Along with getting serious about my diet, I'm going to hit a local tourism office this week to see if I can't get hold of a map of my Seoul-to-Busan Four Rivers route. If I'm not mistaken, the rest stations are represented on a map by 24 dots connecting Seoul to Busan. In refiguring my pace, this means I can, in fact, use one rest stop per night if I overdo things for the first few nights. If all this is true, that's welcome news.*
Realistically speaking, Rest Stop #1 doesn't count: that's my starting point. By the same token, Rest Stop #24 is Busan itself—my destination—so I won't need to count that, either. That leaves only 22 stops to worry about. If I move at a rate of 1.5 stops for the first four days, I'll arrive at Rest Stop #7 on Day 4, and from that point on, I'll just have to walk at a rate of one rest stop per day for the rest of the hike. I need to confirm that this is, in fact, the case, and that I won't be walking myself to death going from stop to stop. If the expat bikers are correct, the stops ought to be no more than 15-20 km apart, which is easily walkable for me, unencumbered, in my present physical condition. Assuming no Murphy's Law, I should be able to connect all 24 dots within 21 days.
I normally get to work late in the morning; my usual start time, these days, is between 10:30AM and 11:30AM, which gives me plenty of time to hit the tourism office around 9:00AM to ask a ton of questions and, I hope, receive an armful of maps. Once I have the maps, I'll be able to study, in some detail, where exactly I'll be going along my route, what the exact distance between stops is, what sort of facilities there are at each stop, and many other crucial bits of information. And once I have all that info, I'll be sure to write another Walk Thoughts post about it.
Stay tuned for more soon.
*A second look at the map shown in this post indicates that I may be able to hit one stop per day and still finish the entire trail in exactly 21 days, taking a train back to Seoul on the day I finish. Some of the dots at the beginning of the trail had fooled me into thinking they were close-together rest stops, but on closer inspection, they've turned out not to be on the trail I'll be following at all. A recount suggests a total of 22 dots, and if I count Rest Stop #1 as Dot 0 (i.e., my point of departure), then I'll reach Dot 21 on Day 21, walking at a rate of one rest stop per day. If I'm right about all this, that would greatly simplify matters.