PEAKS & PILGRIMAGE TOKYO, AUGUST 2013 Somewhere back home I’ve got two paper journals, handsome volumes in which I used to write my Japanese hike reports. There are an even 50 — this was when my mountain mania was raging, with no cure in sight short of an unplanned plummet over a precipice. On the first page of one there’s a pencil rubbing (I believe that’s the word, unsavory as it sounds) of a kanji (Chinese character) from a well-weathered summit sign. The character is… Advertisements
PEAKS & PILGRIMAGE TOUR TOKYO, AUGUST 2013 The oddly pleasant smell of burning mosquito coils wafted through the upstairs-room window as I slipped into chu-hi-enhanced sleep. Then sometime after midnight I was shaken awake by tremors rippling through the tatami — wondered in the morning if I’d dreamed them till Andrew told me they’d originated up north, somewhere near the site of the Fukushima disaster.
The headlights swooped into Kate’s front yard and with them the first of many pleasant surprises that day: Dude & Trouble are not famed in hiker circles for their early starts. Kate and I are morning people. I’d never had a girlfriend who could function at 4:30am, and here she was making sandwiches — big sandwiches. Both of us were raring to go; in fact I’d hardly slept with the excitement. Apart from that short-but-spectacular New Year’s hike in the snow on my first visit, the Adirondacks for me were an open book. Now the plan was to meet Pouch & Nemo at the trailhead upstate and plough through my first four chapters in one hit.
I’m a battlefield groupie from way back. I remember on the first of my six visits to the States, in 1993, spending a cold and atmospheric hour or two with a then-girlfriend wandering in the rain through the misty Union lines outside Vicksburg, Mississippi. Somewhere there’s some pictures in an album. Sometime…
The conclusion of yesterday’s tale. Two posts in 24 hours = two consecutive days of doing something useful at work! This could be habit-forming… So back I went along the ridge, down the foggy ruins of time (Bob Dylan), umbrella swishing nice cold raindrops into my eyes from low-hanging boughs. I dug my main camera back out of my pack, slung it round my neck and resumed my struggle against the forces of darkness — I mean the forces of moisture. I’m pretty reckless with that little machine, but I’d rather have it handy and risk a few raindrops than have to keep stopping and retrieving it.
Hey, people, thanks for dropping by as always. I’ve split this post, about last Saturday’s unexpectedly interesting little walk, into two parts, carefully calculated to allow uninhibited digestion over two consecutive bowls of cereal. Expect the next installment in 24 hours or so.
The first nickname I gave it was Mount (-ing) Devastation, applied after a dispiriting walk to its base last year. It’s the most impressive bump on the spectacularly bumpy perimeter of the rice-paddy country nudging up to Daecheong Creek and the dirty streets of Jangyu. My gaze repeatedly strays to its stern pyramidal eminence as I limp home from Hell Skool on Thursdays and Fridays. Looking at it always cheers me up.
[Folks, this post, published earlier this month, recently disappeared from my site. Like, utterly — it’s not even in my WordPress trash folder. How is this possible? Thanks to Kate, my diligent blog monitor and number-one fan, for alerting me — I had no idea! Don’t understand how this could happen but am CERTAIN it wasn’t me. Anyway I’ve recovered it from Google Cache and backdated it to the original date. Apologies if I can’t get the original comments back as well…let’s see…] * * * * * The wreckage looked like shredded pieces of paper. The plane’s broken tail and nose came to rest near the top of the mountain, where a lack of access roads slowed rescuers’ efforts to reach the scene of the disaster… The plane hit one side of the mountain and then plowed toward the peak, catching fire and cutting a trail of fallen trees 100 yards long and 30 yards wide ~ CBS News, April 15, 2002
So, where was I? So, where am I? So, where will I be? So many questions.
A brief interruption to my New York Saga to share an episode of very-Korean weirdness I enjoyed this afternoon, Day 2 of my Four Hikes in Four Days Challenge. It’s a four-day weekend, you see, for Seollal, the Korean New Year, a break I desperately needed as I had aged approximately 17 years in my first week back in the killing fields of the Korean middle school. I thought having a pleasant goal to motivate me would make another year of teaching more tolerable. Instead I’ve entered the school grounds each morning like a condemned man stepping onto the scaffold. I needed a good walk or four to remember what living was all about…
For about a month now my weekends have followed the same pattern. I go into Busan on the Saturday, do the civilised urban thing with lots of coffee and an obscene amount of clothes shopping (trying to make Winter fun); the Sunday is for hiking, photos, music and, well, more coffee. This last one fit the template perfectly. I’d lucked upon a nice variation in my Bulmo-San explorations the previous Sunday, a new route down via a hillside boulder field adorned with cairns both modest and majestic, and just below them on a col, where a dirt road zigzagged up and down the mountain, a new path marked Bulmo-San, 2.7km.
Well, here I am back in last weekend again — with a new one just around the corner. Sunday rocked as well, just some low-key, low-impact, low-input rocking on and around one of my neighbourhood mountains. Lots of colour again — hope you like the shots.
Let those I-don’t-care days begin I’m tired of holdin’ my stomach in No more slinky Vogue dolls for me I’ll take Sears & Roebuck dolls gladly Cause my autumn’s done come My autumn’s done come… ~ Lee Hazlewood I have one more Seorak-San post to go, but I thought I’d do something a little more contemporary today, something we EFL teachers are always trying to get our students to do: talk about my weekend.
I had a great day yesterday.
Not the most inspiring title but I figure non-Koreans will have enough trouble as it is negotiating the anglicised Korean words up there — and I didn’t even include Madeungryeong! This is the name of the ridge which gives its name to the route I took back to “town” after my night on Daecheong-Bong. I didn’t want to double back, so took this detour soon after passing the shelter. I was glad I did. It was a long day, moderately arduous, and water was pretty thin on the ground — but what scenery!
Seoul rocked. Well, the parts I saw before, between classes and after the week of EFL training rocked. That was a hard week, and I was left with the lasting impressions that a) I am a very poor student and b) I may well be the worst teacher in Korea. How “motivating”. But I made some good friends among the 180 teachers present (most from my province and Gangwon, where the adventure in this post is set) and I’ll do my damnedest to keep in touch with them. I’d forgotten how nice it was to talk naturally to other people in our own native language.
Well, I think I’ll strike while the keyboard’s hot and do the second part of my Daecheong-Bong tale tonight. I have a few more Seorak-San posts I want to do, and something tells me I’m going to be busy next week… ..in Seoul!
I couldn’t decide which pictures to leave out for this day’s hike up to the #3 peak in South Korea, so I’m going to split the day into two and let the images tell most of the tale. Hope you like them.
Those mountains seem to lean over Sokcho for a reason: they’re close. We turned inland through some pleasant farmland; Wouldn’t mind walking that, I thought. Barely half an hour from the beach, the bus pulled up and I followed the throng of walkers to the ticket office and into Sogong-Won (Small Park).
ON A SOUTHBOUND BUS, WEDNESDAY Greetings, folks. Never blogged from a bus before, but here goes. It’s a wild ride for writer and reader alike here on TGTW, where we explore the uncharted frontiers of the Blogosphere, at least until motion sickness kicks in.