09 September 2012

gold face mountain / 金面山 / jīn miàn shān

tjinmianshan01yesterday you tried again. the first attempt didn’t work out, but the sky more than cleared up 24 hours later.

you had no problem with the weather for this ten kilometer hike from the shilin to neihu districts in taipei.

tjinmianshan16which, if you’re ever in taipei, can be found on page 103 in taipei escapes 2 by richard saunders. the perfect non-city guide for those terrible at reading chinese.

tjinmianshan03now what will you see on this hike?

tjinmianshan04multiple paths– paved, stepped, dirt, or unpaved – every imaginable kind. wear good shoes. flat and sleep – stretch well beforehand.

tjinmianshan17dense forests – insect repellent is a must.

tjinmianshan02some other stuff you’ll spot: sign posts to help you out, mushrooms, tree trunks, and bird nests.

tjinmianshan05bibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers are in bloom and line one of the paths.

tjinmianshan10butterflies. with such intense colors, you can’t miss them as flashes of blues and oranges and reds dot the area surrounding you. if you’re lucky they might stop right in front of you.

tjinmianshan09of course, each time a butterfly closes its wings you can’t help but think about mali.

and how guilty you feel about how less and less painful it is each time you think about the country with its wings cut off.

tjinmianshan06moving on – you’ll see views of taipei. of skyscrapers and mountains.

tjinmianshan07with an intense blue sky. because of the rain the day before, the sky is clear. on a normal day it would be hazy thanks to taipei’s industrial side. but those drops cleans out all the pollutants and you have a view that turns mountains into layers.

tjinmianshan08make sure to keep your eyes lowered every now and then. if you spend too much time looking at views, butterflies, skies, flowers, and trees, you might come close to stepping on this slithering friend. a friend because he is harmless. just don’t confuse him with this one – he might actually hurt you.

your strategy is to jump backwards and stomp your feet to scare him back into the woods.

this is also why one should wear good protective shoes. just in case.

[warning – those links link to photos of snakes.]

tjinmianshan12last but most definitely not least, your favorite thing on this hike: the boulders.

tjinmianshan11some climbing is necessary if you choose this path full of rocks.

tjinmianshan13it adds an unexpected amount of fun into this hike as you have missed those days of rock climbing in france so much.

up, down, left, right – have fun figuring this one out!

tjinmianshan14once you’re past the rocks, you’ve got a steep descent until you stumble upon some houses.

tjinmianshan15then those mountain houses turn into city houses.

just like that, you’re back in taipei. oh wait, you actually never left it because this entire hike, from start to finish, was in taipei.

it only felt like it was somewhere far away. sometimes one forgets that taipei is not all city.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A lovely place! So green.



donna said...

love the blue/black butterfly....and idea of what it's called?

cathy said...

@donna: i think it might be this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirumala_limniace - the blue tiger, a fitting name