Jeju, Day 3: Hallasan

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My third and final full day on Jeju Island dawned with beautiful weather. No rainclouds were in sight, although the humidity was still high. I would be hiking Mount Halla, South Korea’s tallest mountain. Mount Halla is a massive volcano that forms the majority of Jeju Island and is often thought of as representing the island itself. In fact, it was eruptions from Mount Halla that built the island above sea level. Hallasan was active until about 25,000 years ago.

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Mount Halla, seen from a distance.

My journey would take me 19 kilometers up and down the mountain. The scenery along the way was beautiful and only got more so as I neared the top.

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The journey began at 6:45 in the morning.

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The vegetation got more rugged higher up. I love the look of these white, windswept trees.

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Looking up towards the peak.

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A little friend joined me on my hike.

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Just as the peak was in sight, a heavy fog rolled in and engulfed the top of the mountain. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see the peak but after about 20 minutes, the fog cleared and revealed Hallasan’s magnificent summit.

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The mist starts rolling in.

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Climbing to the peak.

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Up into the fog.

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A stone marking the peak.

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The fog begins to clear.

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A large volcanic crater tops the mountain and holds a crater lake (although this was dry when I was there). The Korean name of the lake translates to “White Deer Lake,” which comes from a legend about otherworldly men who descended from heaven to play with white deer.

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The magnificent summit of Hallasan is revealed.

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The hike was exhausting and the trail back down seemed to go on forever so I was relieved when I finally emerged from the mountain path and hopped on a bus back to Jeju City in the north.

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Beginning the descent.

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Mountainside cactus.

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Evidence of Hallasan’s powerful winds.

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The summit seen from below.

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A beautiful valley I walked through on the way down.

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The next day I would take a plane back to the Korean mainland. I had a marvelous time in Jeju—what a truly stunning place!

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The view from the plane on the way back to the mainland.

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