Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Island of Jeju
We went on a tropical excursion this past weekend to Jeju Island, the largest Island in Korea and also a really cool place. It isn't high tourist season, but we still rode a flight full of older tourist ready to get their gear on. Friday was Foundation Day in Korea, a national holiday, so more the reason for people escape the city.
I was really excited about seeing palm trees. Joe also had a crazy Saturday where he fell asleep at every opportunity possible.
Many of the beaches we visited had dark, black rocks that smeared the ocean dark as well.
A well visited, well known waterfall. What this picture doesn't tell you is that this waterfall is so easily accessible that I felt cheated out of the experience.
Saturday was pretty cool, but the climax of our trip was hiking Halla Mountain Sunday morning. I complained almost the entire way up while simultaneously enjoying it. In retrospect, it's one of the coolest things I've done in recent memory. This should probably be its own entry for the sheer amount of photos it entails.
Halla Mountain is the tallest mountain in Korea. Originally a volcano, it has a crater lake on the top called Baegnokdam, which I think in translations means 'white deer lake,' because legends have it that otherworldly men descended from heaven to play with deer.
View from around 1500m above sea level.
You can see people hiking in above photo. You can, if looked closely, also see a staircase leading to the top. Kind of defines hiking in Korea.
A nice view with cloudy weather.
You can see the peak of the mountain in the background - the gray silhouette. It was raining pretty hard at this point; this is around 1800m above sea level.
Joe claims vegetation here is similar to a desert climate; there's also an abundance of pine trees, vicious black crows the size of two hands combined, and deer.
We were soaking wet by the time we approached the base of the mountain again.
View of the mountain from the parking lot and rest area.
We found a cozy tea house on the drive out of the mountains that grew its own green leaf. It was quite beautiful and they offered us free samples of green tea.
Outside the tea house - left signifies god of heaven, right signifies goddess of earth.
And the last photo is the view we had of the beach before boarding the plane back to Seoul Monday morning.