We have climbed our share of mountains in Korea but Hallasan or Halla Mountain has a claim to fame as the tallest peak in South Korea. Standing 1950m, Hallasan towers over the coast line below.
When we left our hotel on the tropical coast in the morning, the temperature was around 20 degrees Celsius. And, on the coast the flowers were blooming, the leaves had been out for almost two months and shorts were the dress for the day. But, a few short hours later when we reached the end of our trail at 1750m, despite it being mid-day, we were freezing. The temperature had dropped closer to zero and the winds were whipping around us. We were very thankful for a small cabin near the peak where we were able to buy a steaming bowl of noodles and sit in relative warmth to rest.
-Check out the background. Look how far it is down to the coast line.-
As I mentioned earlier Jeju is renown for it's stones, winds and women. Winds, as we experienced up on the volcano, are often strong and can change directions many times during the day. We were happy for our layers.
The many different faces of this mountain vary from easy, rolling hills to steep, craggy cliffs. We also found that the plant life was equally as diverse.
As we started the climb we could look around to see palms and cacti, yet the farther up we ventured the rockier it got and the more wind battered everything looked. Nearer to the top there were beautiful vast prairies, barren and treeless. A few deer scampered about in the safety of the national park. And, the small forests that had survived the elements looked like time warn dwarfs.