Crossing a River

So my first friend that I made in Korea came down to visit me. I hadn’t seen him since the penis park adventure and this time was a more spur of the moment decision for him to take a train that Friday night. Saturday we got a fairly early start (noon?) on a road trip to a village (농암종택), a temple (도산 서원), a bridge (안동 월영교), and a delicious fish dinner all around Andong 안동.

At the village, we saw a map that showed an awesome vantage point up on a hill/mountain that overlooked the village. So after we walked around the village, we were all in agreement that we should go there to take awesome pictures. The only problem was crossing the river because there was no bridge.

the river

I was the first to plunge my warm foot into the river, and it was like sticking my foot into a bucket of ice water (believe me I KNOW). For the first few steps, it was only ankle-deep and the water was super clear. My friend’s opinion was: “It shouldn’t be too bad. The problem will be the rocks; they’ll be slick.” I felt positive that crossing the river would prove to be no problem.

No shoes or socks, pants rolled up, valuables in hand… go go!

So I decided I was going to approach this river carefully and to watch exactly where I placed my feet which was fairly easy to do because the river water was so clear. The riverbed was nothing but rocks in assorted shapes and sizes: from the size of grapes to the size of watermelons. The first quarter of the river was not too bad. The water was up to my knees, my feet were mostly numb, but I had not had any scary slips. I paused and enjoyed the view from the river and how clear the water ran.

Yes, I took my camera out in the middle of the river

As I neared the center of the river, the water got deeper (mid-thigh) and the current became stronger. (I’m only 5’1” (163cm) so I had a lot more resistance than the guys.) The rocks were slick and moved under my feet. My strategy was to look for large, stable rocks to stand on, and this mostly worked out. Then, I shifted my weight onto a not-so-stable rock. My foot slid and my toes rammed into the rocky bed, HARD. After the tenth time, my frustration was off the charts.

I attempted to ignore the pain and just trudge through without looking where I placed my feet. This only resulted in more slipping, more painful stubbed toes, a lot of splashing, and an escalating sense of panic. I stopped moving in the middle of the river and thought: I want to turn back but I CAN’T because this was mostly my idea. I can’t back down now. But If I finish crossing, I’ll have to cross again! I grew more exasperated when I saw my friend about 3/4 of the way through the river.

I was overwhelmed with an emotion I had not felt since I was child (maybe 8 years old)…it was the feeling of being helpless. I wanted to cry and scream and curse Korea, but of course I knew it would do no good. I had to get through it, and at the same time I dreaded having to cross again. I mentally regrouped myself and continued moving…but my pace was slow, the water was still freezing and up to my butt, the current was strong, and every step meant a fresh wave of pain as my toes rammed into the rocks. My friend was already on the other side of the river, sitting on the rocks. He started yelling words of encouragement at me, but it couldn’t make me move any faster. It was so frustrating but I FINALLY made it.

Mission Accomplished (see the village?)

Was crossing the river worth it? I think so…but see for yourself. (more pics in my flickr album)

DSCN4026

view from a small pavilion jutting from the side of the mountain/hill

(Oh, getting back was just as much ‘fun’)

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6 comments

  1. Jaclyna, this is beautiful, please keep posting pics. How is the weather. Muchas bendiciones. Tia Felicia

    1. The weather that day was in the 70s I believe. Now we’re getting into winter. One morning it was 32. This morning it’s 54…soon it’ll be 32 or under everyday. 😦

  2. Sounds like when I had to trudge through waist-high snow and melty-water was leaking in my shoes. You just have to suck it up and trudge through! I’m glad you made it, though.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I kept telling myself. My friend took some embarrassing photos of me with my arms flailing, though.The soaking wet pants were NOT fun for the rest of the day/evening because it got cold that night and I could not warm up.

  3. Anonymous · · Reply

    que cute .. 😉 … n lol 2 his pant legs still rolled up …

  4. Anonymous · · Reply

    hey love the pics of the river but crossing in ice cold water just don’t think so. I would ache for a month or more. Glad you made the crossing and didn’t break a toe or etc. Fun times you’ll remember.

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