Friday, September 16, 2016

Tiger Mountain (虎山) hiking [Travel in Taiwan 160916: Eye of the Tiger (Easy Hike)]



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Easy Hike is the latest addition to my growing number of subprograms in my blog. Taiwan Day Adventures had the Travel Buddy system, Sakura Series, Delicious Taiwan and the I've Been to Hualien Series. It was fun to group my travelogues and it made my adventures more interesting to follow. So what's up with Travel in Taiwan? From Taipei to this country’s outlying islands, various hiking trails can be explored. What great stories can I write in my hiking experiences? Will I encounter snakes or see the sea? Taipei alone boasts a large number of trails which active climbers and beginners love to try. Elephant Mountain Trail is the most famous for its romantic view of the capital and there are still a lot of trails that are worth to see. The heart of the island keeps a great mountain and it is called Yushan. It is so high at almost 4,000 meters and I'm dreaming that someday I will reach its summit. Will I make it? Follow me as I make little steps in every mountain that I will climb in Taiwan whether I have a Travel Buddy or not. There won't be any difficult trail because every journey will be treated as an easy hike.
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Tiger Mountain is not as popular as Elephant Mountain but climbing to its top was a rewarding experience. You can finish the hike in one hour if you're fast enough to climb. Taipei 101 will say “hello” from a distance and it is a perfect place for watching the fireworks every New Year’s eve. Just remember that like a real tiger this mountain have pointed teeth and sharp claws that will bring you to your death. There are no lights at night so bring your own flashlight after enjoying looking at the city lights. You will also encounter an exposed rock where you can take selfies but be careful because you will be standing on the edge of the world. What a tiger it is!


Marker near Exit 2 of MRT Houshanpi Station
Zhongpo South Road


People called it Hushan where the word “hu” means tiger and “shan” meaning mountain. It is located in Xinyi district and part of the Four Beasts Mountain. A network of trails connects this Tiger Mountain trail to the Nangang District and you will enjoy going around the mountains if you really love hiking. How did I get here? I boarded the MRT to Houshanpi Station and I then went to Exit 2 where I followed the Zhongpo South Road until I reached its intersection in Fude St. I turned left and I saw a marker for the Fengtian Temple along Fude St. Lane 221. The land was already going uphill on this area and I passed by multi-story houses. I really don't know where the start of the trail was until I heard the loud growl of Hushan. 





I saw a large paifang along Lane 221 and I already knew that I was near a temple. Previous bloggers who had been here always described that they passed by a temple in finding the trail. “It must be the Fengtian Temple”, I told myself as I entered the gate and climbed the stairs. Tiger! Tigers! Tigers! There were a lot of them on the stairs. I did not want to miss the chance so I immediately opened my tripod to take some photos with the tigers. Yi...Er...San...Roar!





Fengtian Temple


There was a park at the end of the stairway.

And a magnificent view of the city and the mountains unfolded in front of me.
I continued the hike on this concrete stairway.



The “tiger” had opened its mouth and I soon entered a circular gate where a long stairway welcomed me. A marker bearing the Chinese name of Tiger Mountain indicated that it was the entrance to the trail. Actually, there were a lot of staring points for the Tiger Mountain trail. You can start along Fude St. Lane 221 or Fude St. Lane 51. I realized this in the middle of my climb because there were markers to help you point which way you were going.




Do you see the spire of Taipei 101?








The view from the exposed rock in Tiger Mountain.


Compared to Elephant Mountain trail, the Tiger Mountain was less maintained. Or it might be wrong! There were evidences of a slow mass movement in the trail that the stone stairs were drifting downwards the slope of the mountain. I walked carefully at each step while the rays of the sun made my climb dramatic. There was a large exposed rock and it served as a good place to take photos. I got really excited standing above it but I still exercised caution. I was already standing on a cliff and my greed for taking selfies might cause my death. Sitting on the rock and enjoying the view of Taipei city made me feel proud that I went to Taiwan to have my PhD studies. 


Mt. Tiger 120 Highland
The view from Mt. Tiger 120 Highland





The view at the top of Tiger Mountain

I continued my climb until I reached the Mt. Tiger 120 Highland. Visitors can take a temporary rest here while enjoying the view of the city. The trail continues to a seemingly tall rock where a steep stairs had to be climbed. I was very careful in going up since there were insects on the handrails and I don't want to be their latest victim. At the end of the climb was the summit and I was surprised to see a lot of people. They were not ordinary hikers but professional photographers. Xinyi district with Taipei 101 was their masterpiece of the day and they were probably waiting for sunset. 

Taipei 101 and the mountains



Why this mountain was called Hushan? Were there any tigers here before? I also thought of this questions as I climbed the trail just like when I first went to Elephant Mountain in Taiwan Day 100 (Happy 100 Days). My Travel Buddies and I didn't find any real elephants but rather we only found statues that were kept hidden in the mountain. The same goes here for Tiger Mountain where I saw the tigers in Fengtian Temple. For any first time visitor in Tiger Mountain who did not have any idea about the trail he or she was hiking would probably think that there was something special about the place. Are you brave enough to know the secret of Hushan? Go there and hike alone. Let us see if you have the eye of the tiger.
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