Friday, January 26, 2018

the coldest walk

Last night, I walked home in 8°F weather (that's -13.3°C for you metric-heads), which may well be the coldest walk I've ever taken. Right now, at noonish the following day, it's 9°F outside. We've had several days like this over the past few weeks, making this a distinctly colder winter than what we experienced last year—subjectively speaking, at least; I don't have the numbers to compare average temperatures, but I don't recall single-digit temperatures last winter. Hey, any hiccup in global warming is a welcome hiccup to me.

I had plenty of layers keeping my upper body warm for the walk home last night. My face mask proved serviceable, but I think I need to supplement it with my scarf. (I also need to cut away some annoyingly wispy fibers inside the mask that tickle my nostrils whenever I breathe in.) My blue jeans didn't offer any protection against the cold, so I found out what it was like to be one of those poor Korean girls who dance around in miniskirts and heavy coats outside a new store to advertise its grand opening. Yes, you can survive harsh, cold temperatures with cold legs, as long as you keep moving. I plan to take some long walks to begin practicing for a planned wintertime walk to Incheon, so I'll be sure to wear an extra layer over my legs. I don't have long underwear, but I do have my trusty athletic pants. Those will do the trick.

The Incheon walk will take place around mid-February, i.e., right around Lunar New Year (officially, Seollal goes from February 15 to 17), which will give me a whole long weekend to walk There and Back Again. This is over the hump of winter, so I'm guessing that temps will be cold, but somewhat higher than they are now. If I walk in the daytime, I'm thinking it'll be right around the freezing mark, i.e., 32°F or 0°C. I've never walked long distances in the cold before, so this ought to be an interesting experiment. Carrying water in potentially freezing weather will be especially interesting; I'll have to read up on what mountaineers do (probably something involving insulation and/or body heat). Then again, if temps in mid-February prove to be in the 30s, Fahrenheit, freezing might not be a problem.

More on the upcoming walk as things begin to fall together.


Charles said...

There is no comparison between blue jeans and miniskirts. Jeans may not provide much protection from the cold, but having your nether regions more or less open to the elements is an entirely different story.

On that note, I totally think you should do the Incheon walk in a miniskirt.

Kevin Kim said...

I've never done the miniskirt thing, to be sure, but my nethers were pretty damn cold last night.

I'll think about miniskirting my way to Incheon and back. We'll call it The Journey of the Cold Perineum. (Actually, we can't, as I have no thigh gap.)

John Mac said...

Yeah, the difference between right at or just below freezing to what we've had recently is like night and day. Add in a biting breeze and it's just too damn painful for me. Tried again today and after thirty minutes I had to surrender.

Agree that by mid-February things *ought* to be much better. I did read that Tokyo has had it's coldest winter in decades so I'm sure that goes for Korea as well.

We are getting a 4 day weekend this year at USFK (New Year + President's Day). Almost tempted to join you on the hike to Incheon. Almost. Will stay warm and read about it on your blog instead.

Good luck!

Kevin Kim said...

Thanks, John.

brier said...

A link to Korean weather data. You will need to set for the year you want, the city, and weather criteria.


Kevin Kim said...


Cool! Many thanks.

John from Daejeon said...

With how much you dislike heat, I thought you'd be loving these cool temps.

Kevin Kim said...

John from D,

I'm pretty sure we're beyond "cool."