Sunday, April 30, 2017

Walk Thoughts #125: Day 9, Leg 8 assessment

My current yeogwan gives me a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and little else. These accoutrements come grudgingly, too, because the inn seems to be actively resisting my attempts to do anything meaningful.

Let's start with the bathroom. I wanted to do my laundry in the sink, as I normally do at the end of each day, but my bathroom's sink has no hot water because the hot-water pipe leaks hot water directly onto the floor. Another problem is that the sink's drain won't close.

Let's turn to the main area. The fridge was unplugged when I arrived, so I plugged it in and discovered there were no free sockets left anywhere in the room. So to charge my phone, I unplugged the TV, which I never watch, anyway. Later on, after showering, I wanted to turn on a fan, use the A/C, or open a window. For the fan and A/C, I had the same no-plugs problem. As for opening my room's windows: it appears they're bolted shut.

There's hair visible in the bathtub's drain. There are mysterious crumbs and dust bunnies and other bits of schmutz behind the bedstead. Over the years, I've learned to live with this quality of service without complaining. Instead of kicking and screaming, I go Taoist and find my own solutions.

Besides, it would be unfair to imply that Korean hotels suck while American ones are perfect: I've been in my share of shitty US hotels, too. Some of the ones with brown water coming out of their faucets still haunt my dreams. Oh, and Google "US hotels bedbugs."

Anyway, tonight's accommodations are less than posh, but they'll do.

I arrived in town later than I'd wanted: about 1:30PM instead of 1:00. Today's walk was a mere 22,569 steps. The pedometer recorded 237 minutes of walking, putting me at a step rate of 95.2 steps per minute. Naver said this was an 8.3-mile day; the pedometer said 10.63 miles. I no longer know which to believe. I suspect both are wrong. Lastly, the pedometer estimated 1721 calories burned; I figure the net is more like 1200.

Although I didn't photograph many of them, hotels (plus inns, minbak, etc.) were everywhere along this leg of the walk. Their placement was unfortunate; to stay at any of the hotels I had passed, I would have had to stop far earlier than I had, thus making the next day's walk that much longer.

Speaking of the next day's walk: it is now 16.63 miles long thanks to today's early stop. This isn't bad in itself, but if tomorrow is the day I meet my second mountain, then it's going to be tough. After tomorrow, the final day on the Saejae will be a monster 19-mile walk. I need to call the guest house at the end of that leg and tell them I'd like to book a second night. That's going to push my schedule back another day, but there's little I can do.

I'm still thinking about that fanged deer carcass and the random shotgun-shell casing. It's creepy, sometimes, being out in the boonies.

Before I forget, I've been meaning to mention a couple things. First: I smell horses and horseshit all over the place in the farmland, but I never see any horses. I guess the locals need the byproducts more than the beasts themselves. Second: I wanted to comment that my toshi forearm coverings solve a major problem: shoulder-strap friction and resistance when I'm putting on my backpack. I don't know why my forearm skin disagrees so violently with my shoulder straps, but without the toshi, I have to bounce, jounce, wrestle, struggle, and cajole my straps so as to get the backpack on. The forearm covers are made of a smooth, silky weave, so there's no resistance at all when I'm slipping my pack onto my back.

I can feel my calf muscles strengthening. That's a plus. I must be getting thinner because my leather belt isn't holding up my pants quite as well. That said, I sure don't look any thinner. My resting heart rate, happily, remains in the high 60s. No idea about my blood sugar, but I'm probably not helping it by drinking all my bad-for-you drinks at the end of a walking day. Calorie-wise, I'm essentially on a diet, eating lunch right after arrival. I try not to eat anything after 4PM, mainly because I'm scared to death by the prospect of suddenly having to take a shit while on the road.

The walk still feels doable, but I have a series of difficult days coming up. Once I hit the Nakdong River trail, there shouldn't be any problems with mountains, but the daily legs that I walk will be longer on average, with several legs in the 17-20-mile range. As much as I'm toughening up, anything over 15 miles still produces plenty of aches and pains.

And that's all I have to report for today. May is upon us, along with substantially warmer weather. Today's hike started late, around 9AM, and that may have been a mistake. There's something to be said for hiking when it's cool out, and the sun doesn't yet dominate the sky.

Walk Thoughts #124: today's inn

When I walked through this little one-horse town and found my yeogwan, no one was at the information desk. I called the number on display and spoke with the ajeossi running the place. He told me he was away at some event but would be back around 5:30. In the meantime, since I was alone, I could just walk into Room 203 (not at the end of the hall for once!), settle in, then pay the W35,000 fee once the ajeossi was back.

Gonna do that now, actually.

Walk Thoughts #123: certification center and beyond

I didn't realize this certification center existed until I saw it on Naver Map, barely a kilometer from my destination (Saejae Park Inn). After getting the stamp, it was simply a matter of walking into town. I was a bit late thanks to a break; I arrived in town around 1:30PM.

Two things to note about this set of pics: (1) I encountered yet another Nonghyeop Hanaro Mart, which is making me think that Nonghyeop, known mainly as a bank, is as ubiquitous as a silent mafia, metastasizing throughout Korean society, and (2) I took a pic of what seemed to be a deer carcass, but note the long, evil fang protruding from the deer's face. Is Korea breeding enhanced deer for the next Korean war?

Walk Thoughts #122: graven images

Votive candles and various items of interest to a certain species of Buddhist were on offer as my downhill walk leveled off. A very un-temple-ish-looking temple came soon after, with recorded chanting blaring tackily from speakers. Not long after, I passed by a place that made what I think was traditional Korean paper. It was guarded by stone jangseung, so of course I took some pictures.

About my pictures: my camera is warning me that I'm maxing out its storage capacity, so I'll have to start deleting photos to make room. Since I'm essentially storing these pics online here on my blog, deletion won't be a problem.

Walk Thoughts #121: about halfway

It's Sunday, a week from my disastrous Day 2, and the bikers, those weekend warriors, were out in force again. As I walked downhill, riders blew past me. I worried that they'd have a long way to go if they crashed and needed a hospital. As it turned out (you'll see this soon if you read Korean), there was a hospital at the bottom of the downhill, which made that road a great place to crash.