Highlights of this course include huge lions, mudflats, and miles of painted walking paths. Lowlights include walking past love motels, gas stations and huge trucks on the way to the highlights. I recommend wearing a mask and maybe some sunglasses when you’re in the less desirable spots. Turn on a great podcast like WorkLife with Adam Grant and the time flies by. I did this on a Friday and there were very few people on the best parts of the trail and it was like a dream. Being in the city, but mostly alone, is one of my ideal situations. The 5-1 Course is the longest I’ve ever walked in one day. It took me over 5 hours, which I split up by having lunch with a friend who works in the area.
With the weather finally warm enough and the semester finally in swing-enough, I fetched my trusty sling backpack, my sunhat, and loaded up the tunes on my phone. Spring is a time for exploring and I needed to think about something other than work so out I went. Late last fall, I ended up somewhere in Saha district 사하구 on the 4-2 course. I ended up taking a few different buses to get there, but it’s also walkable from the orange line #1 Nat-gae Station 낫개역. I’m not suggesting you go here though unless you want to continue on one of the roughest paths of the trail system. Or maybe if you like to get lost. I found it to be one of those ‘Am I on the right path?’ experiences where the Naver map course and the pink and blue real-life ribbons don’t usually match up.
Visually stunning and kind of out of the way of my typical Busan life, Course 4-1 was a breath of fresh air and a reminder of just how large a city this is. There’s always more to explore and the 갈맷길 is the best way in my opinion.
Course 3-1 and 3-2 are city courses. Think sidewalks and city stairs and steep, ridged concrete. Since Busan was mostly spared from the physical destruction of the Korean war, the way is windy and narrow and veers as people did more than 100 years ago. We came across a hill with a special name and a placard to explain that it was “Going to market Hill” 장고개 as in this was the hill that people climbed to go to Busanjin Market 부산진시장 back in the day. We also got to see the famous ’40 steps’ 40계단 where Korean war refugees searched for loved ones near Nampo Station 남포역. So far, this course has been the most historically interesting. A lot of the shops we passed were decades old with that particular font and most of the people in the neighborhoods were also along in years. It was a stark contrast from Course 2 which highlights the newer and richer area of Busan.
Course 1-2 was the first long day. My trekking partner came down with a migraine as we were setting out so I ended up leaving a little later. I walked over 20 kilometers through a mix of terrain and got to find all the spider webs all by myself (mostly with my face).
Korea’s been blessed with a super-holiday this year and flights are too rich for my blood so I’ve been dreaming up the perfect staycation for months now and it’s just days away.
Two good friends from my days in Jeonju 전주 are hopping an intercity bus to Busan 부산 and we’re going to live the good life for a few days. For me, that means a routine of morning exercise, discovering new spots, and then watching the sunset with friends.
I’m calling the morning exercise plan the Camino del Chuseok because it’s inspired by the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. Chuseok 추석 is a major family holiday in Korea and many Koreans will visit their ancestral hometowns to practice rites with their families. Since the three of us don’t have ancestors to visit here, we’ve had to make alternate plans~
Welcome to the Galmaetgil (“gahl-mate-gill”) 365 blog~ I’m going to hike/walk/trek Busan’s best trail system in 365 days, starting October 2nd, 2017. I also will be going “in order” beginning with Course 1 and ending with Course 9. Sometimes I’ll be going it alone and other times with friends – feel free to reach out through the contact page and walk with me!
I hope you enjoy reading this year and if you do catch a factual mistake, please contact me so I can fix it ASAP! I’m hoping to improve my writing skills and fitness at the same time. ^^