Wednesday, November 12, 2014

20.2K, and the mountain almost all to myself

The nice thing about cold weather on the mountain is that it weeds out the fair-weather pussies and leaves just us crazies. Things got cold in a hurry here in Seoul; in a matter of days, I went from short sleeves to wearing a coat, liner, hat, scarf, and gloves.*

That's how I bundled up tonight. After several frustrating days of level-ground hiking to Gwanghwamun and back (not very entertaining, but certainly educational in terms of learning downtown geography), I was impatient to get back on sloped ground to keep working my heart and lungs. My cold is still with me, but I think I have it under control thanks to an unrelenting bombardment of meds.

So tonight I single-summited Namsan and managed to walk a total of 20.2K steps for the day. My average, which until a few days ago had sagged down to 12K steps per day, is now back up to 13.8K. I'll hit 14K soon, perhaps within a day or so, and do my best to get my November average closer to 15K, if at all possible.

I still need to buy proper gloves. I did actually buy myself a pair the other night at the local Peace Market (pyeonghwa-shijang), but they turned out to be crap, and I ripped them accidentally, so no refund possible. Luckily, they weren't expensive, so it's no big loss. Pretty soon, I'm going to want to buy a face mask to replace (or supplement) my scarf. A naughty part of me wants to buy a Bane-style winter face mask instead of a normal one.

Despite the extra protection, tonight's walk up the mountain was rather cold. The only gloves I had were those ajeossi-style work gloves—the kind with the flimsy cotton weave and the palms painted with red rubber. I made an interesting discovery while wearing those gloves: I can use my smartphone with them. No need for fancy, high-tech fabrics that interact well with a haptic interface: rubber on the screen works just dandy.

Along with being cold, tonight's walk was fairly lonely, but that's the way I like it. I saw maybe six people, total, while I was ascending and descending the mountain. A few buses passed me, and the usual complement of Chinese tourists was still milling about and jabbering at the very top, but the ascending bus route was largely devoid of anthropoid life. Almost no hominids but this big one. I did, however, see one crazy, gray-haired Korean dude who tromped his way up the mountain while I was on my way down. I had to admire his fortitude: his head was totally unprotected. I'd have caught pneumonia had I tried the same trick.

So! Gloves. Real gloves. And a face mask. Those are what I need to shop for next, and then I'll be totally set for Namsan. My newly purchased winter hat isn't bad, although I noticed that it does a terrible job of retaining heat when the wind starts to bluster. I can supplement the hat by wearing my windbreaker, which has a nice hood. (Heh: wind. Break.)

*This means that people from New England, Montana, and Canada will think of me as a fair-weather pussy, too. As is only just.




Charles said...

As you know, I originally hail from upstate New York, and I can assure you that it has been bitterly cold the last couple of days. I'm going to need to start wearing my ear muffs--my ears nearly froze on the walk to school this morning.

So you won't be hearing any fair weather pussy comments from me.

Kevin Kim said...

One of my colleagues from Daegu Catholic hails from Maine. In just this sort of weather, I've seen him ambling around outside in shorts and short sleeves.

Charles said...

Once upon a time, I used to walk around in short sleeves as well. I think that stopped when I hit my thirties.