I woke the next morning just before the sunrise, grabbed my camera and tripod, and walked 10 feet to the shoreline. Roxy, our puppy, danced around me and the two of us breathed in the fresh morning air.As the day wore on, sand castles were built, and Coronas were kicked back, I grabbed my camera again to photograph the beauty all around me. Yet again I marveled at the lava rocks that had once flowed from a mountain at the center of this island.
Here’s a picture of Roxy at our campsite on the beach. This was a view from the tent. Gorgeous!Hado beach is known for its cleanliness because fewer tourists visit it. This was the main reason we chose this beach as the second (although the first night we didn’t get to camp) of our camping spots. Not only was the beach clean, but it was perfect for children as the water was crystal clear and as the tide recessed, a sandbar appeared creating an amazing pool for even the youngest of swimmers to play in safely. Despite the blue skies, by the afternoon the winds from Typhoon Goni began to kick up again. The stakes to the tent kept pulling up from the soft sand and so Bill and I decided to pack up shop and head to our next camping spot, Seogwipo Beach. This beach did not have an official camping ground, but it was lonely and beautiful, and since no one was around to tell us otherwise, we decided to make a camping spot of our own.
This, my friends, is the beauty of Korea. Apparently this couple had just gotten married and were now having their marriage photos taken. I snuck in behind the real photographer and snapped a few myself. Even at high noon with no shade, a nightmare for any photographer, these photos show you just how romantic and beautiful the scenery at Jeju is. The mountain behind the couple is Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak). This mountain is famous in Jeju, but I didn’t understand why until I saw it for myself.
After snapping wedding photos I joined Bill at the campsite just 20 feet away. At that moment we heard the distinct roar of jet planes overhead. To our surprise and delight, Korea’s Black Eagles (think America’s Blue Angels) were flying overhead! I drew my camera like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry and snapped what I could in the moment. It was like Korea itself was welcoming us to the beach of Seogwipo!
Here are my kids playing in the beautiful water of Seogwipo Beach.All situated at the beach front, we hopped back into the truck for a quick, five-minute drive to Sunrise Peak. I wanted to hike to the top for a sunset view, which I was told was only a 30 minute trek. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed up the mountain, forest rules and all, so Bill and the youngest kids stayed below while my son and I prepared for the journey.
It may not look like much from the bottom, but at somewhere around 400 nearly vertical steps up to the summit, my son and I could feel the fire in our chest and legs which continued to burn days later. I was panting people. Panting.
But the view at the top was oh, so worth it. Here is what the remains of the volcanic crater look like from the top.
And here is the sunset view. The first picture is the more iconic vantage point. The second shows Mount Hallasan in the distance. Our tent on the beach could be seen from the second picture’s perspective during the daylight.As we turned to head back down the mountain I took one last shot from across the crater. In the distance you can see the moon and the many fishing ships with their lights aglow in the sea. Back at our campsite, Bill grilled steaks and I poured wine.