(Contributed by Alana)
One day in Jeju, we climbed the tallest mountain called Mount Halla. It’s actually the highest peak in all of Korea and an active volcano. My friend didn’t tell us much about it, so I was a bit underprepared for such a long hike!
We began at the base of the mountain. We climbed uphill through a thick forest for about 3 kilometres. This was very tough – the steps were uneven and there were rocks everywhere that were very easy to slip on or trip over. Luckily, the forest kept us in the shade so we didn’t have to worry about being too hot in the sun!
The next part of the hike was still uphill, but in an open area. The trail was much easier to walk on as well. From here, we could see down the mountain. There were dozens of “oreums”. “Oreums” (a Korean word) are large hills that are formed when the pressure underground is too high when the volcano explodes. We could also see down into the city below us. The view was breathtaking!
We climbed a few more kilometres up on this path and arrived at the first peak. It took us a total of about three and a half hours to climb to the top and we ended up 1800 metres high. There was another trail that led to the very top of the volcano, but this would have taken a total of about 10 hours, so we decided that the first peak was good enough!
We took a different trail to climb down, and it was about 2 kilometres of wooden steps going downhill on the side of the mountain. I’m afraid of heights, so it was very scary to be on the edge of a cliff! But looking over the side of the mountain gave us some beautiful, scenic views.
The total hike took about five and a half hours. We were exhausted by the end of it, and I think my legs are still sore even a few weeks later!