Tag Archives: outdoors

Dog vs. Skunk

I find that cleaning up after a skunk attack is not unlike cleaning up after a murder. You have to be meticulous; a single drop of skunk oil can cause immeasurable suffering. Ask me how I know.

 

Cleaning up a room after a skunk spray.

Notice the absence of rugs, the candles burning, the mop, the electric floor scrubber, and the fan. In hindsight, the candles and the fan were like bringing a cup of water to a forest fire.

 

My dog apparently mistook a visiting skunk for her arch-nemesis, Rocky the Raccoon. Rocky steals her food, digs through the trash and stares at her through the window with that smug look that all raccoons have. So when the dog saw a small black animal in the back yard, she pounced.

I never heard spray, but it didn’t take long for me to understand what happened. The dog ran directly into the living room and slid face-first onto the (expensive) rug. A second later, she was rubbing the other side of her face across a different rug. I noticed the long oily streaks on the rug at the same time that the overwhelming smell hit me.

Step 1 – Lock the dog outside.

Dog was sprayed by a skunk.

This is her new home for the foreseeable future.

Step 2 – Use paper towels to soak up oil from the fur.

Soak up skunk oil with paper towel.

She was happy to have someone rub the oil away from her eyes.

Step 3 – Remove everything that she touched. EVERYTHING!

Step 4 – Wash the dog.

 

Washing a german shepherd dog after a skunk spray.

By the third wash, she was over it.

Step 5 – Shower.

A day later and the smell is starting to fade. I still get whiffs of it a few times an hour. I’m beginning to locate the sources. My briefcase was too close to the action, so it still smells like skunk. My dad, who flew to china 8 hours after this episode, said that his watch band soaked up some of the oil.

After some research, we learned that tomato soup does nothing to get rid of skunk smell. There is, however, a recipe that is said to do wonders. It’s a mix of baking soda, 3% hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. If it works, I’ll be sure to follow up here and let you know.

Have you ever had a run in with a skunk? Were you able to get rid of the smell? Leave a comment and tell me about your experience.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Palgong Mountain Hiking

A few months ago, I went to a temple near Daegu called Dong Hwa Sa (동화사) with some friends.  The temple is located in a national park at Palgong Mountain (팔공산).  I enjoyed visiting the temple so much that I wrote a post about it.  So I was excited last week when all of the teachers at my school left mid-day to go to Palgong Mountain for a hiking trip.

We left school after lunch and drove to the park.  Our trip began on the opposite side of the mountain from Dong Hwa Sa, so I got to see a totally different area.  In the parking lot, each teacher was given a bag lunch, and then we started hiking immediately.  I was confused as usual, so I just followed a few other teachers onto the trail.

I picked the wrong group and wound up hiking to the top of the mountain at full speed.  The area to which we hiked is called Gasanbawi (가산바위), which is one of the highest points on the mountain.   A huge rock at the top overlooks the mountains and valleys below.  Most of the group got tired and slowed down as we hiked, so I reached the top with two other teachers about half an hour before the rest of the hikers arrived.  This gave me time to relax, eat and snap a few pictures from the top.

Needless to say, the views were pretty amazing.  We spent an hour on the rock, just soaking in the views.  When the time came to move on, I didn’t want to leave.  But we had to see one more thing before we left – the ruins of Gasan Castle (가산산성).  I don’t know much about the castle, because I didn’t come across any signs informing hikers of its history.  The only thing I could glean from the Konglish conversation I had with my fellow teachers is that the castle is the ruins of an ancient royal house/palace from a long time ago.

Most of the ruins have been refurbished in some way.  You can see in the picture above that the top of the wall is made of newer stone than the bottom.  Other sections of the castle walls, on the other hand, have been fully refurbished.

After we finished hiking, all of the teachers went to a restaurant near Palgong Mountain for dinner.  As usual, we went to a traditional Korean restaurant that had great food.  It was the normal spread – a few types of meat and lots of sides (mostly vegetables and mushrooms).  At the end of the meal, we were served beer and a dong-dong-ju (동동주), which is a traditional rice wine that is similar to makgeolli.  Like makgeolli, it is served in a bowl and has a sweet flavor without much alcohol taste.  The primary difference between the two drinks is that dong-dong-ju is made in homes or restaurants and makgeolli is made in large breweries.  It’s Korea’s traditional home-brew.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Rafting and Caving

Last weekend, I went on my first organized social event outside of EPIK (the government program through which I applied to be a teacher).  I went with a group of about 65 westerners and Koreans, mostly Daegu locals, to a place called Bong-hwa.  We went rafting the first day, spent the night in a small town near the river, and then toured a famous cave on the way back to Daegu the second day.

