Autumn is one of the best seasons to head out to the coast since not only is the weather cooler but the days are also getting shorter, which means more spectacular sunsets for Taean. When I go hiking, I tend to head out early in the morning and come back early in the afternoon. However, I wanted to see the sunset at Kkotji, therefore the girlfriend, a friend and I headed took the 13:10 bus from Taean bus terminal to Baeksajang. From there we started our 11.7KM hike towards to Kkotji. 3 hours and 20 minutes later, we arrived at Kkotji with the sun slowly making its way down towards the horizon. Since we missed the last bus leaving from Kkotji to Taean (which left at 17:20), we walked our way towards Anmyeong bus terminal and took the bus back into town.
Today, my friends and I went to tackle course 5 of Haebyeongil, which starts at the fishing port of Baeksajang and ends at the scenic beach of Kkotji. This section of trail, which takes around 4 hours to complete. runs through one of the most scenic coastlines in Taean. Some areas of the coastline only reveal themselves during low tide and we were lucky enough to see it. This section of trail is also significant due to the fact that after this section of trail, I can proudly say that I have completed all 100 kilometers and seven sections of Haebyeongil. Now all I have to do is do it all over again.
During the beginning of this week, I've been planning on tackling one of the last two courses of Haebyeongil. It is course number 5, which stretches from Mongsanpo to Baeksajang. According to my weather app. it appeared that Saturday was going to be a clear day with a scattered clouds which was perfect for trekking. Taking the 0650 bus heading to Namyeon, Dylan, Kevin and I headed off. After around a 20 minute bus ride, we arrived at our starting point; Mongsanpo Beach. The trail starts off along the boardwalk and then heads into the woodlands. From there on, we also passed through rice paddies, a weland and a salt farm. Unlike the other sections of Haebyeongil, this section was relatively level which made it easier on our feet. After 4 hours of walking, we arrived at the strait which separated the peninsula of Taean from the island of Anmyeondo.
Today was teacher's day in Korea and I was fortunate enough to have the day off therefore my friend Dylan and I decided to go hiking. The trail we took started from Manripo to Shinduri. The weather started out cold and wet when our bus left the terminal at 0630 but one we arrived at Manripo, the weather started clearing up. It was nice seeing the surroundings all lush green and the butterflies flying about finding flowers to feed on. Although it wasn't too warm, we both did get sunburns. I guess it's time to start putting on sunscreen before hiking. The whole trek took approximately 5 hours and that included time wandering about taking photos.
The first question you might ask is that "why the hell is this trail so damn long?" Well, in fact, it is actually two trails which I decided to do in one go. The reason behind this is because Hwangpo-hang, which is the meeting point of the two trails, is a small fishing village with less than ten buildings and the buses come every two hours, making going back to Anmyeon Bus terminal a pain. My adventure started at 0630 when I took the express bus to Anmyeong Bus terminal. From there I took the 0750 bus to Yeongmok and started making my way up the coastline. There were a few woodlands, beaches and wetlands that I passed through along the way. In total, it took a good 5 hours and 16 minutes for me to finish the 29KM trek. Although the views were spectacular, the consequence of walking 5 hours straight was that my feet were swollen. The last kilometer to the bus stop felt like a life time with my feet in agony. If you would like to tackle this fabulous stretch from Yeongmok to Kkotji or vice versa, do bring a lot of water and something to eat. There aren't that many corner stores on this section of Haebyeongil. Enough chit chat. Please enjoy the photos!
Seeing that the weather was going to the lovely on Sunday, Kevin and I decided to tackle the stretch of Haebyeongil which started at the Hakampo and ended at Shinduri. Know as Pala Gil (바라길), it connects to the Sowon Gil (소원길) at Shinduri. We took the first bus left for Hakampo and 09:30 and half an hour later, we were at our starting point. We started by exploring the harbour and then made our way to the beach. The tide was low enough today that we were able to walk to one of the islands near the coast. The rocks were covered with oysters which made me wish I had a knife with me to shuck these oysters. After being distracted with the abundant amount of free seafood, we headed towards the trail were slowly on our way. We passed through the beaches of Guryepo (구례포), Meondong (먼동) and once we arrived at Neugpa Temple, the trail took us into the woodlands. Once we reached the clearing, we arrived at the Shinduri Sand dunes (신두리 해안사구) which we never really expected to see. After another hour of walking, we arrived at Shinduri and took the 14:25 bus back to town. It took a total of 4 hours to complete the 12 km section. Now that I have finished northern section of Haebyeongil, off to the southern section!
After having a good nights rest from the 22km trail yesterday, I decided to tackle the Pado Gil (파도길), which is a 9km trail starting from the fishing village of Pado and meets up with the Sowon Gil (소원길) at Manripo. With my friend Kevin, we took the 1130 which was headed to Pado. The bus dropped us off at the beginning point of the trail and we were on our way. On route we passed through Pado beach, Eoondul beach as well as a small beach which apparently the locals found gold flakes in the sand. The hike took us through several small hills where we were able to get a panoramic view of the coastline. Once we arrived a Mohang harbour, it was not before long we arrived in Manripo. Not bad for a 3 hour hike on a Sunday afternoon.
Feeling guilty after eating two instant noodles for dinner the night before, I decided to tackle one of Taean's most famous trails, the Haebyeongil's (The Coastal Trail) Manripo to Shinduri section know as Sowon Gil (소원길), which is approximately 22 kilometers. I got up early the next day and took the 0630 bus which headed to Manripo beach and started from there. The trail overlaps with some of the roads so in order to know if you were heading in the right direction required paying attention to the Haebyeongil logo. Along the way I got to visit the beaches of Manripo, Cheonripo and Baekripo and then after a hike over a mountain, I arrived at Uihang. I hiked my way to the northern tip of the peninsula which was called Taebaek Observation Point. From there I got to see my finish point, Shinduri beach, which was still 12 kilometers away. Interestingly, parts of the trail consists of several causeways and seeing that the tide was low today, I was able to walk along parts of the coast line which would have been inaccessible during high tide. Along the trail there are numerous seawalls which I think were constructed in order to reclaim land for farming. By the time, I arrived at Shinduri, I spent a total of 6 hours walking and hiking 21 kilometers from Manripo. Although it was a long walk/hike, this section represents only 1/5 of the Haebyeongil Trail system in Taean. Would I do this section again? Probably not but the other sections are definitely on my to do list once the weather gets warmer.
As some of you may not know, I’m currently teaching in Taean, located in the province of Chungcheongnam-do, off the west coast of South Korea. One thing I love about my job is that on Monday mornings I head off to a small elementary school in the fishing village of Uihang (의항/蟻項) which is situated in a small peninsula north of the well known Manripo beach. Right beside the school there is a trail called the “Haebyeongil (해변길)”
“Haebyeongil,” which literally means “The path by the sea,” is a trail system which more or less follows the coastline of Taean. The Uihang peninsula is part of the “Sowon” section of the trail, which allows hikers to walk along the shores of the peninsula.
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