When we got there, we had to hike .6 kilometers from the public bus stop up to the park visitor's center. Little did we know when we arrived all sweaty (Taiwan is very hot and humid in the summer) at the top that that was only the first and easiest of our trecks for the day. Since the park is huge, we had planned on taking the shuttle bus around the park all day but when the buses that drove by were all too full to even bother stopping, we decided that perhaps we should just hike where we wanted to go.
|A display at the visitor's center|
We all wanted to climb to the top of Mt. Qixing but we had planned to take the bus to Mt. Qixing park (a little over halfway up) and then hike to the top. When it became clear that that was not an option, we decided that the best plan of action was to just climb the whole darn thing. No sweat, right?
|The view from the bottom|
|Looking beautiful (and, okay, a little moist) at the midway point|
|Christine + these dogs = BFFs|
|加油 Christine! We can do it!|
Even so, we were all relieved when we finally reached that all important trail marker telling us we were almost there!
|All smiles with .2 km to go|
|Okay, this is how we really felt|
|Triumph and relief! I've finally made it to the peak!|
The top of Mt. Qixing was like another world! It was so beautiful up there! Not to mention that this may be the only time in my life I can say I was literally getting hit in the face with clouds. It didn't even lessen our sense of accomplishment (much) that the four of us arrived at the top huffing and puffing and covered in sweat after being passed left and right by packs of retired Taiwanese people the whole way up. We made it and that's what counts!
We went back down the other side of the mountain, which is covered in volcanic steam vents. (Note: the walk down was also significantly faster than the walk up)
|One of the vents on the path|
|The huge steam vent at the bottom of the mountain|
But we're survivors, so we made it out of the park and, eventually, to Danshui (an old fishing village that's now a sea-side district of Taipei) for dinner. We went to snack street and tried all the local specialties: fish ball soup, 阿給 (a-gei: tofu packets stuffed with vermicelli noodles and covered in seafood/tomato sauce), and really tall ice cream cones! Then, just for fun, I had some squid balls. It was all delicious.
|Mango/green tea swirl ice cream and friends, always a good way to end the day!|