Sunday, October 24, 2021

how Saturday went

The big takeaway from Saturday's walk is that I fucked up my shoulder, so things are even worse, now, than they'd been before. There was a moment during the walk from Gyeongpo Beach to Jeong Dong Jin Beach where I wanted to step off into a secluded part of the woods to take a piss, but I slipped on some mud and nearly fell on my ass. I saved myself by flailing my arms desperately and instinctively, but my right arm, for months now, hasn't been able to go much above shoulder height. When I flailed, my right arm went almost straight up, and I felt something massive inside my shoulder give a big, meaty click, immediately followed by some surprisingly intense pain. If my range of motion had been bad before Saturday, it's far worse now, and I may just have to visit an orthopede to see what's up and what can be done. Anyway, despite my yowling shoulder, I was able to grin and bear the final 11 km of what turned out to be close to a 25- or 26-kilometer walk (originally 24 km), all because JW was in the mood for Chinese, and there was no Chinese food to be found close to the shore.

JW and I took a 7:20 a.m. bus out to the coast, hitting Gangneung Terminal a bit after 10 a.m. We goggled at the beach for a bit (it was cleaner than I remembered) before heading off, and while the first few hundred meters went alongside the impressive Gyeongpo Lake, there was a ton of traffic right from the very beginning, and JW complained about the noise. I had billed this segment of my walk, i.e., Day 6, as the prettiest part of the whole thing—which I still believe—but I felt bad because I knew "prettiest" was true only according to the rather low standards of the east-coast walk as a whole. The walk had been nothing but noise and traffic and pollution and civilization, punctuated with some genuinely beautiful moments, but not enough to salvage the journey in my mind. (If you read my walk postmortem, you know I'm no longer interested in any further coastal treks.)

I had forgotten that several of this walk's most interesting sights all happened within the last six or so kilometers—a warship exhibit (with North Korean submarine), a Buddhist temple (where I refilled my water bottle with some mineral-tasting spring water), and a Korean War memorial for fallen civilians all appeared in rapid succession. In my memory, they were spaced farther apart, but in reality, they were all almost next door to each other.

I had also forgotten how often the walk would force a person to play in traffic. JW and I had to hop from one side of the street to another on several occasions, just to be able to walk on a road shoulder. I mentioned to him that it's good he hadn't brought along his kids for this hike; their mother would have flown into a rage had she discovered how dangerous the walk was.

So the Day 6 segment, this time around, didn't quite hold up to my memory of it, and JW declared, at the end, that the walk was "okay" except for the really trafficky part at the beginning (traffic I hadn't seen the first time around because I had started off a little before 5:30 a.m.). I came away from the walk with mixed feelings, and JW didn't appear entirely satisfied. At one point, he wistfully brought up Jeju Island again. I mentally rolled my eyes because I think JW may be harboring a postcard-style fantasy of what these walks are supposed to be like. I have a feeling that the Jeju Island walks wouldn't impress me as much as they impressed JW, especially with Jeju now as manicured and tourist-friendly as it is.

Here's the one pic I took this time around—JW at the beach:

This might not have been the best walk we've done, but it was a good, solid 25-ish kilometers (that extra distance being caused by the desire to find Chinese food).

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