Awesome day hiking in Yangmingshan National Park

Two days ago, a newly made friend (introduced by a co-worker) invited me to go hiking in Yangmingshan National Park on Sunday (today) with other people. I immediately said yes knowing that otherwise I'd be trapped at home all weekend doing work.

This morning, I woke up early to meet my new acquaintances and rode moped scooters up the mountain towards the park. Arriving at the bus terminal, we then rode a bus to Siaoyoukeng Trail Entrance.

Siaoyoukeng is quite a geological sight to see (and smell) because it is a post-volcanic area still with some geothermal activities and fumaroles formations.

Quite a beautiful Sunday, I must say.

Our destination is Mount Cising (at 1120-m above sea level, it is the tallest mountain in Taipei City). Nevertheless, we only needed to walk a 1.6-km hike to reach the peak.

Before heading towards Mount Cising, we detoured to a "secret" Cising Pond that is only known to some regular hikers. To get to this pond, we needed to cross a difficult grassy area with sharp bamboo leaves and silvergrasses, and the grasses are as tall as 2-m!

However, once we arrived, it was all worth it!

A dried-up Cising Pond (七星池)
The "pond" is currently all dried up since there had been little precipitation for the past two months. Otherwise, this will be a natural swimming pool with little or no people. Oh, I can just imagine...

Nevertheless, during this time, the ground is covered with soft mosses and it was a comfortable place to rest and clear our minds.
I wish we could lay here forever and ever - just watching clouds roll by.

However, deserving things must be earned with hark work and dedication in order to feel self-pride. Climbing this mountain is no different, and soon it was time to go back to the original trail and climb!

The extremely hot and dangerous fumaroles formations even reached the walking paths!

In the end, we had arrived!!!

Since it was Sunday, there was quite a large crowd at the top of the mountain, with more coming up, so we didn't stay too long and headed towards the shorter Eastern Peak of Mt. Cising.

After achieving the eastern peak, it was time to headed down the mountain and go for a late lunch.

Along the way, we stopped at the Menghuan Lake Wetlands (also dried up at the moment) to see the famous Taiwan Isoetes (Isoetes taiwanensis), an endemic aquatic fern found only in this little wetland in the entire world!

Taiwan Isoetes at the bottom right corner. It is quite nerve-wrecking knowing that this is the only place in the world where this species is found. Imagine if something happened to it or its habitat, then it won't just be the loss of a species from Taiwan but from the entire planet as well.

Heading on, we wanted to go take a hot spring bath at the public hot spring bath house. Unfortunately, it was closed for cleaning when we arrived (at 1-pm) so we decided to go back down the mountain and get some lunch. The bottom right photo is the Milk Lake. The reason for the strange color is because of the minerals in the water. Not so strange for me (since I've seen lakes in Canada with all sorts of colors), but apparently it is quite unique to people in Taiwan.

Anyways, when we headed down the mountain and was eating lunch, thunder showers came down hard so we stayed inside the restaurant and chatted. In the end, we decided to call it a day and went back to our respective homes. Overall, it was great making new friends who are just as into hiking as myself, and I had a fun time releasing energy couped up in me for quite a few days now. Hooray!

PS - Photos of animals taken on this trip will be posted as sson as I can identify them all.


shan-lin said...

love the story telling way you posted the photos. hope everything's going well, when you coming back to canada?

Cicero Sings said...

Sounds like a great hike with some great scenery!!! Glad you could have such a day.

PSYL said...

Hey Shirley. Thanks for the comment. I may be back after Halloween?

CS - It was indeed a great hike! Thanks.

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