Friday, April 21, 2017

Walk Thoughts #39: final day before the walk begins

I had a discomfiting dream—a nightmare, then, I suppose—in which I started the first day of my walk and realized, after I was halfway through the day's distance, that I had completely forgotten to strap on my water bladder. I had no water. I don't remember how the dream ended; what I take away from the experience is the horror I felt when I realized what I'd done. That's usually how it works for me: I almost never remember my dreams, but when I wake up, the dreams' emotions are still resonating within my head.

Here's hoping the dream isn't an omen. For the past few days, I've been running through a mental checklist, and tonight, when I'm home from work, one of the last things I'll do before going to bed early is to take everything out of my backpack it and re-pack it all au juste, so that I know where everything is. I want to be up at 4AM and out the door by 5AM, walking from about sunrise to lunchtime on Saturday, getting to an inn in plenty of time to kick back all day and let my feet re-inflate. Realistically, what's going to happen is that I won't get to sleep until well past midnight. I'll sleep fitfully for an hour or two; 4AM will roll around, and I'll stumble out of bed, completely unready for the day. I'll somehow make it out the door a bit late—say, 5:15 or 5:30—but once I start walking in earnest, everything will fall into place as the immensity of my chosen task sinks in, and I realize that I really am walking from Seoul to Busan. I'll be pleasantly tired, and a bit achy, by the time I arrive at Paldang Bridge, my first stop... and I'll sleep well that night. The second day, I'll switch to waking up at 5AM and being out the door my 6AM—the schedule I hope to maintain for the rest of the long walk. The second day ought to be better than the first.

My Moleskine journal is now filled with walk-related jottings: I've transferred all the information from my itinerary spreadsheet to the physical book. This will serve as a navigation aid and as a failsafe should my cell phone conk out. The Moleskine will be wrapped in a Ziploc bag and stored in a pant-leg pocket; my other pant-leg pocket will house my cell phone, which will also be wrapped in its own Ziploc bag to protect it from sweat and inclement weather. Sometime last year, I noticed with delight that, even when inside a Ziploc bag, my cell phone's touch screen is still perfectly functional. That's useful knowledge, although I wonder how well the haptic interface will work when it's raining. Probably not too well, if experience is any guide. I've debated whether to tuck paper printouts of the mapped routes into my Moleskine, but at this point, screen-capturing the map images and printing them out seems like a chore. I'm going to assume that my old Samsung Galaxy S4 is still tough enough to survive the trip; it's got the Naver Maps app, and I've already downloaded screen-capped map images—one for every leg—that show where my lodging is in reference to that day's certification center.

I should have run battery-life tests over the past couple months, but based on my long walks with my new cell-phone batteries, I'm fine as long as I don't accidentally leave my GPS function activated: GPS consumes a good bit of battery power. Without GPS, I can walk for six hours with the phone on and not lose more than 30% charge. On those days when I have to walk nine hours and then camp, I ought to be ready for that contingency: I have a spare battery plus my portable charger, which is good for three full charges. The advantage of leaving my phone on during the walk is that I can use my pedometer to continue to measure steps, elapsed time, and distance (although, as you know, I don't trust my pedometer's distance-measuring abilities).

Humorously, my buddy JW's son sent me a link to a Kakao app that can monetize my walk: the app hooks up to my pedometer—or uses its own pedometer plus GPS—and lets me earn redeemable cash points as I accumulate a huge step total. The points can be used like cash at various outlets such as Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, and so on. I texted back to the boy that I'll lose weight during the walk, then use the cash points to get fat again. Thanks! In reality, I doubt I'll use the app. If it taps into my GPS, that's going to drain my battery. Not good.

I thought about setting up scheduled posts, Hari Seldon-style ("By now, it's Day 10, and I should have reached Point X..."), but I won't do that except for tomorrow morning, when I'll be too groggy to blog anything. It'll appear right as I'm leaving my building, i.e., around 5AM or 5:30AM, sort of a "Here goes nothing!" message.

Lastly for now: if you're on LinkedIn, you may have seen that I did a pre-walk writeup there, just to get my (utterly unresponsive) LinkedIn community up to speed as to what I'm doing. Here's the link. I'm not sure whether the link will work if you're not a LinkedIn member; you may end up being rerouted or being shown a "page not found" message.

And that's all I can think to write at the moment. I may add some thoughts tonight before I hit the sack, or I may just hit the sack and start walk-blogging the following day.

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