Friday, May 07, 2021

the crazy walk starts tonight

You've seen enough photos from previous crazy walks to know how it goes, right?  You don't need me to take more photos this time, do you?  Tell you what:  I'll leave you with a map of my walking route.  Click on the image below to super-size it.

Green = start; red = destination. Total distance = about 60 km.
Route starts in Seoul, goes east along the Han and passes by Hanam City, then ends at a riverside motel in Yangpyeong City.

I'll be leaving my place tonight around 10:30 p.m.  If the walk goes the way it normally does, I'll arrive at my destination—a motel by the river in Yangpyeong City—around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.  Assuming all goes well.

I'm taking advantage of a narrow gap between rain events:  it rained this morning (Friday), and it'll be raining again on Monday.  Friday night will be awesome for a nighttime walk, and Saturday will be sunny, with a high of 73°F (22.8°C).  I won't be taking much with me, except for some water, some basic toiletries for when I'm at the motel, and my hat and toshi for dealing with sunshine.  No walking stick this time around; it'll be just me and my big belly.  I'll head back to my place Sunday morning.

Today, I'm leaving work early:  there simply isn't anything for me to proofread right now because I have to wait for the in-house designer to print out pages for me to go over.  The designer's going as fast as he can, but he's still slower with this current textbook than with the previous one, and we're getting behind schedule.  As a result, I don't know whether I'll be able to do my Andong Dam walk the week of the 19th; it's looking as though I'll have to push the walk forward yet another week.  

Late May is not a good time to be out distance walking; the weather is very hot because the leading edge of summer will have arrived in earnest.  June is worse; July is horrible; August is a hell of heat and humidity, and even September—when the heat starts to abate—is pretty hot.  I'd rather walk earlier, not later, but that may not be possible, so... late May it is.

No matter.  Tonight, I begin the crazy walk to Yangpyeong.  That's enough for the moment.

UPDATE:  holy shit.  The air quality is at worse-than-Beijing levels right now:  the average for Seoul, at this very moment, is 623.*

Sorry, but I'm not walking in that.  Crazy walk canceled.  Fuck.  I'll look at the AQI again tomorrow and decide whether to do the crazy walk Saturday night.

By the way, Beijing, right now, is at 184.  Bad, but not Seoul-bad.

UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.:  the AQI for Seoul just went up to 714.  Can this be real?  (By the way, I'm beginning to think the AQI site's official AQI number isn't an average:  it's a maximum.  By that reckoning, the lowest number in the locality is 530, so the median for the Seoul area is 622.  Still pretty damn ugly.)

UPDATE 2, 3:10 a.m. (5/8/21):  ROK Drop says we're in the middle of a Gobi Desert yellow-dust storm.


*If you look at the numbers, though, you don't see many flags above 600.  (For purposes of scale, a score under 50 is "green" level, i.e., healthy.  600 is unimaginably bad.)  I suspect the AQI is still at hazardous levels, but it's more like the high 400s or the low 500s.  Still bad, so I'm still canceled.  Sorry, folks.  I had hoped to have a story to tell.  Maybe next time.


John Mac said...

So that's what having a rug pulled out from under you feels a reader I mean.

Yeah, on my list of things I DON'T miss about Korea, yellow dust is near the top. Breathing that shit on an overnight hike would not be healthy--good call to cancel.

Charles said...

Yeah, probably a good idea not to walk in that. We were going to go out for dinner last night but decided not to.

Kevin Kim said...


Thanks for the comments. Indeed, I'm thinking I dodged a bullet. I am, however, getting paranoid enough to seriously consider getting an air purifier for my apartment. We had a record-breaking dust storm just a few months ago; AQI was almost 1,200 in the Daegu area. Scary. If these storms happen with any frequency, I probably will be buying a purifier soon.

A former coworker of mine, concerned about his little daughter, is considering moving back to the States because of the severe air-quality problem. Can't say I blame him. And what a shame that would be: Korea's a fantastic place to live... if not for the bad air.