Today we hiked up into our new backyard, that is Yangmingshan National Forest. It was our first excursion into this area which is amazingly only a 30 minute walk from our apartment. The city ends almost abruptly at the mountains. This particular trail is also know as the trail of 1000 steps, and they just got tired of counting. We climbed stairs for close to an hour for a total linear distance of about 1000 meters (2/3 mile?). The stairs were basically the same incline as most stairways in houses, but were of uneven spacing and height, making it necessary to keep an eye glancing at the trail. They were somewhat slippery. There were not many other people there today, probably because it was a Monday. Or it could have been the rain that kept the other less adventurous people, as well as the monkeys we had been warned about, under shelter.
The first section of the trail was bordered by occasional terraced gardens. We thought we had weeds in Idaho! Its not that the gardens weren’t well tended. It was obvious they were. But with all of this heat and moisture things grow! We recognized large cucumbers dangling from trellises, and there were fruit trees that looked like the giant pear-like fruit were nearly ripe. Some of them had white bags put around them. We never saw anyone working. I kept noticing very expansive growths of plants that I have or know of as house plants. When I would show Greg, he would say we should make sure to kill it when we get back to Idaho. It was working up to a steady drizzle, but it was hard to decide when to put rain jackets on since one tends to put out enough moisture inside of them to get soaked. I recommend umbrellas next time.
At the top of the stairs, there was a covered rest area with a nice bench, but Greg was not inclined (pardon the pun) to stop and sit, and I was not inclined to beg. No matter. The trail took a turn and went on in the classic open level path between trees style. The boulders were huge and had a myriad of green things growing on or out of them. The trees didn’t seem abnormally large, but had spectacular root masses at ground level, being large and twisted. Many of the trees were of the type that send root like growths down out of the branches, but we didn’t see any that had actually attached to the ground.
There was a long portion of the path that was cut rock on one side, with a precipitous drop on the other, but there was a sturdy wooden fence there that made all the difference. It was so precipitous that we wondered how much mountain was actually under the path. It was roughly four feet wide in most places along there, so there was no sense of cliff walking. After a moderate descent, we were at a very nice waterfall. The rocks in the stream were orange. While getting closer to it, we noticed that the whole side of the mountain sounded like it was whistling the same note. It was a distinct, attention grabbing tone a bit louder than the waterfall. We finally noticed that there was a network of pipes covered by the plants and debris. It seems it was water traveling through these.
The last part of the path was mostly a very narrow, switch back design of steep steps made of smallish-roundish rocks of varying sizes. That, combined with the increased rain, made photography come to a stop. This part wasn’t as long as the stairway going up, but it was more treacherous. We eventually came to a picturesque arched stone bridge next to a paved road. That was our winding route back to town, again past gardens, with building gradually increasing in number. The next thing we knew, we were finding our way through some back lanes and alleys to the main road again, without being hit by eccentric drivers or scooters.
Although we had walked the length of the main road from our apartment to the trailhead, a 30 minute walk by itself, on the way back Greg spontaneously decided to hop on a bus that was at a stop we were approaching. I was a little disappointed since I was hoping for a snack at the ice cream shop we had to pass by on the way up ( yes, much of the main street had a noteworthy incline) to the trees. We were fairly wet, though, and he did stop for some sort of fried bread out in front of our apartment.
We like the pictures we took and you can find them below. Till next time,
Should we get wet from the rain or from the humidity INSIDE our raincoats?
Looking up the trail-
It is hard to give the idea of how MANY stairs there were…
Looking down at those who have stopped to view critters.
Carlie and her mom.
Trellised cucumbers and exotic pears.
Did I mention that we went up a lot of stairs?
and to think we are just a few hundred meters away from a concrete jungle
A view off to the side
Natalie and a very large worm
Gecko on Jesse’s back, then Greg’s finger
Kids on a flat section Hillside farm
Greg at the 1800 meter mark Spider over the trail is 4 inches in diameter
There were dead cicadas all over Beginning the descent, it would get to treacherous for pix
“Snail of the wrong turn.” waterfall at the bottom
amazing tree roots everywhere cute froggie