It was our first weekend living in Taiwan together, and I could tell that my husband was feeling more adventurous than me! Ha. Between his jet-lag (waking up in the mornings usually between 4-7am) and his anticipation to see more of the city, he was ready to go bright and early Saturday morning.
I was laying in bed! :)
|Entrance to Xiangshan Hiking Trail, Elephant Mountain|
Once I finally decided that I felt rested and had devoured a Western-style breakfast omelet, he suggested that he would like to go hiking on Elephant mountain. This has actually been on my mental 'to-do list' for months, and now that I finally have a hiking partner I couldn't lay in bed all day with a book anymore...
|A little history about the trail|
The four beast mountains are located just at the edge of Taipei city, and the mouth of the Elephant Mountain trail begins near our home... approximately a 15 minute walk for us to the beginning of the hike from our apartment. We saw a couple of other foreigners walking the same direction as us, and come to find out, we crossed paths with them a few times along the trail. Not to mention, we of course passed some locals... and some local old men hiking barefoot. I wonder what that was about?
|Footprints from the elephants who blazed the trail...|
Saturday was HOT! And we were absolutely sweating bullets. Thankfully, my sweet husband doesn't mind taking many, many breaks for his asthmatic wife - but when we finally reached the top, it was worth it!
|The view, looking North East|
Not only were the views spectacular, but the sky was blessedly clear on the day we chose to hike. It's hard to capture these shots with a meager camera. There are some large boulders located at the top of the mountain, along a path called the 'Six Stone trail' and the views are wonderful! It was hot enough at the time we went that the tourists were limited, but there were still a handful of locals and foreigners resting among the rocks and taking photos.
|My husband, king of the mountain.|
In the end, we discovered that we had actually taken the scenic route... approximately four times the length of the route that the people we kept passing had taken! Once we figured that out we decided to take the shorter... and much steeper route... down the mountain. :) The much faster hike down was also immediately followed by a stop at the 7-Eleven to down a couple of water bottles! Whew!