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Goat Killer Trail, Day 3: Pictures

mmm

I didn’t take many pictures on this day: harsh, unforgiving light, a wearisome trudge through Ulsan’s industrial zone, torpor in a park during a brutally hot midday, another long slog out of town. In fact this would be one of the lowest daily photo tallies of any walk I’ve ever done.

But you can’t force the magic!

DAY 3

I’m in Ulsan Grand Park…

Not all the wildlife was hiding from the sun

..hiding beneath a pergola while stealth-charging my electronics in the toilets, a fortuitous development since it means I can postpone a hotel I haven’t earned yet and walk on at about 4:00 when the heat wears off (32C down in Busan today)…

Ulsan is the seventh-biggest city in Korea and is the industrial heartland. In 440 pages, my guidebook mentions it exactly zero times. And most of my morning had me walking between endless ranks of factories and plants and chimneys…

A splash of colour in the industrial zone

The concrete jungle: abandoned footpaths, Ulsan

Self-portrait: intrepid explorer, Ulsan

Contain your excitement. These are everywhere in Korea.

..eerily deserted but pumping out a modernist symphony of drones, bangs, whooshes and beeps.

It was good to get here and hear cicadas again…

Exiting cities on foot is usually a dreary and protracted trudge, but leaving Ulsan was rather pleasant, for more than the obvious reasons.

Blue house

Two sides of Ulsan — and a bird

Rooftop water tanks

Church spire & blue sky

Service stations in Korea always come with a dog

The road, Rt 31, was straight and not too jammed with cars, I was on the shady side and I quickly found myself on the northern outskirts…

I was well clear of Ulsan now. I stopped at a piped spring and watching a motorist start up a concrete path towards a mountain top called Maebongjae, I thought, “What the hell,” and started up as well…

Got up there in time for a stupendous sunset …

Texting home from Maebongjae

..and a vast spray of lights with a glowing ferris wheel poking skyward on the chemical-plant horizon.

Ulsan.

Worth the climb

I set up my bed behind the inner wall of a stone monument, a beautiful cairn within two fortress-like concentric battlements.

My bedroom wall

I was tired, and my bed was luxuriant, not even a bivy necessary in the warm, breezy night.

The guardians

Then the torments began.

First, the moon was no friend last night. Waning gibbous and piercing, God’s searchlight probing through my bandana eyeshade.

And then the night-hikers…

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alice #

    Lots of harshness here, hard surfaces, clanking…But the top of the hill and sunset—ahhh.

    August 22, 2012
    • Indeed, the pay-off after a long, harsh, hot day. One of the best sunsets ever — I was in photo-heaven for 20 minutes or so!

      August 22, 2012
  2. Well aren’t you an inspiration–I also like the photos of people who are presumably some of your cultural inspirations. Glad you got the Wipers in there. Elliott Smith too. Do you have a Portland connection? I am trying to get my life to a place where I could do a huge walkabout. I’ll enjoy perusing your archives.

    August 22, 2012
    • Thanks, Josh. Yes, I wanted my sidebar to be like a teenager’s bedroom wall — a teen with exemplary taste, if that’s possible! I’ve liked Portland since driving through there in 1993. We came through at night, and when we found a big book store that doubled as a cafe, open at night, we were in heaven. Those things were rare indeed in Australia back then. We bought some music there too that we played as we drove over America, living in a car — I remember the first Reverend Horton Heat LP got a lot of plays.

      Later on, I bought north-west bands like Beat Happening etc, and was a huge fan of the early Sub Pop Singles Club 45s etc. I wish I still had them all — most were later sold to finance travel, including that first American trip. Not Portland, but we were subsequently huge Mudhoney fans, and I was in a band that opened for Nirvana in Sydney. In 2010 I walked as far as Cascade Locks on the PCT and after leaving the trail spent a few days with good pals in Portland — and got a tattoo there!

      So, yes: I now realise I do have a bit of a Portland connection! Hope you can fit some big walks into your life sometime soon. Thanks for reading!

      August 22, 2012
  3. Wow, that’s a pretty special view of the city lights and sunset. It looks like you perched yourself in a good spot! What’s the shipping container looking set-up? Are you going to tell me it’s housing…?

    August 22, 2012
    • All the way up that mountain I was telling myself off: It was off-route and it wasn’t like I’d had a lazy day up to that point. Plus the gnats were ferocious! But then that light show — I was re-energised and could have hiked another few hours if I’d had to.

      The containers are usually offices around work sites but yes, I’ve seen them used as housing dozens of times as well. Actually, they got me thinking on this trip about how easily and cheaply you could house yourself with one or two of those things on a block of land and a little imagination…

      August 22, 2012
  4. Fascinating pictures, a fascinating journey. Was it what you expected, or a surprise?

    August 23, 2012
    • Thanks, Nick. A bit of both. I never got bored with turning a corner and seeing what was ahead, and there was no script and a fair bit of improvisation, especially in veering towards and away from the coast. And the cities/big towns: I never knew what to expect.

      Also, I was rather amazed that I was able to walk that far on roads — there was always a faint underlying dread that they would become impassable to walkers or otherwise halt my progress. So there was a lot of gratitude each day at how far I’d come.

      August 23, 2012
  5. Nice pics… I’m currently living in Shanghai. Last year I took a trip to South Korea and I got to say it’s one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever visited. To me, Pusan is the perfect city to live in.

    Excellent pics!

    http://cheerstoall.net

    August 23, 2012
    • Thanks very much. I think Busan is very liveable as well, a fascinating place.

      August 23, 2012
      • Sorry… Busan! I think the only thing I can write in Korean is 바보 hehehe … You should also come check China out! It’s also amazing! Here… this is my tumblr: http://witnessasia.com all of them are my photographs from my trips!

        Hope you enjoy them ;)

        August 24, 2012
      • Don’t worry about “B” v “P” confusion — even the Korean authorities can’t work it out! I’ve seen both on street signs, etc.

        Will definitely have a good look at your site.

        August 24, 2012
  6. This is so fascinating. I used to follow another blog on Korean journey that you might find interesting. He stopped blogging, because he now lives in China, but check it out. I especially liked his hikes to temple–quite exquisite. Cheers! http://tigersandmagpies.com/

    August 23, 2012
    • Thank you, a lot to look at there. I think I’ve found him while searching for information — another blog, though.

      August 24, 2012
  7. Franko Paddo #

    great phots of Ulsan …but where are the people?

    August 31, 2012
    • I wondered that, myself. Perhaps they were very sensibly hiding from the appalling heat. And the industrial part was eerily quiet on the streets, while behind the gates and factory walls, machines banged and growled and beeped…

      August 31, 2012
  8. Love those sunset photos… just perfect… what a beautiful end to the day. Also love the guardians and the concrete jungle…They use those shipping containers for accommodation (short term mostly) in the Territory – with air conditioning… a good idea I think.

    September 19, 2012
    • Actually, I did a lot of thinking about one of those containers for my block of land one day — if it doesn’t sell. You could get one moved quite cheap, I think, and provided it was in the shade and off the ground, you could add a deck and and awning, lots of windows… Hmmm…

      I haven’t seen a decent sunset since I’ve been back, unfortunately… But coming soon…?

      September 19, 2012

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