Friday, October 4, 2019

Day 7, Leg 6

For my readers, this must feel a bit like the Law of Diminishing Returns: I have no Wi-Fi here at Jangsu Pension, so I won't be uploading any images until tomorrow at the earliest. I took over 40 pics today; am beginning to suspect that I'm taking almost exactly the same pics I took last time, only way fewer of them. Look at my 2017 blog to see those images.

My arrival at Jangsu Pension happened, eerily, in almost exactly the same way as last time: when I got here, the manager wasn't here, and neither was anyone else. I had to call the guy, and just like last time, he was out of town but on his way back. Also like last time, he told me to take Room 2 (same as before) and to pay him when he got back. The room seems a bit neater and cleaner than last time, but there's still that feeling of age and grunge. Luckily, the room has both an A/C and a fan; I've got the fan running as I type this while I wait for the manager.

Today's walk out of Yeoju was gorgeous. I passed by a lovely campground that was full of families probably enjoying a long weekend (yesterday was a national holiday for most people, but I'm pretty sure my R&D department had to come in and work). In the spring of 2017, the campground was empty, although I can't imagine why. It sits at an ideal spot alongside the river, and I recall the spring weather being equally gorgeous, albeit a bit cooler.

Speaking of temperatures, I'm beginning to resent the string of 80-something-degree days. I want things to cool off, already, and it looks as though that won't happen until next week. It was the reverse last time: I was trekking in the spring, so the weather went from cool to much warmer, especially since I was heading south.

Terrain-wise, today's short walk of only 17 km was mostly flat. I did remember the big hill at the end of this segment, and the hill itself proved not to be all that bad. I kept leapfrogging a huge group of kids and chaperones with YMCA tee shirts on; some of them called out greetings or encouragement as they passed me.

I was reminded, over the past two days, that the stretches just before and just after Yeoju are picture-perfect for camping, fishing, picnicking, and other outdoor activities. While much of the riverside real estate has indeed been developed for this purpose (would you call those family-camping sites real camping?), you could probably get away with some illegal camping and fishing in the undeveloped areas. And once again, I thought to myself that, if I ever did get married in Korea, I'd want to have my wedding by a river. There are so many beautiful spots along the riverlands that most people seem to know almost nothing about. All the better for us introverts, right?

So it was a good walk, with nothing more than the normal complement of foot pain. I'm not adhering to my no-soda rule, so I've taken the count-up clock off; no reason to live a lie. I am, however, being very good about not eating snacks whenever I hit a convenience store. There's no food here at Jangsu Pension, so I'm munching on mixed nuts and banana chips (shockingly, I neglected to supercharge the mix with any M&Ms).

That said, Jangsu is not my favorite place to stay, so I'm eager to move on to more civilized accommodations over the coming days. But soon enough, I'll have some camping to do, which means lying by the river at night and listening to some blood-curdling screeches by unknown predators. More on that later.

I need to confirm this, but I think tomorrow's walk is also short-ish, being around 22 km. Weather forecast is going to be warm but otherwise awesome.

Fine, I said no pics, but here's a selfie:

And here are wet wipes for a certain body part:

And lastly, a pic of Jangsu Pension from a distance (trivia: two years ago, those were all dirt roads):

ADDENDUM: I hit Gangcheon Dam before hitting 10,000 steps today. Decided to sit down and take a break there since today's walk was going to be short, anyway. I should also mention that Yeonghwa Park Yeogwan was probably the worst choice I could have made in terms of lodging. Another kilometer or so down the street was a whole neighborhood of decent-looking motels that I might have to try next time, assuming I ever pass this way again. That said, my grungy yeogwan provided me with the best night's sleep I've had so far this walk.

Photo essay:


  1. That is the dorkiest package of wet wipes I have ever seen. So basic.

  2. Next stop 장호원 or 수안보? (Based on my memory of driving down the 중부내륙 en route to 대구/포항). Those hot springs are imbued with magical properties. Pheasant meat ain't bad, either.

  3. I hit the 강천댐 today. 수안보 is set for the 7th. Did the pheasant last time... I think my remark was that the bird wasn't that impressive, but the flavor was distinct enough for me to want to try to make sausage out of it.

  4. Another successful day on trail! Congrats!

    Are you drinking sugared or diet sodas? I guess there are pros and cons to both, but obviously fewer calories with the latter. Then again, you are burning calories like mad, so not really a big deal.

    Never stayed in a pension, but from what I've read here I haven't missed anything. Sounds like you are almost looking forward to camping!

    As we used to say back in the day (my day anyway), Keep on truckin'!