Sunday, October 13, 2019

Day 16, Leg 14

I'm not making any big decisions about the future of this walk until I reach the Lee Motel tomorrow and have a chance to examine my pain levels and recovery speed, but if today was any indication, then I'm good to go for the rest of the walk. I don't want to speak too soon, but I felt a lot better this morning after a long night's rest in what turned out to be a surprisingly comfortable, surprisingly well-appointed yeogwan (inn), the Havana across from Nakdan Dam. It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover: the Havana looked smutty and smarmy from the outside, but my room ticked off all the right boxes in terms of the comfort I look for in a yeogwan: a fairly clean floor, a firm bed, a bathroom with no leaky plumbing (kind of hard to find), good interior illumination, a working A/C, and last but not least, an electric socket next to the bed so I can charge my phone while blogging or watching YouTube at the same time. Havana, at W35,000 a night, checked all those boxes, and I think this aided greatly in my recovery. I had the first decent night's sleep that I'd had in several days, and when I woke up, my feet felt a damn sight better than they had the previous night.

So today's walk, which was just under 19K according to Naver Map, was characterized by a generalized ache in the feet, but no severe pain. I'd call that normal. By the time I reached Libertar Pension (where I'm currently enjoying undeservedly sumptuous accommodations), my feet were actually in a much better state than I'd hoped. Yesterday afternoon, I was in so much pain that I was almost afraid to walk around inside my room; today, I'm fully functional. I can't sprint or do jumping jacks without causing myself severe pain, but I can shamble around my current digs just fine.

Today's walk was a straightforward hike along flat terrain, following a path that almost never departed from the Nakdong River. Now that I'm on the fourth and final part of the misnamed Four Rivers Trail, signposts showing the remaining distance to my ultimate destination, the Nakdong-gang haguduk (낙동강 하구둑), the Nakdong River estuary, now appear regularly along the route. I'm somewhere around 260 km away from the end, which puts me well beyond the halfway point of this 633-km walk. 260 km is ten 26-kilometer days of walking, and I have about twelve more days' trekking ahead of me.

So: short-ish walk, flat terrain, little pain. Libertar Pension, next to the Gumi Dam, charged me W120,000 again, but I'm in a bokcheung room, i.e., a large, split-level room with an upstairs sleeping area that I'm not using because I don't want to torture my feet unnecessarily by walking up and down a set of stairs. This is an even larger space than the room I was in last time; the one problem is that there's no wall socket next to where I'm sleeping. Ah, well. You can't have everything, I guess.

The plan is to wake up around 5:30 and be out the door by 6:15 or so, just before sunrise but with the sky already lightening. In the meantime, the main goal is to rest the precious feeties as much as possible. Tomorrow's 32K walk is going to be brutal: a trial of the sole, if you will. But I plan to take my time and rest often during the walk, downing painkillers as needed. If I arrive at my destination very late in the afternoon, that won't be a problem since I'll be staying for two nights.

Before I forget: I finally met a couple who are walking down to Busan as well. They're walking much faster than I am, so I imagine they'll reach the estuary a few days before I do. I wonder how they're going to handle the section just south of Daegu, where there are no towns, and you pretty much have to camp. If they're strong enough and fast enough, they could theoretically walk straight through that 50-some-kilometer stretch and avoid camping altogether. Or maybe they know of places to overnight that I failed to find during my own route research. Anyway, I wish them luck and godspeed.

And now: pics from today.

Saying goodbye to the Nakdan Dam:

I'm guessing these are daisies:

People out and about on a Sunday. I passed by so many riverside parks that I once again thought to myself that, were I ever to get married, I'd have the wedding by a river:

One of the milestones I saw early in today's walk:

Murphy's Law of Bike-path Toilets: there's always a john when you don't need it, and never one when you do:

The countdown continues, although I do question the accuracy of these markers:

Ever closer...

The Busan-bound couple, ere they walked out of sight:

Couches under bridges are a thing in rural Korea:

A lonely church:

This may be the first sign for Daegu that I've noticed. Daegu, South Korea's third-largest city after Seoul and Busan, is now within reach. I have to camp two days in a row once I leave Daegu proper:

Another huge field of cosmos. Hi, Mom:

This is the first time you're seeing this, but I've been taking pictures of these hilariously illustrated swimming-hazard signs. The cartoons of struggling, drowning children just make me laugh and laugh every time I see them. This particular one was egregious for being so blobby and blotchy:

Water, ground, and sky:

This little fellow, below, looks like a combination of a grasshopper and a stick insect. Anyone know its English name? How about its Korean name?

Gumi Dam in the distance:

The dam, but closer:

Walking across:

The Nakdong! How it churns!

I saw this and thought of my buddy Mike, who had asked about "fish ladders" in a post related to a walk along the Tan-cheon. This seems to be the fish ladder to end all fish ladders, and any fish that makes it up the ladder earns the right to rule Korea for a day:

This is my "I really don't deserve this much luxury" face as I take in my accommodations. W120,000 is a steep fee to pay for a one-night deal, but in terms of hotel-level quality, this is a great price considering the pension's facilities and the lovely view of the river that you get. Anyway, as much as I love this place, it really is much of a muchness:

See what I mean about the view? Lookit:

And that concludes today's pic dump. I hope you enjoyed the images and the commentary. Wish me luck for tomorrow. Not that I didn't just do two 32-plus-kilometer days in a row, but any distance over 30K is taxing. Here's hoping I don't end up with yet another blister.


Photo essay:


  1. Good luck! I'm very relieved that yesterday went as well as it did. I was actually worried that the walk would only exacerbate the pain. Good to know that a good sleep seems to be an excellent elixir!

    Onward! One day at a time...

  2. Glad to hear you are feeling better. Things always look much more bleak after a night of camping, don't they?

    I'm going to be in Baltimore for the rest of the week for a conference, so I may not be keeping up with your progress on a day-to-day basis, but I hope to see all the progress you've made when I get back.

  3. Charles,

    Have fun in clean, racially harmonious Baltimore! I'll try to keep myself alive while you're Stateside.


    One day at a time, indeed.