Although the river was pretty tame, the rafting was a lot of fun.  I was fortunate to find myself in a boat with five people who made it exciting, even when we weren’t (accidentally) hitting rocks and nearly flipping.  Because the river guides didn’t speak much English, at least one bilingual Korean was placed in each bot.  We definitely lucked up in the translator department when 윤다정 (Da Jung) was placed in our group.  Unlike most Koreans who are reserved around westerners, she was outgoing and lively.  This allowed us to understand and interact with our guide, who was a lot of fun, too.

The rafting was a blast, but my favorite part was the cookout later that night.  The entire group gathered for a great meal that included pork, shrimp, hot dogs, and an “all-you-can-drink” supply of beer.  The organizers’ definition of “all-you-can-drink” isn’t the same as ours, so we ran out pretty early.  It probably didn’t help that the group included at least a dozen members of Daegu’s Gaelic (Irish) Football team.  Fortunately, there was a store in walking distance with beer and soju.

The next morning, we woke up and drove to a cave called 단양고수 (Danyang Gosu).  The cave tour was a lot of fun…for the first fifteen minutes.  The last half hour of the cave tour got a bit repetitive – it basically became a long walk underground.  On a positive note, it gave us a nice long break from the sweltering heat and humidity above ground.  Unfortunately, the cave tour came too late for me – I smelled pretty horrible before we got to the cave.  I feel awful for the poor girl who had to sit next to me all day on the bus.  If she noticed, she was pretty damn polite.

I can’t wait for the next trip.  It’s a great way to meet new people and have a fun weekend without hemorrhaging money.  Enjoy the pictures!

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Until next time.

-Taft

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Just A Quick Hike

My friend Liz called me on Friday afternoon to ask if I wanted to take a hike with her.  Since Friday was field day, I got off several hours early.  I haven’t gotten enough exercise in the past few weeks, so it sounded like an excellent idea.  A nice scenic hike along the hills surrounding Daegu would be an excellent way to kick off the weekend.

I told my coteacher that I was going hiking, and he said, “oh yes.”  I tried to explain it to him, but it didn’t seem to register.  No matter – I’ll show him pictures later and he’ll understand.  An hour or two later, Mr. Kim told me that I missed the bus.  Nobody thought to tell me that the bus left two hours early on Friday.  No worries – Mr. Kim offered to drive me home.

I didn’t realize that he wasn’t taking me home until it was too late.  About half a mile before the subway station, he pulled into an underground parking garage.  We parked and walked up to the street.  After milling about for five minutes (just wasting time), the clock struck 4:00 and we walked into a bar.  Uh oh – we’re going drinking.

When we walked into the bar, the owner was still in the process of opening shop – pulling chairs off of the tables and setting them on the ground.  Mr. Kim ordered us each a tall beer (32 oz).  Because of Korean culture, turning it down was not an option.  I had to drink it all.  I tried several more times to explain that I had to meet my friend to go hiking in less than 90 minutes.  He kept saying, “oh yes…very good.”  Shit.

I excused myself to use the restroom as soon as I finished the first beer.  When I returned, it had magically refilled itself.  I began to get desperate, because I realized that he may be expecting me to get drunk with him before dinner time.  I had to think fast.  Suddenly, I remembered that my new phone has a new translation app that seems to work pretty well.  I gave it a whirl and, to my surprise, he understood.  He told me to hurry and finish my beer.  As soon as we finished gulping down our drinks, he walked me to the door and pointed me toward the subway.  Despite all of my frustration in communicating with Mr. Kim, times like these remind me that he is a really nice guy.  He didn’t think twice about covering the bill and hurrying me out the door so that I could make it on time.

I hurried home, got changed, and met Liz at her subway stop.  I was a little buzzed, but I was sure it would wear off by the time we reached the park – or wherever we were hiking.  The trip took less than an hour, but it was plenty of time.  When we stepped out of the cab near the trail, I felt better.  About two minutes later, as we walked through the city toward the trail-head, I realized that I was in trouble.  Liz pointed to the temple at the very top of Apsan Mountain.

I was out of breath by the time we got to the trail.  We met Liz’s friend, Zach (USA), at the bottom of the trail.  Zach lives near Apsan and hikes it on a regular basis.  He told me that it is still difficult for him.  This meant a lot, considering the fact that Zach appeared to be in excellent shape.

Two beers on an empty stomach, months without adequate exercise, and a damn-near vertical trail.  I was in for a treat.

It was a difficult hike.  I hated every minute of it.  There were several times when I had to swallow hard to avoid blowing groceries on the trail.  I was too out of breath to truly appreciate the Buddhist temple that we passed half-way up the mountain.  When we reached the top and I had a chance to rest, I realized that it was worth every step.  I couldn’t believe how beautiful the city was at night.  Because Apsan is on the southern edge of Daegu, we could see almost every inch of the city.

We spent about half an hour at the top.  There were a few groups of Koreans hanging out at the top with us.  A middle-aged Korean man came over to us shortly after we arrive and offered us all rice snacks and chocolates.  It was the perfect end to an exhausting climb.

Until next time.

-Taft

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