Thursday, July 12, 2007

Namsan at 3AM

It never fails. Just when you think you've got the mountain all to yourself, along come the old folks.

It's rare for me to have a perfectly person-free hike up the mountain. Around 3AM, the grandmas and grandpas come out and tackle Namsan. I'm not sure where they start from, but I imagine that many of them have to walk about the same distance I do just to reach the mountain. The fact that the old folks are out there so consistently suggests to me that at least some of them do this hike even more often than I do. Much to my shame. Ever been out-walked by a 70-year-old? That happened to me once. Actually, it was in broad daylight and it happened while I was doing my old route up the mountain-- the one that starts at Beotigogae Station, leads past the National Theater, and winds its way up the mountain's flank opposite the way I now come.

Quite a thing for old folks to be able to walk safely in a large downtown park at 3AM.

Part of my route last night took me up my old "ass-kicker" stairs-- the Koreanische Philosophenweg. I missed the rain; the heat and humidity were already beginning to return as I started my walk, so I was a sweaty mess by the time I got to the top of the Philosophenweg. I started down and pondered doing the huge library steps, but wussed out at the last moment and turned for home instead. I had already been up the "easy" route, so 1.75 times up the mountain wasn't all bad. But it's obvious I'm still not quite ready for the full-length ass-kicker route. Not long from now, I will be. I'll be doing all 1100 steps-- twice in one session.

But not yet. Not yet.


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