Wetlands

Luna always loved the outdoors. From the moment she went for her first walk it was clear exploring had been a big part of her old life.

Half an hour’s drive South were the Wetlands. I saw these on the map one day and decided to investigate. They were highly unusual for Korea, where wildlife is often thought disgusting and certainly not appreciated. I don’t know about their history but at some point someone, or a group of people, had fought to keep this place.

It wasn’t totally untouched, there were several dams protecting the surrounding rice paddies and dirt roads running around and across it but its core features had been maintained.

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It was 8Km around, most of the wetlands primarily consisting of a long armed lake, there were areas that flooded in the wet season which extended its reach. There were shallow areas, swamped in the summer by great lily pads. Most of the lake was shallow enough for wading birds to fish but in the centre there were deeper areas.

The wetlands became one of our favourite places, it had something different to offer in every season.

For most of the summer they were home to ducks, many varieties of water birds and lots of white cranes. The cranes all travelled North together and roosted in two trees just off the highway outside a town not far from my own.

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In summer clouds of mosquitoes would rise from the lake. I arrived one time and didn’t even get out of the car! When I stopped it was covered in moment after a quick inspection and identification of the insects covering it I decided it wasn’t worth it.

In spring and autumn it was quieter but I saw the odd dear or fox and squirrels, instead the attraction was the colours or new growth.

In winter the lake iced over, but it was a temporary home for Canadian geese who arrived in hoards over several days, enjoyed a bit of a rest and gossip and then flew on.

This was where Luna and I came for rest and recuperation. We took long walks, first exploring the flat roads and eventually exploring routes into the surrounding woods.

Off lead she was in her element. She loved exploring and then running to catch up with me when I called. We rarely came across other people and so this was one of the few places where Korean culture and language didn’t influence my life. We could just be ourselves, go for a dog walk and enjoy the wildlife.

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I usually took my camera and binoculars and would watch the drama unfold. Luna was just content sniffing and walking but every now and then she would just take off and run. Two years in a small room surrounded by other dogs, and now here she was, the centre of attention and free to roam. You could tell the joy she felt in being able to stretch those little legs.

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