Saturday, September 29, 2012

18 September 2012 - Taipei Day 2

Walked to Civic Boulevard (just outside Taipei Train Station) and took bus 260 to Yangmingshan. The bus went past Jiantan MRT station, and there were long snaking queues for buses early in the morning. Most passengers on the bus were of 2 groups, the golden-age and students from the Chinese Culture University. The bus was almost emptied when it stopped at the university. Had a much more comfortable ride then.

When they reached the Yangmingshan bus terminal, he did not bother waiting for the park-bus 108 and started walking towards the visitor centre. Went past 2 food stalls and through a tunnel before resurfacing. Then he saw this sign.

Entrance into the forest trail to the Visitor's Centre.

Had a relatively simple climb at the start, then things would start to go uphill.

 Compass on the trail, showing north and south.


Finally got to the visitor's centre. In there was a not-so-friendly old man, but he got his map anyway. Also saw some cute little kids on an excursion, unfortunately, he had to delete pictures towards the end of the trip to make space for more pictures.

Found the Miaopu trail to Mount Qixing. It was said to be the most difficult trail, and he only knew that after he got to Qixing Garden.

Most of the trail at the start was a simple affair.

Then things got steeper and slippery. Something like that, but with more moss. Retreated at the 1.51KM mark, and went to Qixing Garden instead. It was noted that the golden-age people here were very fit, hiking with power at great speeds, some even singing like they had four lungs.


Reached Qixing Garden with his shirt soaking wet. Found no water dispenser of any sort. Would spend some time enjoy the wind and view over here anyway. Two pavilions on the plateau.


A group of golden-age people were resting here and chit-chatting earlier.

Another pavilion for hikers to rest.


Found the Qixing East Peak trail, and the golden-age hikers mentioned that it was a much easier trail than the Miaopu one.

Looking back at the pavilion where he was before.


 Peeking at the next target from amongst the silver-grass.


From higher up the trail.

Going towards Lengshuikeng, the pavilion came into sight. Just look at the lush vegetation trying to make a fall look comfortable.

And then it was time to get down to Lengshuikeng. Check out the winding road network in the background. Also notice the abundant silver-grass, apparently, it blooms in September.

Spotted a blue tailed skink on the way down. It allowed some photographs before scurrying under the safety of the grass carpet.

Approached this next descent with trepidation. Check out the end of it, looks like a really steep drop, doesn't it?

A view down the slope to civilization...

Not forgetting to look back at the trail, flanked by beautiful silver grass. Can you also see the cap of the pavilion peeking out from the top?

 Pretty blue dragonfly posed for a shot on the road.

Spotted a yellow butterfly and tried to take a mugshot... 


... but it was too shy and turned away. Beautiful pattern on the wings. According to the park staff, this one's male as shown by the brown edges on the wings.


Look-back from another pavilion nearer to the road. 


Reached the Lengshuikeng pavilion and met some really nice people in there. They were retired personnel, but very professional, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, sharing about the wild life that he had photographed. They helped him re-charge his mobile, refilled both his water bottles, and recommended that he enjoy a foot soak at the hot bath just down the road. Unfortunately, there were no foot soaking space left, all taken up by golden-age people. Went back to the Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre and had a good chat with the people there about other travel places in Taiwan, and they highly recommended the eastern part.

Almost forgot, before going to the Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre, he actually had a dumpling at the basement. His first meal of the day, and his hands were already trembling. The proprietress claimed that her meat dumpling was very well received, so he bought one (NT30) and hungrily devoured it. He thought that the dumpling was good, but it had too little meat to be called a meat dumpling.

Next stops...

Checked out the Milk Pond, a hot-spring that obtained its color from sulfur and bacteria in the water.

Jingshan Suspension Bridge says that it can only support 10 persons at any one time. It implored people to cross speedily.

More steps on the way to Qingtiangang, for a start...

Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda and he's there. Cow dung as big as your head, and the smell of it permeated the very air you would breathe. Saw this adult cow licking the body of a calf, bathing its baby perhaps?

Bye bye cows...

To the next destination, Juansi Waterfall. He was on the mountain right in front earlier, so much trekking just on a dumpling. Supercharged.

Saw this shy little creature, kept turning away while he was trying to take its picture. First time seeing something like that.

The large waterfall wasn't spectacular, seemed like a weak shower.

Further down, there was a section which reacted better to the proportion of water.

And that's about it.

Hungry and tired, decided to head out to Shilin Night Market to recharge himself. But the trail to the main road would be long, even longer would be the walk back to the bus terminal.

One of the many landslide warning signs along the trail. It increased his speed.

When he was finally out (of the forest), he brisk-walked all the way back, and could catch sight of the sun retiring for the day.

Then it was bus 260 to Jiantan MRT station, for a raid on Shilin Night Market.

NT80 for a yummy BBQ-ed large squid.

Then he found A Zong Mee Sua, and had a small bowl (NT45). Very good broth and strong chilli paste. Good stuff.

Still not satisfied, he bought 2 battered flower crabs for NT150. The stall owner re-fried and quartered it for him, and he brought it back to the hotel for supper.

Back at the hotel, the staff were kind enough to relocate him to room 336, and this time round hot water did come out from the shower. Had a relaxing shower this night.

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