Jeju Island’s Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak

As I relive my trip through these posts, I’m forever thankful that my three weeks in South Korea were back in October/November last year before our world changed. I’m following the situation in Korea as much as my own country, and marvel at Korea’s latest adaptation I heard on CBC news this morning — Seoul set up a drive-in movie (remember those?) that sold out in ten minutes!

Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak reminded me of The Nut in Stanley, Tasmania

All those months ago, I headed to a 180 metre high tuff cone formed from three separate eruptions beneath its shallow sea around 5 000 years ago. The eruptions grew into an island that slowly eroded away from wave action, and eventually joined the mainland. The crater at its summit was 600 metres in diameter and in the past, people farmed inside the basin.

Malaysians climbing Seongsan Illchulbong Peak
Friendly Malaysian tourists I met on the climb up

This peak was the reason I’d come to Seongsan, so when I reached the base of the mountain that Monday, I was disappointed to discover the trail was closed the first Monday of every month.

Seongsan Ilchulbong crater
Seongsan Ilchulbong crater

Next morning, I returned to spot lines of tourist buses and headed up the not so high, but steep slope. Because of the shape of the mountain, it was named Seongsan, meaning fortress, and that was how it appeared until I reached the summit and looked down into the crater.

Seongsan Isthmus
Seongsan Isthmus

The view of the city and the isthmus below was a bonus. But my exploration wasn’t finished once I descended to the starting point. I was just getting started on that first Tuesday in November, unaware of how different the world would be once I returned to Canada.

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