Ulsan Coast

I went to one beach in the city of Ulsan, called Ilsan beach, the first weekend I came to Korea, back in October. It was still more or less beach weather at that time. Ilsan beach is not in the main drag of Ulsan, which is more full of lights, department stores and places to eat or drink, but accessible via a bus route that takes you past a huge, industrial stretch of Hyundai factories and warehouses.

This beach is found downhill, and has a number of school children hanging out on Saturdays, and a bunch of families on folding chairs, set up to fish, on Sundays. Off in the water, you can see the huge, boxy industrial ships either getting ready to dock, or off to send their manufactured goods elsewhere. The only people really going into the water are little kids.

Even more interesting is the park next to the beach. You must walk up about a hundred concrete stairs to ascend to it. Once there, it is completely carved with paths and benches. They even set up wired megaphones attached to trees that play music while you are walking around. The best way to enjoy this park is to hike throughout, and then find a comfortable spot to admire the rock formations and sea.

This last weekend, I made it to Bugku,which is a northern coastal outskirt region of Ulsan. This time, I ventured there on the back of a scooter. This trek to this destination involved more freedom and access to viewing scenery of green hills and flat farmlands, but as it is December, it was also full of strong winds and numb limbs.

Upon arrival, this coastal part of Bukgu was a pleasant, simple little beach spot. The beach it self was full of round stones, so it is best to navigate using hiking boots. The crowd there was mostly families in wind-resistant jackets who drove down to check out the water, shiver, walk back to their cars, kick the sand off their shoes, hop in and drive away to a warmer place.

There was one specified wall of rock formations, plus a plaque of geological explanation that I fail to recall.

Bugku also featured also one lone fisher standing straight on an empty spot of the beach, trying to make his catch of the day in the icy, salty air and endless blue horizon.

101 and Beach Rocks

Another factor of my recent excursion was going throughout the Southern Oregon Coast via US Route 101. This route is set up on the Pacific Coast of this country, and a lot of its course almost touches the ocean, but some of it is a bit inland. As there is nothing like this road on the East Coast, this magical route is still a novelty for me, and I love exploring it in new sections  each time I am near the ocean.

We drove up Route 101 from Arcata, California, to the Oregon border, where we stopped in the small town of Brookings. An elderly gas station attendant recommended us to follow the signs to a coast guard station in order to access the beach.

We backtracked on 101 over a bridge, and drove down the hill to a small parking lot loaded with RVs and trucks. Some people were enjoying barbecues under awnings, and others were comparing stories about their traveling dogs. With all of these large vehicles, I thought it looked very American.

Of course the salty breeze, cold waters, rigid rock formations and sandy surface were extremely refreshing after a long car ride, but the most interesting part of this beach was this weird overlook area on top of a cliff. There was a lighthouse, two American flags, and a statue that seemed to replicate the over-arching Jesus I have seen in photos from some famous park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was a fan of this unusual combination.

After the big cat zoo, we also stopped by the coastal part of Bandon, Oregon. The arching geological formations looked very sharp, the air was cold and strong, and some of the rocks were engulfed by shellfish on their surfaces. It was definitely not much of a tourist spot, and seemed to be frequented by locals and their canine companions who came out dressed in outer wear, trained to protect themselves from the elements.

We also stopped in some area around Coos Bay, Oregon, which I’ve seen as a designated dot on state maps many times before. It took a while to get to an actual beach spot, with a lot of winding through commercial strips with stores all closed for Sunday, followed by sharp turns that led us to roads lined with different RV parks.

We finally got to some small beach enclosure. There were a few women actually going into the shallow cold water, who appeared to be shivering in their bikinis and huddling into themselves for warmth.

We went off to a rock formation area, and I was happy I decided to wear my hiking boots, as its hard surface was all caked with holes of surprise mud. Though very aesthetically stimulating, it smelled somewhat like rotted seaweed and the oil from canned anchovies. Nevertheless, we were able to ignore the stench, climb up a rock and enjoy lunch with a view.