Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mt. Qixing (七星山) hiking - Xiaoyoukeng - Qixingshan - Lengshuikeng - Qingtiangang [Taiwan Day 657: Hiking in the Stars - June 19, 2015]


After the successful river cruise trip in Tamsui River last week in Taiwan Day 651 (I Heard the River), I thought of something different. Why not do hiking on a sunny day? Taipei’s Yangmingshan National Park is just around the corner and accessible by public transportation. Its green mountains shine like emeralds in summer. Who could ever resist this hiking adventure like no other?

Me, my Travel Buddies and the giant fumarole in Xiaoyoukeng

Brave interns joined me in hiking Northern Taiwan’s highest mountain. It is Mt. Qixing and literally means Seven Star Mountain. French interns Clara and Anissa joined the trip together with Jason (Indonesian) and Yoshi (Thai). There were also Filipinos in the adventure and they were Kristine, Bryan and Jonalyn. It is the biggest travel army I had since Taiwan Day 393 (Why does the wind blow?).

Many got hooked with my reality show videos and a lot wants to know how to go there. It’s just plain and simple. Just take Bus 260 from Taipei Main Station and from Yangmingshan Bus Stop take Bus 108 which will take you to Erziping Recreation Area. A little knowledge of Chinese will help if you still need to take another ride of Bus 108 to Xiaoyoukeng which is the start of the Qixingshan Hiking Trail. You can ask for free copies of English and Chinese maps of Yangmingshan at the Erziping Visitor Center and the people there will help you a lot.




Fuming and with a hissing sound, the giant fumaroles of Xiaoyoukeng enchants the visitors of the Yangmingshan National Park. Fumaroles are openings in the earth’s crust where volcanic gases such as sulfur are emitted. Mt. Qixing is classified as a dormant volcano and that adds to the thrill of climbing this mountain. Will it explode while there are hikers around? Who knows? We might see a rebirth of a volcano!

We entered the Mt. Qixing trail at Xiaoyoukeng























We saw smaller fumaroles along the sides of the trail while the sun roasted me and my friends. With a height of 1120 meters above sea level, it will take 4 hours to finish the whole hike. Wooden balconies serve as rest stations for the hikers. The description of Yangmingshan being Taipei’s backyard was true! We saw Taipei City from the observation stations and we had fun taking pictures and videos.


















At the peak of Mt. Qixing
We successfully reached the summit and our photo sessions continued. Strong winds blew upon us like a mother comforting her tired children. A wooden markers stands on the top of the rocks in the summit indicating the elevation we have attained. We have just walked 1.6 kilometers from Xiaoyoukeng and we have reached 1120 meters above sea level. Whoah! But hiking Mt. Qixing is just a piece of cake for professional climbers. Try climbing Mt. Yushan. It is 3,952 meters above sea level and also the highest mountain in East Asia.



















We exited the trail at Lengshuikeng






Milk(Niunai) Lake




Jingshan Suspension Bridge



We descended the Seven Star Mountain by taking the trail going to Lengshuikeng where the Milk Lake and the Jingshan Suspension is located. Another 45-minute to 1 hour hike and we reached the green grasslands of Qingtiangang. New Zealand or whatever name you give it, it’s a very beautiful scenic area. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any cows grazing along the main pathway. It might be too hot that the cows are hiding in shaded areas.



















Qingtiangang grassland

Xiaoyoukeng, Qixingshan, Lengshuikeng and Qingtiangang. The stars have fall down in Taipei as Qixingshan. What will you do on a hot a summer day? Let’s go to Yangmingshan and do hiking in the stars.
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