Thursday, January 05, 2006

Climb Every Mountain

Yesterday's weather was simply gorgeous, around 75 degrees, sunny, hardly any wind, wow. And today it's freezing cold, go figure. Anyway, Hiyoshi and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and make a trip to Yang Ming Shan Mountain ( We hopped on a bus and off we went.

The bus stopped down the road from the tourist center, so we made a little hike up a trail (OK, a steep hike up a trail) to the center, where we picked up a map and got directions from an employee on how to get to the waterfall. I almost died when I saw the path upward. It was a series of stone stairs, and it went up and up and up and up......OMG. The bad thing was that both of us were lugging around our schoolbooks! Every day I carry two dictionaries plus my textbook, plus miscellaneous other crap girls must have in their purses. I think after 10 minutes of hiking up I was ready to go back down, but we kept on. Actually, I was hiking much more quickly than Hiyoshi, because I was walking alongside the steps rather than stepping up onto each one. Thankfully there were many places to stop and sit and catch our breath. I know we climbed from 552 meters to at least 800 meters, but I'm not sure what the final height was, I just know it was higher!

Finally we reached the turnoff to head toward the waterfall. Good thing, because the other direction was up, and our direction was down. Bad thing, going down made my poor knees hurt worse than going up. Down, down, down, with a little up here and there, and finally we were at another tourist center. By this time we'd been hiking for over two hours. Hit the bathroom at the center and continued on our way, down a relatively flat pathway. Not for long, soon we were back at the steep stairway going up. WAH! Hiyoshi was nice enough to carry my bag for part of the way, and that really helped. My knees were screaming at me with every step, especially the one I injured in March. But we finally made it to the waterfall. I was too tired to really appreciate it, and it was rather small and unspectacular anyway. We sat and rested a few minutes, then realized it was going to be dark soon and that we had at least another kilometer or so to go before we got out of the park. No way would we be able to see to walk if it got dark, and no way did we want to spend a cold night on the mountain, so we hustled off down a nice, level road.

Got to the bus stop just as a small shuttle bus came, but since I needed to go to the bathroom, we decided to go into a restaurant and eat dinner before leaving. I called my student and told him no way could I handle teaching after four hours of hiking, and Hiyoshi and I sat there burned out, eating the hottest kung pao chicken I've ever had in my life, along with some sort of green leaf veggie and rice. Damn, it tasted soooo good! It could have tasted like dirt and it would have tasted good after all that exercise.

Got home around 7:30 p.m., read for awhile, played with the cat, hit the sack at 9:30 and slept like the dead.

Gee, next week I'll have to do it all over again when Steve is here :)

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