Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hiking Taiwan

Over the past few weekends, we have been madly rushing around, trying to see as much as possible before we leave. It has recently sunk in that we have limited weekends remaining and we are motivated to get to those few last places.

Two weekends ago, we went with a few other friends on the Caoling Historic Trail, a hike that Lonely Planet highly endorses, "If you can only do one hike during your stay in Taiwan, make it this one." Let me just say, it wasn't for the faint of heart. Most hikes here have concrete paths and stairs that lead you to the top (we think that is because the trails would easily wash away in typhoon weather otherwise), but it was still a strenuous 16km. At the beginning, we kept passing this middle age man who was taking his time climbing the stairs. We would fly past him and go pretty well for about 10 minutes, but then he would pass us while we were taking our "water" (oxygen) breaks. He'd just smirk at us and keep up his steady, slow pace. At one point, he said, "Just enjoy." That was the last time we saw him. As we continued our trek, we imagined getting to the end and seeing him sitting at a small sidewalk cafe sipping a pina colada after having smoked us. In short, it was a beautiful hike along the coast.

fellow adventurers

our fellow adventurers

Taiwan's eastern coast

wild water buffalo

wild water buffalo!

rice fields

passing rice fields along the way

Last weekend, we hiked the Sandiaoling Trail. This hike was much shorter, but very interesting. We passed three different waterfalls, and enjoyed a rope bridge and steep inclines. Following the trail to the train station, we met a random group of about 20 middle-aged hikers who asked us to have lunch with them. They didn't speak much English, and our Chinese is quite limited, but it was a fun, cultural experience anyway. The food was good too, a typical Taiwanese meal. The hardest part for me was to get down (believe it or not) my beer. A guy came up to me and said, "San bei! San bei!" (three cups!). I nodded, smiled, and tried to look friendly. Thankfully, Beth quickly declined the three cups, and he instead poured me one. I downed it as quickly as a could to get rid of it. I should have known that was a mistake because he came back over and gave me more. Seeing as how I was with such a gorgeous woman and I had put back my glass and a half of beer with the ease of a veteran, they must have thought me a man of the world because after lunch I got a couple different cig offers.








Hard to believe these Taiwan adventures are coming to a close so quickly...

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