Thursday, April 29, 2021


I've moved the dates of my Andong Dam hike from the week of Children's Day to the week of the Buddha's birthday.  This year, Children's Day is on Wednesday, May 5, and the Buddha's birthday is exactly two weeks later on May 19, which is therefore also a Wednesday.  So I've put in my request to take Thursday the 20th and Friday the 21st off as well, and I'll use four of those five days (or maybe all five days—more on that in a sec) to do the walk.

I finally managed to plot a route from Sangju City to the Andong Dam.  As it stands now, it's a four-day hike along a bike path that loosely follows the Nakdong River.  If you followed my previous adventures along the Four Rivers path, then you may remember that Sangju City is the point where a hiker starting in Incheon leaves the Saejae portion of the trail and finally hits the Nakdong River; from that point on, the Nakdong portion of the path is what a person follows all the way down to Busan.  But for the Four Rivers walker, there's an entire stretch of the Nakdong that he never encounters, and that's the spur that leads east to the Andong Dam.  This is relevant to me because, having seen the signs for the dam since my first cross-country hike in 2017, I've had a years-long interest in walking the Nakdong River east toward Andong City, the capital of North Gyeongsang Province, which is famous—or infamous—for its conservative, traditional nature.  For four years, it's felt like a lost opportunity, never making it out to the dam.  Now, I'm finally going to visit it.

Walk-blog readers might also remember that Sangju City is where I had my unpleasant guest-house experience, so I'll be happy to bus out to the city Wednesday morning (May 19), walk 13.6 km to the Gyeongcheon-dae Motel, then continue onward the following morning—kicking the dust off my feet, so to speak, and leaving Sangju behind.

The route I've plotted is in four segments:

1.  Arrive Sangju City, walk to the Gyeongcheon-dae Motel:  13.6 km.
2.  Walk from Gyeongcheon-dae to the Gangnam Motel:  25.5 km.
3.  Walk from the Gangnam Motel to the Riverside Motel:  14 km.
4.  Walk from Riverside to the Andong Dam:  37.6 km.

So you see the problem:  after three fairly easy days, I suddenly have to walk 37.6 kilometers on the final day.  While I've walked longer than that—I've done 42-, 44-, and 60-kilometer hikes—that doesn't make 37.6 km an easy distance.  As a result, I'm thinking of breaking the fourth segment into two smaller, more reasonable segments of almost 20K each.  

I'll get back to you on what I decide to do.  37.6 km is far from impossible, and since it's also the final segment of the walk, I can simply flop down and rest after the long trek, basking in my victory, for the rest of the weekend.  There's a motel called the Business Motel about two kilometers from the dam, and Andong City's Yongsang Intercity Bus Terminal is within walking distance as well, so I can easily bus back to Seoul the following day.

More later as these plans crystallize.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

Sounds like a great hike. I might even be able to handle day 1 and day 3.

So, in deciding whether to break day 4 into two parts--what gives the most satisfaction? A monster hike and the feeling of accomplishment or a leisurely and pleasurable stroll through the countryside? For me, once I hit 10K or so, it stops being fun. But I'm no Kevin Kim...