Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walk Thoughts #76: assessing Day 5, Leg 4

Today's walk was shorter than those of previous days, and it felt shorter, too. The pedometer was only about 1.3 miles different in its measurement of my walked distance (14.97 miles instead of Naver's 13.6). I got to my destination at exactly 1PM, which has given me time to prop my feet up and allow my screaming soles a chance to settle into more of a whimper.

Today's walk deeply impressed me in terms of the river bank and what's possible to see and do in Korea. I finally saw people camping in earnest, and I even passed some campgrounds with precise square gravel plots laid out for people looking to experience the outdoors without doing any real camping. I also saw plenty of fishing, as well as a number of odd riverside structures such as that one mandu restaurant (did you see the photo I took of it?).

As I walked with Eron, I remarked on how Korea is a land of little treasures, not grandiose ones. This is something I've noted on the blog as well: Seoul's charm lies not in huge, famous, in-your-face edifices like the Empire State Building or a memorable structure like the Eiffel Tower, but rather in the things you find when you turn a corner: a tasty hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a tiny art museum, a small shop that wasn't there last year. There are all these little nooks and crannies to explore, and they're always changing. Seoul's charm is also a reflection of Korea itself: mountainous and thus filled with tiny valleys, Korea on the whole has millions of little, humble places to explore: a mountain temple, a restaurant in the boonies that's famous for a regional soup, a tucked-away shrine, or even the eldritch burial mound of some king, still radiating symbolic power. Korea champions the small things; that's its proper domain. And walking along the Namhan River has only reinforced that impression.

Okay, that was a digression, but those were my thoughts as I followed the river today. On to more technical matters.

Today's walk was short enough that I didn't have to change out my phone's battery. I walked 31,108 steps in 315 minutes, according to my pedometer; that gives me a step rate of 99 steps per minute: very peppy, indeed. I hope to do something similar tomorrow: tomorrow's walk is among the shortest on my schedule (Naver says 11.52 miles).

My walk was also short enough that I didn't have to worry about my water supply. My CamelBak and I have a bit of a contentious relationship, and I finally ripped off the obnoxious and perfectly useless cap that covers the mouthpiece. That cap had been popping off at the slightest touch, so I decided that, if it couldn't perform its most basic duty, i.e., protecting my mouthpiece, then I didn't need it at all.  Things improved after the amputation. We have an understanding now.

Tomorrow's walk is taking me to another pension, but from the look of it online, it's a super-expensive one. This will be another walk-in, the way today was, and there's a chance that the place will have no room for Mary and Joseph. If that's the case, I'll camp, but I suspect that an expensive place like that will want the Yanqui's money.

The day after tomorrow, Friday, will be my final day on the Namhan River path. On Saturday, things get real as I leave the rivers and embark on the Saejae trail. Up and over the mountains we go! As I've said many times already, I am so not looking forward to this portion of my walk. Best-case scenario: three days of moving slowly and steadily uphill, followed by a single precipitous day going downhill (my final Saejae day is supposed to be over 19 miles; I'm fervently hoping it's all downhill). I'll be looking at the contour lines on Naver Map to confirm all this. It was Naver that alerted me to today's hilliness.

In other news: based on how I look in the mirror, I haven't lost much if any weight. My resting heart rate, though, is down to a very healthy 68 beats per minute, which means I'm receiving some sort of benefit from all this exercise. As I wrote earlier, I'm not expecting any weight-loss miracles. 2008 showed that I could lose over 50 pounds and still be fat. (Then, of course, there's the matter of regaining all that weight...)

One day at a time. My feet already feel somewhat better; I think they'll be ready for more abuse tomorrow.

En avant!

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