Friday, October 18, 2019

Day 21, Leg 18

It rained all day. That sucked. Having looked at the radar, though, I think that's it for the next little while. This was a massive system that blanketed a large portion of the peninsula, but it's all blowing eastward now. The forecast for tomorrow is partly cloudy, but no rain. So a man can hope.

I took very few pics as a result of the nasty weather, but I'll slap up a few of the ones I have.

Two years ago, the rains came right around this phase of the walk. Cold rain is the most demoralizing condition for me to walk in (although I admit I've never tried walking in shoulder-deep wet snow during a blizzard); I guess I should be thankful that today's precipitation was more cool than cold, but it sucked all the same.

That said, I dodged two major bullets: (1) I didn't have to walk up the horrible switchback next to Mushim-sa (No-mind Temple), and (2) I found an alternative to camping. Naver Map took me on a different route this year: there's a spot about 7 km before Hapcheon Changnyeong Dam where the bike path splits. I may have seen the sign for this split back in 2017 and opted to follow the temple-bound route; I can't remember. Instead, this time around, Naver guided me along a different route that completely skirted the local mountain and kept me on relatively flat ground. Unfortunately, the route took me along some very muddy farm roads, but the lack of a hill was worth the sludge. (Accept every hill, yes, but don't go masochistically begging for hills when there are non-hilly options available!) Once I made it to the dam after my 32K trudge, I opted to hop into a waiting truck to go to a local yeogwan, the Jeok Gyo Jang (적교장 모텔). The driver will put me back where he found me tomorrow morning (for a fee), so no harm, no foul. This isn't like the disastrous guest-house experience in 2017, when I got trucked to a completely different guest house and was left feeling fairly trucked in the ass.

So: one more night of relative luxury before I'm obliged to camp. This place advertises itself as a "bike-tel," which seems to mean that they offer extras like laundry services to tired, smelly athletes. I normally hand-wash my clothes in the bathroom sink, so I wasn't about to let the yeogwan lady touch my stuff.

If I'm not mistaken, tomorrow's walk ought to be relatively flat (today's walk sported some forgotten hills, but they weren't too bad), but Sunday's walk is one long symphony of pain. I'm going to earn my rest when I reach Namji-eup and stay there for two nights.

Unless some suck-ass weather blows in next week, today ought to have been the worst of the inclement conditions. And after Namji-eup, it's essentially a long, flat sprint (well, limp in my case) to Busan and the Nakdong River Estuary. As much as I've enjoyed this trek, I'm kind-of looking forward to being done with it. Not that I'm all that eager to return to my job, mind you, but I find my thoughts turning rather frequently to my humble Korean version of hearth and home.

I think I've already made my decision regarding the Yangsan walk: I'm going to split it into two legs, and I'm still going to stay two nights in Yangsan City. This will push my arrival in Seoul to Sunday, leaving me only part of a day to recover before I return to work. Either that, or I can arrive in Busan on Saturday and return to Seoul the same day, without overnighting in Busan. The money I save on my motel fee can go to my train ticket.

So let me slap up some pics and call it a night. We'll begin with my walk stats:

Below: furry purple plant life. Two young ladies kept posing in front of it and taking pictures of themselves:

Not everything is pretty here:

I'm thinking that this leg of the walk may be the least-well-maintained section, given all the mud and detritus:


Morning traffic as I leave Daegu:

Water always finds a way:

Junky, but undeniably colorful:

May the road rise to meet you:

The end draws nearer:

I thought this was a nifty shot:

The rain goes ever on and on...

Cosmos flowers continue to flank my path:

Ads for the motel I'm at began appearing kilometers before I arrived at the day's destination:

One of the final stretches before the dam:

Final approach to the dam, its admin building, and that funky sculpture:

A closer shot of the entrance:

A closer shot of the massive modern sculpture, which I hereby christen Giant Spider with Distended Scrotum:

A look at the dam itself:

Now knowing that I was done for the day and wouldn't need to camp, I felt free to find some real food for dinner. A local restaurant served me some kimchi jjigae with plenty of delicious sides:

Lastly, a shot of my humble motel:

Photo essay:


  1. Wow, you really caught a break taking the path that led to a motel for the night. May the hiking Gods continue to smile upon your journey!

  2. Well, the motel is 10K down the path, which is why I had to hop a truck out to the motel and then back to the dam this morning. But yeah, I definitely caught a break. And if I ever come this way again, I'll likely do the same thing.