In search of an oreum

I started along this fifteen kilometre trail in Jeju’s Saryeoni Forest, but planned to hike only five kilometres into the forest to reach Mulchat Oreum. This volcanic parasitic cone was where Hwaguho Lake, a crater lake was located on its flat summit.

Graves near the entrance to Saryeoni Forest, Jeju
Graves near the entrance to Sayeoni Forest, Jeju Island

I entered the forest and could see why this was a popular spot. Tall pines hid the sun. But as I walked deeper into the forest, there were hornbeams, dogwood, snowbells, maples, cedars and cypress that gave a sense of the forest’s name translated — a holy place.

Saryeoni Forest, Jeju
Saryeoni Forest trail, Jeju Island

The path was wide and the incline slight, but when I reached the turn off to Mulchat Oreum I was told it was closed. Not only was I disappointed, but also at a loss to understand why this information hadn’t been supplied at the beginning of the trail. Perhaps it may have been to Koreans who made up the bulk of the hikers.

I’m not giving up on seeing an oreum, at least not yet. Perhaps I’ll try the other side of the forest on a different trail. Third time I have to be lucky!

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