Last weekend our friends May & Andy took us out for a hike and dinner. We headed to the beach to see the mangrove and do some crab fishing. Then we hiked 1.5km up a mountain that overlooks Hsinchu, Nanliao, Shinfong, and the Taiwan Strait.
It was a nice, sweaty, hike. After the hike we went to a Japanese Barbeque for dinner... and I think Dan has a new favorite food. Here are some not so great photos (obviously taken on my point and shoot camera), but wanted to share our experience...
Thanks May & Andy for a wonderful afternoon and evening!
When I started this project, I thought it would motivate me to update the blog more regularly. I had hopes of adding one photo a day, but... life got in the way! So here I am updating weekly with a group of photos, hope you enjoy.
#71 Banana fruit
Can you see the banana's growing under the flower?
When discussing weekend activities with students, I almost always encounter a student who says he enjoys mountain climbing. Since day one, both Dan and I have corrected these students and explained that what they enjoy doing is called hiking in English.
That is, until we visited Wuliaojian.
Wuliaojian comes with warnings and prerequisites...
"Gloves are a good idea otherwise the ropes will take a toll. DON'T do this hike on wet or windy day, it's just too dangerous and wouldn't be fun anyway."
Wuliaojian is, afterall, mountain climbing!
Heeding these warnings, we had planned many weekend visits that were postponed due to rain. We were finally able to visit a few weekends ago on a spontaneous trip.
Saturday night we decided that we'd try to do the hike on Sunday. We got up (not too early) and headed to the bus station by 10am. The bus to Taipei took about an hour as usual and we hopped on the MRT Blue Lineto Yongning, arriving a little after noon. There we were supposed to ask a taxi driver to take us to the trail head, however the two we asked did not know the location. So we checked the directions again and found a bus headed for Sanxia, the town near the trail head. Unfortunately in our haste, we boarded the bus headed back toward the city and failed to realize until nearly 45 minutes later. When we realized, we got off the bus and back on the MRT to Yongning! This time we were able to find a taxi driver who knew exactly where we wanted to go...2.5 hours and $300NT later we were standing at the foot of a high staircase at the trailhead.
The trail is not published in our Lonely Planet or Taipei Day Hikes, so we used these sites as our guides.
The hike began with a steep steps that soon faded into rocks. We were thankful for the advanced suggestion of gloves as rocks turned into boulders and our only way up was by using the ropes. About an hour into the hike, it started to level off and allowed for a more relaxed pace. Since we had arrived in the afternoon the sun wasn't as hot and there were absolutely no other people. However, it was quite humid as the trees trapped the hot air in and allowed for little breeze. Plus with all the climbing, we were sweaty!
After hiking/climbing for about 2.5 hours, we came to the crest, a beautiful overlook into the city. We rested for a bit, taking in the views, but the time and the impending clouds forced us to keep moving. Our research told us that the hike would take 4+ hours, but we had no way of gauging our progress. We didn't want to end up in the woods after dark, or get stuck in a rainstorm! So we pressed on...the descent was much quicker and took us in a loop. Soon we were back on the main road near where we started. The entire hike took just under 4 hours.
Unfortunately, due to the intensity of the climb (and the need for two hands), we were unable to get many pictures. Here are a few more to give you an idea of the hike. Also check out YouTube for some videos others have taken.
This is one of our first photos taken with the new camera. As an anniversary gift to ourselves, we bought a new camera and took a little trip to the southern most tip of Taiwan, Kenting. From here on the photos just keep getting better as we learn how to use the camera. Pentax kx
Can't believe it's July already - we've been here 11 months...nearly a year! Tomorrow we complete our first academic year of teaching English and will begin summer camp on Monday. After two months of summer camp, we'll be down to a month left in Taiwan. Crazy how time flies.
Here are some more photos to share.
#93 - Moon Festival Dance
One of our first trips in Taiwan was to Lukang in Changhua county. It has since sustained it's position as one of our favorite places in Taiwan. We were there during Moon Festival Holiday and stumbled upon a parade by accident. It was our first Taiwanese parade (we've been privy to many MANY more since) and we were able to see up close and personal the costumes and dances. These costumes are housed in the local temples, so we had seen them before, but not actually worn until now. Each costume (like the one above) is a different god - different costumes used for different special days.
#92 - Nine Turns Alley
One of our favorite places in Lukang was Nine Turns Alley. The brick alley literally winds its way through town crossing a few major streets along the way. It is lined with beautiful homes and shops tucked into it's turns. We had fun just wandering through the turns which were created as a way to block the ocean breeze and the sand it carried with it.