Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Big Walk 2! ...coming soon...?

I don't know what my work circumstances will be like a few months from now, but I've decided to plan for another big north-to-south walk next year, preferably before I turn 50. The big question is whether I'll be doing the same Seoul-to-Busan walk I did last year, or that east-coast walk from Gangneung(-ish) to Busan. The latter trail is over 700 kilometers long, making it a few days' walk longer than the Gukto Jongju trail with which I'm familiar. That trail took me 26 days to walk; were I to walk it this time, my waypoints would no longer be the certification centers: they'd be the various hotels, motels, and guest houses (excepting one guest house) at which I stayed last year. There's going to be a lot of, "Remember me? From two years ago?" as I book my overnights.

Knowing what I now know about trans-Korea walking, I'll be traveling significantly lighter. No fucking MREs this time—that was a fiasco. I might take along a bag of Soylent for emergencies, but Soylent is also heavy because it's a densely packed powder, so I'll have to think about whether it's worth it. As many commenters pointed out, rightly, there are places to eat at almost every stop, and at those stops where there's nothing to eat, well, I can just tough it out with water until the next day, or the day after that. That's not a big problem at all.

The walk took 26 days last time; if I start at Incheon, the walk will take at least 28 days, assuming I take the same number of extra rest days (3) as last time. I recall Day 2 of last year's big walk as being the day I got my huge blister—the one that plagued my foot for the entire rest of the walk. On the weekend of December 15, I'm going to walk east toward Paldang Dam and beyond, recapitulating the first two days of last year's walk, and possibly tempting fate by inviting another big blister. I'm thinking, though, that by walking smarter and traveling lighter, I might avoid entering the Blisterhood of the Traveling Kevins. Day 2 was also the day I got pretty sunburned; it wasn't long afterward that Charles suggested, in a comment, that I buy gear like those toshi (sleevelets, manchettes for cyclists). I ended up getting both the toshi and a hat, and that made a huge difference over the rest of the trail.

For the moment, I'm going to plan and train as if I'm doing this walk, but I don't really know whether my new boss will be amenable. It could be that, at the last moment, I'll be told that I can't take a month off. If so, so be it, and I'll find other ways to spend whatever free time I have. Ideally, my old boss, who says he is now campaigning to get his team back, will in fact get us back sometime before next spring, in which case it'll be far easier to persuade him to let me go. All of that is up in the air, so all I can say is, "We'll see."

But it's always nice to have a goal to work toward, something to live for. Agent Smith was right: it's purpose that guides us, drives us, defines us, and binds us.

ADDENDUM: great info on the east-coast bike trail here.


Charles said...

I would do the coastal trail--the east coast has all the beautiful coastal scenery (which we've seen together, or at least some of it, if memory serves).

Kevin Kim said...

Which reminds me: I never finished slapping up all those Pohang pictures. Christ, that was years ago. Dammit.