Thursday, October 3, 2019

Day 6, Leg 5

I'm in an old-school yeogwan (Korean-style inn) for the first time since 2017, and while the place is bringing back memories, it also has super weak Wi-Fi that makes me think a massive upload of photos won't be happening tonight. I'll do what I can.

So I walked 32 km from Yangpyeong to Yeoju (remember that the "eo" in Korean romanization is a sound between "aw" and "uh," so Yeoju sounds a bit like "yaw Jew"). This was a long walk, but it was also beautiful and didn't feel as abusive as the walk to Yangpyeong two days ago. I had completely forgotten, though, that there was a bitch of a hill about five kilometers after the walk's starting point, and that thing wiped me out. I switchbacked up about two-thirds of the way before I finally had to stop for two minutes to contemplate my mortality. There were a couple of other minor hills, but nothing like that initial one. I need to go back and look at my 2017 blog to see whether I wrote about this hill and/or took photos of the incline. A sign off to the side of the hill modestly noted a "10% 오르막," or a ten-percent grade. "Christ," I said aloud. "I'd hate to see what a twenty-percent grade looks like."

I completely lucked out when it came to the rain: I left around 8 a.m. (still later than I'd intended to leave), and all I got were a few raindrops and some gusty winds for the first hour or so. By 2 p.m., the sun was out, and the day was growing uncomfortably warm. In the morning, I was geared up in my poncho, and I felt like an idiot every time I passed an old man or woman just walking about in casual wear, no umbrella in sight.

As the weather cleared up, the grasshoppers came out in force. The little beasts are hilarious: they really have no damn clue where they're jumping to. Ever seen super slo-mo footage of a hopper in mid-jump? It's like watching a drunk Randy Quaid in "Independence Day," trying to fly his cropduster.

Today's walk took me past two major dams: Ipo Dam and Yeoju Dam. I'm not stopping to get certification stamps this time, so I didn't cross the Ipo Dam to reach the cert center. But despite the distance saved by not getting a stamp, I still ended up walking the full 32 kilometers to my current digs: Yeonghwa Park Yeogwan in downtown Yeoju.

This place is truly old-school. It obviously hasn't evolved since the 1990s. The flooring looks antiquated (faux tile); the wooden doors are thin and flimsy; the furniture is worn through in spots and festooned with cigarette burns. A general mustiness permeates the air. Totally 90s, like the place I used to live in when I first moved to Korea in 1994. And, at a yeogwan price of only W35,000 a night, I feel right at home.

But I'm sure you're impatient to see some pictures. Let's start off with today's stats:

I didn't break 50K steps today, but my feet are fine with that.

The first pic I took was a selfie in what I had thought would be inclement weather:

Next up, some flowers for the ladies:

And a reminder that autumn is upon us:

Here's a pic of the Ipo Dam:

And here's one of the Yeoju Dam:

And here's a nighttime shot of downtown Yeoju, not far from my current lodgings (I arrived at 7 p.m.):

I have a few dozen other pics that I'm not uploading, but when I get some better Wi-Fi, I'll upload everything to Google Drive and make that folder available to the public. That won't be for at least two days because my next stopover is the Jangsu Pension, which has literally fuck-all when it comes to tech facilities.

And with that, I do believe I'll leave off here. I need to take a shower and kill a very annoying fly. It probably dates back to the 90s as well.

Photo essay:


  1. No update on the foot pain? Or is that a thing of the past now?

    1. Feet seemed pretty normal. Go figure. Sure, there was pain, but at levels that were no different from what I experienced in 2017. The thing I'm looking for, now, is whether the pain starts to slowly worsen over time, as happened with my ACL in 2008. If Thursday was any indication, the needle didn't move at all. But let's give it a week and see what happens. Thanks for checking up.

  2. Despite the hill climb, this sounds like the best day on trail yet. Such beautiful scenery too. Keep on keeping on!

  3. Well, that sounds like good news so far. Fingers and toes crossed.