Every couple of weeks I have a Saturday or Sunday afternoon off to relax by myself without having to worry about my son (my wife gets the same deal). Lately I’ve been trying to turn these afternoons off into little adventures by finding hiking trails that are reasonably challenging yet short enough that you can finish them in a couple of hours. As a busy dad, I find that this kind of hike is a perfect way for me to clear my mind and make my body comfortably tired. So far I’ve been on two such mini adventures
The Xianshan … Read the rest
Like the name suggests, Five Finger Mountain (五指山) has five peaks in a row, like fingers on a hand. Me and the wife were there several years ago but at the time I wasn’t really into hiking so we only hiked the relatively easy Traverse Trail (called crabwise trail on some maps), never reaching any of the peaks. In the last couple of years however I’ve taken more of an interest in hiking so when my friend posted about it on The Map Room I became intrigued; it seemed like a fun hike that would be suitable for me. Due … Read the rest
There is no trail! All there is, is a narrow ledge, barely wide enough for one person. To the left, a near vertical wall of rock, greenery spilling over the edge up above; to the right, a steep drop down to the swiftly flowing turquoise water, swirling and frothing as it passes over and around some big boulders in the stream, the sound of rushing water filling the air. A thin rope, attached at intervals to the rock, trails along the cliff side; no way of knowing how well it will hold. I grab on to it more for psychological support than actual safety. I don't want to stumble here, focus on placing my feet; step by step by step until the ledge widens. I can relax again and take in my surroundings; the gently rolling green of the opposite bank, the afternoon sun coming in at an angle, painting golden highlights on the tree tops. I stop briefly to snap a quick photo that doesn't quite capture the feeling, then continue onwards.
I’ve previously written about two parks that are underneath major roads in Taiwan; the semi-abandoned Wuri Tank Park and the strange art exhibition/miniature world under the Dali Creek Bridge. Last weekend my wife found another similar place called Shalu Leisure Landscape Trail (沙鹿休閒景觀步道 in Chinese). For some reason, this one also happens to be in Taizhong city; perhaps the citizens of Taizhong really like to utilize the available space.
Like the name suggests, this is a hiking trail, or rather a strolling trail, because to be honest it’s far too flat for any actual hiking. It’s roughly two … Read the rest
My friend runs a website called The Map Room which focuses on hiking, river tracing and other outdoor activities in Taiwan. He has written a series of posts called Learn to Hike in Taiwan which, as can be expected from the name, provide the reader with some basic information about hiking trails suitable for beginners. Since we have to bring our son along for hiking, I figured it could be a good idea to try one or two of the trails from this series, just to see how well it works while carrying a toddler on your back. We started … Read the rest
I can’t remember who gave me the tip but ever since I first heard about it I’ve wanted to climb mount Wuliaojian (五寮尖山). Due to circumstances I haven’t been able to until now. I have to say right from the start that I’m really happy I finally went, because it’s a really good climb. The mountain isn’t particularly high, only 639 meters, but there are several near vertical sections that require some proper climbing and you more or less need to use the fixed ropes to get up or down. This makes it a lot more exciting than your … Read the rest
I don’t think my photos can accurately show how steep this is. It’s more like rock climbing than hiking. The trail is a jumble of rocks and exposed roots, polished smooth by thousands of hands, thick knotted ropes trailing along the sides for you to hold on to. Climbing is strenuous work: two steps forward, take a deep breath, step over a jutting out boulder, take a deep breath, grab on to some roots and haul yourself up, take a deep breath, a few meters of flat ground then at it again. This is exactly the kind of hiking that … Read the rest
It's been a couple of weeks since my last post about tourism in Germany during the Covid19 pandemic. Me and my colleagues spent most of those weekends exploring the southwestern part of Germany, checking out a lot of different sightseeing spots. To my surprise there was a fair amount of other tourists at several of the places we visited; except for the fact that museums were closed and we were limited to eating fastfood in the car, it didn't really feel like there was a lockdown. Granted, Germany was only doing lockdown light but in some places it felt so normal it almost made me question if there was any lockdown at all. Don't worry, I have not become a Covid denier, it's just that the overall experience has mostly been like normal, pandemic free tourism.
So, just like in my last post, I want to share some of the more worthwhile places with my readers, enjoy: read the rest