Yangmingshan National Park
I was able to purchase a lovely little book with a bunch of day hikes within the Taipei area. On Sunday, my housemates and I set out to actually accomplish one of the day hikes. Being the adventurous, spontaneous group we are, we started with day trip #1 to Seven Star Peak in Yangmingshan National Park.
Yangmingshan is a quickish MRT and bus ride away. One gets spoiled really quickly with useful, timely public transportation. The MRT is Taipei's version of BART. It's exactly like BART except it is cleaner, faster, cheaper, timelier, traveler friendly, and takes you into dense tropical jungle. Riding the MRT, you get to see how quickly Taipei melts into wilderness, but there is still a scattering of houses no matter where you go. Once we exited the MRT, we jumped on to a bus (extended mini van) and proceeded up the mountain (attempting to kill as many scooter riders, cyclists, and motorists as we could) into the park. The park is amazingly beautiful and teeming with life.
I cannot begin to describe to you how incredibly noisy the jungle is. The noise is high pitched and constant. There is the never ending screech from the cicadas. Along with that, there is a chorus of birds that sounds exactly like car brakes that are past their prime. One bird starts braking and then the other birds start braking. It is a rhythmic wave of noise that continued the entire hike. At times the noise is almost deafening. It is really quite astonishing.
There is also a sulfurous smell hanging in the air. This is due to the volcanic activity in the area. Next trip into the park, I am going to find the hot springs and enjoy the upside to sulfurous gas.
The hike up to the top was difficult. The humidity was kicking my ass. I was sweating profusely and breathing hard the entire length up. My little legs were shaking. My housemates handled the hike much better than I.
There were little breaks in the canvas the higher we got up. As we ascended we walked into some dense fog. But there were little patches where you could view Taipei. The view was stunning and my little point and shoot doesn't do it justice.
Yangmingshan National Park is firmly against Burning Man. Either that or the devil. I couldn't decide.
The housemates and I at the top of Seven Star Peak.
The hike up consisted of mass amounts of beautiful butterflies. The butterflies would change according to the elevation. At the lower levels, there were huge black butterflies. At the mid-elevation there were black and blue butterflies. At the top of Seven Start, there were hundreds of these dark brown and light blue butterflies. Flocks of butterflies in the mist are a truly beautiful site to behold.
The view from the top.
On the way back down the mountain, it started dumping rain. I can't remember the last time I was out playing in the rain like that. It was incredible. We were soaking wet and received a shit ton of dirty looks from the other people riding the bus, but all in all an incredible day.
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