first post on the trail! It was torturing to get up; would it be as bad to go down?

Last look before i escaped the sun! 

Couldn't resist putting this up! Aiyah, i shot so many photographs; it would be a waste (and a disgrace for my D7100) to store them in the hard disk where not many people can access. 

Walking down was genuinely more difficult than climbing up!!! The gravitational pull made it really hard to control your footsteps on the uneven surface and abrupt turns! There were a number of times i almost veered out of the track but managed to pull myself back, using the rope, in the nick of time!

For such a huge nature reserve, the spider i saw was rather miniature.

There's a reason why blocks of wooden planks were placed at the start of the difficult section; for those who returned to take a well-deserved rest! 

Filming of a documentary (i think) taking place along the stream. The stomach was growling so i had to forsake my nosiness by not waiting around a bit to see what was being filmed. 

Joyce was assured of one thing after this hike; her worst enemy in life is not herself, is not the person she hated the most. It is the stairs. Sounds familiar? It came from Kung Fu Panda! 

Cardigan of a passerby was so well-coordinated with the yellow colour of the autumn leaves. I think she was quite embarrassed by it though; she left after taking a few photos and it seemed like she had yet to start hiking up.

The elation of finally reaching the start / end was best displayed by Joyce! For friends of hers, you can forget about asking her to climb a mountain again! Unless it doesn't require the use of her legs! 


Western Seogwipo, 
Jeju Island 

Contact Number to Key in GPA 

Additional Information
I don't remember seeing any washroom on the trail so please remember to 'release' at the washrooms near the carpark before you embark on your journey.

Ravens were everywhere and they were not scared of humans! Keep your belongings to yourself and do not leave your food open and unattended. 

A convenience store, with limited items for sale, was located beside the washrooms for those who didn't prepare enough rations

For the summary of my inaugural South Korea trip 
(Seoul and Jeju Island), click HERE.