A Korean vocabulary of the day:
Geochin (adj): wild, rough or strenuous
* A Friendly Message from this Content Creator:
I come before you to make an honest confession before writing.
I never really wanted to hike an Oreum. I just wanted to go roe deer-watching and left for Roe Deer Observation Center and just took a wrong turn and ended up by the Oreum. When there was a notice board to show the walking trails and Oreum trails, I really should have turned away.
Team Daily Jeju *
To get this wild Oreum, you need to purchase an entrance ticket to the Roe Deer Observation Center. It's only 1,000 won. You get to see some roe deer and hike an Oreum and this is the moment you feel like you're spending such a productive day. Upon entering the center and watch deer romp around the field, you will see an iron gate. Pass this gate to see the wooden stairs to a crossroad. The left leads to the Ecological Observation Trail and the right leads to the Geochin Oreum.
Reading the name of Geochin Oreum or this strenuous Oreum is already making me be out of breath. The strenuousness of the Oreum surely is a problem, but the total time to go and be back takes a little long. As this is the Oreum located on the center of the Roe Deer Observation Center, you gave to walk around at least the full half in order to even get to the entrance off the Oreum. We kept walking until we got to the entrance.
The walk to Oreum is far from being tedious. There's much to see but the problem is that the roads are not very well maintained. Maybe it is to protect the roe deer but the seeing wild silver grass and other weeds tell me that this area isn't being managed. And because this wild weed that has grow so high that blocks my view from seeing how far I've come. There is hardly any traffic of visitors coming or going to the Oreum and the sound of the roe deer romping and birds flying away might terrify you.
Just when you think you have reach the summit, the road continues. Sometimes, there will be downhill but not for long. After endless uphill battle to the summit, you will finally see a board that says, "Way to Geochin Oreum." Dun dun! [Dramatic stare] I am having a problem grasping all this. Haven't I been hiking the Geochin all this time? Right side is to the way down and keep continue to the Geochin Oreum. Just the moment I thought, "well, I made it this far," is the moment I had regretted until I lied down on my comfortable bed and fall asleep.
One thing a first timer should beware is that it is difficult to see any map boards with "you are here" indicator. So it's difficult at times to see if you're on the right track making the hike uneasy and longer than it actually is. And this is the Oreum inside the Observation Center, which makes it more natural and wild. The steps along the trail also a bit old and worn out and there are parts of the trail where the fallen leaves haven't been raked for long. Every time I saw the direction to the summit, I was in the biggest conundrum whether to continue or not. Well, if they hadn't been post every 50m (165f), just enough to give me false hope, or I would have turned back down.
The view from the summit wasn't bad. Neighboring Hallasan, you can see Baekrokdam from a distance. Turn around to see 4•3 Peace Park and Jeolmul Recreational Forest. And without crowds of tourists, the summit is very quite and serene. Lying down to get some rest from the rough hike and getting a fresh breath of air is just perfect. When the weather is nice, you can visibly see the light shining through the clouds across the greenery (or crepuscular ray. Yes, there's a word for that). The summit of the Oreum is filled with the wild silver grass which would make the autumn be ideal time for this hike.
Before hiking down, there signs that says, "Roundabout (or 순환로)" and "The Way Down (or 내려가는길)." Beware, as the Roundabout doesn't mean a Roundabout by the Recreational Forest, but Roundabout at the summit. It leads you to a trail that tours about 200 m at the summit. Little did I know this was leading back up, I collapsed crying.
The way back down will lead you to the Roe Deer Observation Center walking trail. You'll have to walk the same out out to exit the forest. It was my original plan to see the 4•3 Peace Park and Jeolmul Recreational Forest but I quickly got on the bus and came home. Want to know why? Make sure you see it for yourself.
Geochin Oreum (Overall :★★★)
Location: San 66, Bonggae-dong, Jeju-si
If you enjoy peaceful and long walk in the forest, this Oreum is highly recommended. Imagine a scene from the Japanese animation, Spirited Away.
Getting there by foot/public transportation :
[Bus] 343-1 at the Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal
Getting there by car : ★★★★★
Geochin Oreum is better if you are leaving from Jeju-si side. As mentioned earlier, 4•3 Peace Park and Jeolmul Recreational Forest is nearby and the Oreum is insider the Roe Deer Observation Center, so there are much to explore around. If you don't have much time in Jeju, starting in this area may be a great idea.
Difficulty : ★★★
it feels far from being organized. You can almost see the difference of maintenance level between the Roe Deer Observation Center and the Oreum. The view has much to be enjoyed but the hike doesn't.