Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 6, part 1

We survived the night at The Worst Guesthouse in the World. That family should be embarrassed.
Anyhoo, we got out. As we were leaving, the 'host' invited to come back again. Well, he muttered it the first time and had to repeat it. It took a lot of effort to not laugh.
Numerically, course 10 is next but since we're scheduled to walk it on Sunday with Arirang TV for a documentary. So we jumped ahead to course 9.
It's the shortest (7.1 km) but most difficult course, from Hwasun Beach to Daepyeong Pogu via a twisting path through forest and up and over a big hill. We took a bus to Hwasun and started our walk in the hottest weather we've had yet.
All morning neither one of us was feeling inspired to walk. I think if one of us had seriously suggested just taking a beach day, we wouldn't have walked.
The first bit is flat and easy and was familiar. Even though this is our second time on it, the next 5 km is literally new to us. The first time we walked it, Jeju was in the midst of a hoof and mouth disease outbreak so any trails that passed through livestock farms had to be rerouted. Because of #9's location and numerous livestock farms, the temporary route was boring. We took only 2 photos that day. One was of a pile of lime we had to walks through to disinfect. The other could have been taken anywhere. Anywhere boring, that is. We didn't bother taking pictures of the other lime speed bumps.
Even as we turned up into woods we were looking for a short cut. "Surely there's a way to walk the coastline here" we both wondered out loud. We asked a guy at a kayak rental place if it were possible. He made an X with his hands and pointed to the map. Okay, we're doing this.
It was gorgeous. And miserable. The trail wasn't level or straight for more than three steps in succession. It was muddy. And muggy. And we still didn't feel like walking. At places the trail was dotted with cow patties for added fun.
We caught up to and passed a mother and 20-something daughter who was throwing a tantrum that would impress a three-year-old. She hated this but
I realized that I was enjoying the hike. Sweat was clouding my vision and my pack felt twice as heavy but we were on beautiful land. We doubled our speed to get out of earshot and back to quiet. More cow patties, very fresh. I'm starting to think the as-yet-unseen cows use this path more than humans.
The trail got very steep. Coming the other way was a group of students from Inje University in matching yellow sports shirts. We waited and waited for all fifty to pass. The mother and daughter caught up. I could feel her sulking. When the last student passed, she threw an insult at her mother. We quickly left them behind.
We saw some strange brown rocks ahead that looked out of place on this island of volcanic rock. They moved! Cows. A herd of 20 eating grass. On this steep densely wooded land I only expected to see goats. We navigated through the cow patty minefield without incident.
The trail went up up up. At times we walked on wooden walkways erected to protect from erosion. FYI, the cow use them too, apparently only for depositing cow patties. Another herd, on even steeper ground. Very healthy looking.

Eventually we reached the highest point, a spot that was a 180 meter drop straight to the sea. It looked cool and inviting.
The way down was muddier and more slippery. JH slipped. She wasn't hurt but suffered something even worse-- she got dirty. Ten minutes later, I slipped but my huge pack protected me from injury. I left the dirt on my arm.
Finally we made it down to the sea and to the end of course 9.
Plan: eat lunch at a place 'Redbrown' we remembered seeing before and call it a day. Haha, it's just a cafe, but they recommended a restaurant 500 meters away. No problem, we're done walking!
Lunch was fantastic! 강돼장비빔밥, which I will happily explain to anyone who asks.
After lunch, we walked past the bus stop across from the restaurant, 500 meters back to Redbrown for dessert, batbingsu because hey, we're done walking today.

After that we decided to walk the first 10 km of course 8 to our guesthouse instead of taking a bus. We are walkers, after all.

To be continued…

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