Sunday, September 23, 2018

Incheon Walk 3, Day 2: along the Ara

Most of Day 2 is dominated by the 15-kilometer walk along the Ara Canal. That's about half the total distance walked on Day 2 (another 30ish-kilometer day). The canal isn't totally straight, but it's close: it's straight enough to look man-made when you stare down at it on a map. The next photo gives you an impression of that straightness:

This was a new sight for me, so I had to get a picture: a boat of significant size, plying the canal! Having walked this path twice before, I had never seen such a thing, and I'd begun to think that maybe the canal was too shallow to allow for the passage of anything other than small, light boats. Now I know I'm wrong. This was impressive. And as I was walking along, I saw banner ads, spread out on the safety railing separating me from the water, advertising things like lunch and dinner cruises along the canal, as well as a "music and fireworks" cruise. Despite the ads, though, I didn't see any other water traffic today, aside from one tiny boat.

Another squat orb-weaver that's recognizable to Americans. This one was a biggie, and if you blow the image up enough, you can even see the hairs on its legs. Sexy.

Here it is again:

I saw this praying mantis on the ground while I was walking along. It was moving very slowly forward while weaving—almost vibrating—side to side, as if it were palsied or thoroughly inebriated. I had to wonder how healthy it was—a thought that came back to me when I saw a dead mantis later on (picture pending). Actually, I've seen mantises move like this before; I think it's probably normal, but I'd have to verify that. This one was a good six inches long:

More relentless straightness:

And now, a true Korean orb-weaver:

I had to pat myself on the back for the above pic: you can enlarge the image and see quite a bit of detail, even though the picture isn't completely in focus. I didn't even need to put my hand behind the spider to take the pic: by some miracle, my camera actually managed to focus right on the spider... maybe because it was so large.

There are many, many bridges crossing the Ara Canal, so here's one of them:

I took a rest not far past the bridge. A convenience store, located under the bridge and managed by a nice old man, was selling Orangina, so I grabbed two bottles of my favorite French soda, along with a Snickers. As with the previous day, I walked three hours, rested 30 minutes, then walked another 2.5 hours or so and rested about 25 minutes before doing the last part of the hike. My feet were a bit achier this time, but I still have no outstanding blisters or abrasions on them.* Thanks to my new, Spandex-y, boxer-style briefs, I don't have to worry about my thighs rubbing and chafing each other. I have, however, developed some light abrasions under my armpits thanks to my man-boob fat and my fatty upper arms: all that arm-swinging takes its toll after several tens of thousands of steps. I might have to buy one of those short-sleeve Under Armor shirts; my buddy Tom raves about that company.

*This may be because I'm traveling light, so there's little pressure on my feet. The backpack itself is, aside from my three liters of water, the heaviest thing I'm carrying. And knowing what I now know about walking across South Korea, I doubt I'd add much weight to the pack aside from some light camping gear and some dried food.


Charles said...

All mantises naturally sway from side to side, although no one knows exactly why. I've read that it might be to mimic the sway of leaves in the wind (i.e., as camouflage), but that sounds a bit weird to me, to be honest.

Kevin Kim said...

Do they normally sway fast or slowly? This one looked almost jittery.

Charles said...

I've seen all sorts of movement in mantises (there were a lot where we used to live in Yongin), both fast and slow, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you what normal is.