Korea, Streams, Creeks & Rivers, Urban Walking
Comments 8

Down by the Nakdong River

It dawned on me last night that I only had one more Saturday and two Sundays left in Korea. Now there’s just one more weekend and 10 full days. And I intend to cram six more posts into that space, starting with this one.

I think it’s now officially Winter. I’ve had the odd case of numb, near-paralysed fingers with the Raynaud’s Syndrome playing up a bit on early-morning hikes, particularly in my camera hand — but really, who’s complaining when over in New York, Kate’s needed her brother with a snow plough so she could move her car?

It’s been amazing walking weather. Someone told me today that this area had a mere 30% of its normal rainfall this year — and Jeju Island only 20%. Autumn was far sunnier and more pleasant than last year’s, and I’ve scarcely had a weekend walk over the last couple of months that didn’t occur under clear blue skies.

Yesterday I hiked Yongji-Bong for the final time, starting up in the dark via headlamp and half-moon. The ridges and summit were dusted with snow; it was gorgeous but the wind was icy. Today I started out into the rice paddies but my hand was aching and I was disheartened to find that the Doosan excavator jockeys had found a new part of poor old Daecheong Creek to frolic in. It seemed they are turning one downstream stretch into…a road.

It was too much. Guess I’ll check in via Google Earth in a year or so and see what’s left. Anyway, time for another rummage in the archives…

*          *          *          *          *

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Caught Red-Handed in the Bamboo Grove

This was back in July. I was increasingly bored with covering the same ground on my weekend walks, so one day took a gamble and got the light rail to Daejeo, near the airport, between Gimhae and Busan.

Just before the bridge over the river into Busan, there’s a long stretch of grassy parkland. I’d often looked down at the wetlands and walkways not far from the Nakdong River mouth and thought they seemed promising. I now know the place is called Daejeo Ecological Park — in English anyway…

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..and it’s one of a handful of spaces along the Nakdong where efforts are underway to clean up a degraded area and bring wildlife and people back:

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I started through this beautiful newly-planted bamboo grove…

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..which is a 750m start on a planned 12km bamboo avenue.

These are sotdae, wooden bird totems…

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..and there were a few exuberant jangseung either keeping them company or trying to scare them the hell away:

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The whole park and its immaculate raised walkways seemed quite recently constructed. In the past, apparently, the Nakdong floodplain around here was polluted and littered with shabby greenhouses. Migratory birds winter in the area — maybe those totems will attract a few more.

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Distant train crossing the river

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Busan, across the river

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I stayed a few hours, wandering back and forth and finally doing a huge loop into the settling dusk:

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A couple of musicians were practising under one of the bridges…

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A saxophonist, scourge of polite society

..while trains rattled past on the next one…

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..and a fearsome troll pa-trolled her realm:

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A couple more views of Busan:

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With the water and all that vegetation, the place was insect heaven. As usual bugs kept begging to have their picture taken. Look closely and you’ll see my reflection on some of these beetles:

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“Honey, I’m home! Boy, what a day! Traffic was unbelievable! Honey…WHAT THE F…?!”

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“Oh, Harry, for God’s sake, grow a pair and get over it. It’s just INSTINCT, OK?! Harry? HARRY, YOU GET BACK HERE WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU!”

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“Betty, you…you…TRAMP. You told me this mating season would be different…”

Those aren’t dust specks on my sensor — it’s a jamjari (dragonfly) jamboree at the river’s edge:

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One weed jungle further downstream…

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..was a playground for my second-favourite Korean insect after the jamjari. 

I’d always seen the strikingly antennaed Seuss bugs, as I named them, on one species of purple-flowering weed that’s very common in wasteland over here. It seemed they’re fond of this plant (which I think might be fleabane) as well — I saw a dozen or so here:

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But I was running out of light and steam. I bailed for the station, pleased I’d busted out of my rut. I made a return visit not long afterwards that I’ll write up soon.

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Crumbling army post in the weed jungle

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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8 Comments

  1. Those bugs are the best! Had me chuckling out loud much to the bemusement of my family. Looks like the wildlife there moved in pretty fast to this new area. Believe it or not I am typing this from Yallingup, WA! Very temperamental wifi, which is of course the reason I am so behind with reading and commenting on blogs. It’s got nothing to do with the beach and the sunset and the Milky Way and the moonrise and the wine!

    • Wow, I’m guessing work drew you there. I’ve never been to WA, though my parents have driven there more than once — through the desert. I’m surprised they have wifi of any sort over there!

      More bug shots coming today, but you’re excused from catching up!

      • Not work – we are visiting friends who emigrated to Perth last year. When I was last here (1989) I really liked the Margaret arrive region so we have popped down for a few days. Heading back up to Perth now for Christmas.

  2. Alice says

    The bamboo is magical–as are the forests caught in your words and photos. I am trying to catch up on your posts–so what now, Goat? Where do your feet lead you?

    • At the moment, they lead me to and from the post office! And no, not for Xmas purposes — I’ve started posting stuff outta here. I’m going home for a few weeks for the first time in two years. After that, well…

  3. Gee, the year is wrapping up, isn’t it? You’re almost on parole now!

    I love the wall with the mural. For some reason it reminds me of The Truman Show!

    The bamboo looks good and I must say, I’ve never taken a bamboo shot ever!

    • Last weekend in the country! I must say I often feel like I’m an unwilling/unknowing participant in some weird, sick reality TV show: ‘Irritate the Foreigner’ or similar.

      Bamboo really is amazing. If we do see it in our country it’s usually a weed!

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