It is autumn on Jeju Island.
Only a few days ago the temperature gave a sense of early winter setting in.
We say you’ve had a good autumn season if you’ve been able to experience an oreum bathed in a field of oksae (silver grass).
I went with my friends to do just that.
The photographs I’ve included were taken with my cell phone. The one above is in a panorama style. Don’t you think my skills are pretty good?
Actually the view was quite amazing so even though I have no skills the photograph became a work of art all by itself.
At a glance the setting is fantastic. Even more so around sunset.
Images of Sting’s Fields of Gold are evoked. Like the song title you can see figurative fields of gold on Jeju. The melody is very touching and the song swims in my head as I swam in between the silver grass.
The fields also reveal grazing land with cattle.
There are over 1,000 oreum hiking clubs on the island.
Yet only five to six years ago there was little interest in doing this activity or even knowing the how to get to the oreums. Now your car satellite navigation has directions which lead right to the parking lot of your chosen oreum.
Most entrances also have signs with naming origin, historical, and geological information too. Big maps let you know the official hiking routes.
Infrastructure for hiking oreums has really come on leaps and bounds.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Geomun Oreum has become an essential for any Jeju tour. Abuoreum, a filming location with Jang Dong-geon and Go So-yeong, features high on itineraries. Then add in Gum Oreum which is famous for paragliding. Darangshi Oreum is a behemoth waiting to be hiked. Finally, the soft lines and silhouette of Yongnuni Oreum must not be forgotten.
Not too long ago I ventured to the summit of Darangshi Oreum. The endless steepness made me want to give up, but I only had my unhealthy body to blame. I’m not a fit man and I don’t usually workout.
Yet upon making it to the summit everyone exclaims how great it is.
Back on my group outing we actually took in a different group of oreums. Gameok, Geochin Oreum, and Chae Oreum were all on the list for the day’s hike.
It wasn’t a circular route either, so we parked one car at the end to shuttle us back and forth. I think I would have died had we not done this.
The silver grass front of Gameok gave me a feeling of exotic happiness.
Hiking the oreums, on the other hand, was a painful experience. Similar to my situation at Darangshi Oreum the pain was worth it.
When you come down Gameok you can see many east-side oreums at a glance.
Then we hiked Geotchin Oreum which has two craters at the top and a deep valley. Be careful about that.
In general the view was very pleasant.
Finally we climbed the steep side of Chae Oreum which also gave us ample reward after the hard work.
The total distance for the day was 9.57 kilometers over 3 hours and 40 minutes.
We only took short breaks so it didn’t take longer than I expected.
So before the Jeju Island winter sets in please choose an oreum and get out there to explore. Swim among the silver grass before it is too late.
Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jejutr
Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jejutr