A brief update
Updated: Aug 8
The coronavirus situation has taken a turn for the worse here in Korea.
It was to be expected, to some extent, but things are slightly worse than could have been.
Consequently, upcoming kayaking tours with Gangnam Canoe Club have been cancelled.
Our Matari Forest School classes may not go ahead either, as children are not returning to school; instead they'll study remotely from home.
If social distancing policies are stepped up, it may be that we close tours for a while.
However, we did have a tour today. It was our first trip back in the Gapyeong canyon since the rainy season. Things haven't changed too much. There were a couple of big fallen trees to dislodge above some of our abseils, but the pools were all clear.
There was plenty of evidence of some really high water though - big trenches have been carved through the mountain as flood water has come off the tops.
A few rocks are a little wobbly - one big one at the base of the main falls - but attentive canyoneers ought not be caught off guard by them.
Above one fall we came across a new anchor... Our canyon has been discovered. This is no real surprise; our social media presence is growing and our tours are being noticed.
We did remove this anchor on our way down. Our reasoning behind this was twofold: (1) it did not need to be there, (2) it wasn't especially well constructed. It was not on the best tree for the drop, and the webbing, although tied correctly, was missing a maillon (which suggested that whoever made the descent was not thinking of repeat visits - or making it good for anyone else to follow).
Moss at the top of the main falls has actually shown some sign of recovery in places where it had been dislodged, but flood damage has scoured it away in other places. We monitor the condition of the moss regularly, as we do not want to cause needless harm.
A rather unfair comment on one of our youtube videos (a year ago)made us think long and hard about our impact, but the evidence today vindicates our position and the response we made to the commenter at the time.
We went to the canyon despite typhoon warnings, today, as we put our faith in other weather forecasting services that have proven more reliable. The weather was fantastic all day.
Water levels were also great - it is a shame I couldn't be in more than one place at a time to capture the action from all the angles.
The typhoon is moving in this evening.
So, we will see how things play out over the next week or so. It actually looks like bad weather (thunderstorms) will be present for a while. We had a lot of inquiries about tours over the next few days, but we're not going to risk any descents until the weather stabilises again.