One hundred metres from Chunwangsa Temple within Hallasan National Park was Seokgulam Trail leading to a hermitage. Situated in the Aheumanhopgol Valley, this was only a 1.5 kilometre hike one way, but it was steep and the steps were often amongst tree roots.
At the beginning of the trail, chanting from Chunwangsa Temple flowed through the trees. When the prayers could no longer be heard, the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind and an occasional birdcall were all that disturbed the silence of the forest.
This Jeju Island trail didn’t offer a vista at the summit, but before reaching the last couple of hundred metres that descended to the hermitage, the chanting grew loud. This was an ideal location for solitude. A huge wall of rock ended the trail lined with trees of all shades. Sadly, the hermitage building did not seem to fit in this peaceful setting.