Four Beast Hike – Taipei

9 09 2012

Just after 9am this morning, a group of us set off to hike the four beast hike which scales Nangang mountain and Jiuwufeng. Each of the four peaks (Elephant, Leopard, Lion, and Tiger) rise higher than the next, all giving views of Taipei city and the iconic Taipei 101 building. We only conquered 2 peaks, but that seemed to be plenty, having to trade a leisurely stroll up some steps for testing our biceps.

The hike was relatively easy to find. After exiting the MRT, and following a winding road towards the mountains, we eventually diverged off the pavement onto Taiwan’s typical staircase hike.

Standard staircase hike in Taiwan

After a few short minutes of climbing stone stairs, we reached the first peak. It had a great view of the city, however the weather didn’t fully cooperate and all of our viewpoints of the vibrant city were diluted by a thick haze.

It was just after noon when we arrived at the first peak

Taipei and the haze

Next the fun part came. As we were already drenched in sweat, we began moving towards another peak, and luckily picked a difficult one. Slowly, the stairs disappeared and gradually the path turned into dense foliage.  Before long, we found ropes laid down stone walls and began ascending almost straight up. Our hike turned into a rope climbing session.

Yay woods!

The ropes begin!

And they continue going straight up

Taipei 101 in between the trees

We were rewarded at the end by another awesome viewpoint of Taipei turned sour by murky skies. We took our time hanging out at the top before heading back down into town and roaming around trying to find a bite to eat. It was an awesome day trip to Taipei and I’m hoping to find a few more like that before I leave.

Crazy Spider!

The group at the top!

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Getting “cultured” in Taipei

7 09 2012

I spent the past two weekends going to Taipei trying to be a more well-rounded person, or as some would say “getting cultured.” The first weekend we spent roaming the streets around Taipei 101, before rather quickly deciding to see the city from above.

I have to admit, the view from atop one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers was a lot more impressive than I had previously imagined. Taiwan has such majestic mountains, which cover the landscape surrounding the crowded cities, that it’s hard not to gaze in awe.  The individual audio tour within the building was informative, and it covered key historical points and geography visible from the designated spots around the floor.

Chungli in the distance

Perfect Day for the trip up to the top of 101

Ah the mountains! Welcome to Taiwan.

The mountains surround Taipei except to the (south)west

Downtown Taipei from above

A fun fact about Taipei 101: It has (at one point, not sure if someone else has taken over) the world’s fastest elevator. The cars are pressurized to help with elevation change, while your ears are trying to adjust as they travel 1,010M per minute into the sky.

The other weekend, Jesse and I went to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to see the Salvador Dali exhibit. First, I’ll say that he was quite talented and it was really cool to see a lot of the artwork. If you’re waiting for a huge “but” then you’re correct. I don’t understand it. I mean some of it makes sense, but for most part I’m completely lost, and in all honesty the only thing that truly set in was a bad case of what I like to call “museum legs,” i.e. drowsiness.

Dali and his melting clocks

The rest of my time has been spent cycling and planning my upcoming trip. I can’t wait for my camera to get here and finally show a few of the places that I have been cycling lately. Until next time….