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Goat Killer Trail, Day 4: Pictures

mmm

A great day that saw me descend my mountain fastness and make for the coast; a swim; some typically inept navigation; and a “lost” road that was an unexpectedly delightful inland deviation into the outskirts of the ancient capital, Gyeongju.

Oh, and another memorably offbeat place to throw down…

DAY 4

Night was long and I got up again at 4:30…

Another spectacular dawn

..packed as more hikers appeared and passed without comment, and was soon down on the road with my friends the gnats, who accompanied me all the way down the far side of the mountain…

A hint of a different world in winter

Beautiful enough on one side…

..but how about the flip side?

Today has been frustrating but occasionally rewarding. The paddies in the valley beyond Searchlight Ridge were green and lush. The gnats farewelled me and sought out new victims…

Hollyhocks at the paddy edge

Spraying

Rt 31, the road I was walking till it became a motorway

I reached the coast again…a succession of scrappy beaches, and swam at one, a pebble beach, until a family-inn manageress chased me from the crude tarp shelters they erect all along the beachfronts…

A beach of pebbles — tough walking!

Beachfront tack attack: icky Italian & dodgy Dutch — plus standard fireworks trash

Just before the guesthouse nazi chased me off

Leaving it all behind

Typical coastal scene

Yellow peril

I felt I’d stumbled onto a ghost road. Rt 31 seemed to be closed for construction; traffic sped along a road closer to the coast past another nuclear plant and high up in the hills.

I took a different road that was going essentially north, and decided to stay on it and see what happened… 

A hot afternoon in the lost valley

A jeongja: village pavilion

Rampaging bears were a constant threat

The only sad thing about this road was that it was heavily laced with power cables strung between very closely spaced metal poles, and huge pylons marching over the peaks from the plant fed power via these unfortunate valleys to Play Stations, hair dryers and high-def TVs out there in the outside world…

Wired

I walked that road, baking beneath the merciless sun, for a couple of hours…

Typically lush & rampant roadside vegetaion

Then I reached a junction…

When you’re lost, clear signage is a blessing

My phone battery was almost dead, so I quickly scribbled a map taken from Google and started off along Rt 4 as the sun set. I was now aiming well inland, towards the old capital of Gyeongju, but that was fine by me…

Even out here I’m being monitored?!

Rt 14 split and shot for Pohang, back on the coast. Just before the junction I gasped at the sight of a column of gigantic T-shaped columns spanning another valley…

I have to get a shot of that in the morning, I thought, and lay down my bedroll…

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. That frog was awesome! You are very brave to set off on a road to ‘nowhere’ on foot – what if if had just petered out, leaving you in the middle of a paddy field, devoid of ‘helpful’ signs? that beach looked very Mediterranean, beautiful photos, as always!

    August 24, 2012
    • Thanks, Penny. I don’t know about brave. Sometimes you just have to go with your hunches, and I figured at worst it would take me miles out of my way! I wouldn’t necessarily follow that approach in the wilderness!

      Great frogs, yes. My students tell me they’re toxic, which makes sense. I’ve never seen them in my local area, so I was stoked to see several there. They made excellent poison arrows with which to repel the bears…

      August 24, 2012
  2. I agree with Penny about the frog. Your photos suggest a lot of mileage. Do you have an idea of how far you walk on days like that? Too bad you got chased from the water…

    August 24, 2012
    • It’s easy to overestimate ones mileage but I aimed to cover 30 miles most days. Using signs and times, I figure I usually came close to or exceeded that. That meant a very early start, a break in the afternoon and a walk till 9:00 or later. And those mornings and evenings I was going FAST. After a coffee or a Coke I was unstoppable!

      The lady who chased me away didn’t want me using the awning erected for her guests. I thought that was pretty low as all the other ones were unused! Koreans can be VERY pushy when they want to be!

      August 24, 2012
      • I’ve heard about Korean pushiness. It was mentioned in a personal essay called “My Two Dads” by Marie Lee. Very interesting read. 30 miles. Boy, I’ve got some work to do. Nice job.

        August 25, 2012
      • Not recommended! But I didn’t really have enough days for the distance I wanted to go, so I had to push myself. At least the terrain was often fairly level, but the hard road surface takes its own toll.

        I’m often surprised by how different the Koreans are to the Japanese, with whom I also have some experience. Many westerners would find the Korean attitude to directness, pushing in, stubbornness and infringing on others’ personal space a little…confronting! I still do, though I’m getting used to it.

        August 25, 2012
  3. Alice #

    Well, it looks like where the sidewalk ends. I imagine those sunflowers looked just that bright against the city drab.

    August 25, 2012
    • Sunflowers are a favourite garden plant over here, Alice. I saw some monsters on this walk. And yes, I used an in-camera effect for that shot to try to capture how harsh and bright the urban landscape was.

      August 25, 2012
  4. That’s tough being thrown out of the ocean! Did you have pants on? Was that the problem?

    Oh yeah, I don’t think I’ve seen a power pole set-up like that? They’re so close together creating way too much pole action!

    Ah, the security camera. You’d probably have to get used to them if you consider a tilt at some North Korean hikes…?!

    August 25, 2012
    • Yeah, I thought about going au naturale but my clothes usually needed some laundry, so two birds…

      I was actually chased from the very rare shade on shore. There were a dozen or so of these tarpaulin shelters — all empty! — and I’m sitting under one of them when this group of guests appears for a beachside feast and starts laying all their shit down ON TOP OF MINE! Then the lady starts blabbing about how it’s her “minbak”‘s (guesthouse) property. Not even a “Why don’t you just sit under that one over there?”!

      August 25, 2012

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