Saturday, October 5, 2019

Day 8, Leg 7

After a fitful night on a hard floor, I've now hiked from Jangsu Pension to the outskirts of Chungju (충주시), a distance of almost 23 km. The hotel I had hoped to stay at was closed, as were all the other local hotels except for one: the strangely named On You Hotel (if you choose to stay here, that's on you). The lady at the front desk of On You insisted she had no rooms because of a local event, but she finally suggested that I walk down the street to the Hyu Drive-in Hotel.

I had myself a hot meal of soondae-gukbap first, a bit tense about not hitting the hotel before sitting down to eat, but I needn't have worried: Hyu ended up having a few empty rooms. This was only my second time ever using a mu-in (literally, "person-less") check-in system, but the admin lady was right there, so she helped me out.

The hotel's system for going out and coming back in doesn't strike me as very secure: when you come back, all you do is hit the garage-door button to open the garage door and give yourself access to your room. Opening the garage door allows you to walk up the stairs to your room's door, all without a key. No ID or other type of confirmation is necessary. I suppose the only "security" comes from the fact that, once your garage door automatically closes, the door won't open for anyone else.

This was a good walk in terms of weather and terrain. There were flat stretches and some hills, including a couple long, tiring inclines, especially toward the end. The sky was thickly overcast, so I finally got my wish and had my first blessedly cool day. (This meant I could walk without my hat which, while useful, is also a stinky annoyance.) I belatedly remembered that this was the stretch where, two years ago, I'd almost had a nasty charley horse. I think I saved myself from the same experience this time because I'd eaten a bunch of banana chips the previous day. A coworker once told me that charley horses can be triggered by low potassium levels.

I continue to sweat so much that I don't need any piss breaks (despite guzzling over a gallon of fluid per day), and here's something weird: I didn't poop at all yesterday. Normally, I poop pretty often, even considering myself a minor Master of the Dark Side of the Shit, so yesterday's poop-free walk from Yeoju to Jangsu Pension was something of a red-letter day. A bit scary, truth be told, given how abnormal such behavior is for my intestines, which are, in the normal course of events, perpetually locked and loaded.

Tomorrow's walk to Chungju proper will be almost 30 km. Not looking forward to that, but my itinerary is a mix of hard and easy days. Today was a reminder that a seemingly easy day can go sideways when unexpected things happen, such as hotel closings and full-bookings. At such times, it's good to be able to speak at least some of the local language. You can resolve problems quickly that way.

This hotel has weak Wi-Fi, and the desktop computer isn't connecting to the internet, so I'm blogging from my phone and not going to upload any pics. I've sent everything to Drive (yes, the weak Wi-Fi was at least good for that), but I won't be able to provide a link to the photo folder until I have access to a decent desktop. Then again, I might see what I can do from my phone; after all, I wouldn't want to deprive you of shots of the huge blood blister on my right pinky toe, or of the several dead snakes I've encountered along the path. So check this entry again in a little while. There might be some images here. You never know.

UPDATE: as you may already have guessed, it's been no dice. What I may do is drop a few token images into subsequent blog posts, then leave all the day's images in Google Drive.

Photo essay:


  1. I was a little surprised that you have booked your lodging in advance. I guess that adds to the spirit of adventure? Here's hoping your luck holds out. It would suck to sleep on a park bench after a hard day's hiking.

  2. "Have booked" or "haven't booked"? I normally call ahead for pensions and guest houses, but when I'm in a motel-rich area, I normally don't bother.