Saturday, 28 July 2012

Elephant Mountain

Among the many hills, and mountains, surrounding Taiwan there are the four beasts. They take the form of a tiger, leopard, lion and elephant. Each animal is fierce in their own way yet they all have one thing in common, you can hike them.

Right before sunset, five friends and I set out to do just that. The heat of the day was still burning strong even though it was 5:30pm; I started to seriously regret my decision to wear a black tee. My adverse thoughts were soon erased though with my first look on the breathtaking view. Every ridge makes you want to just stare in awe. Taipei 101 looks like It’s rising from the very ground, a silent giant that if you reached out your hand you can almost touch it. At first, the sun was so bright I could only take periodic glances, thankfully by 6pm the sun had started to set, and I was able to drink in the view.

It's a funny thing that I have become so enraptured with the urban environment. For the most part of the day I don’t give it a second thought, but when hiking, or cycling, suddenly the beauty of it all hits home. Just imagine how many hundreds of hands, and million hours of labour, it took to create the cities we live and work in! To see it all form afar, the skyscrapers, houses, and hotels, is pretty amazing.  

Another part I love about being outdoors is how it gives me time for contemplation. Now really, you can ponder anywhere, including the comfort of your house, but when you go outside it makes it better somehow. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or battle with mosquitoes, but you feel more invigorated. I doubt I have made life changing plans sitting on a bench outdoors, but the ones I have made are better for it.

Lastly, the greatest part of being outside is the return home. Your feet are tired, belly is aching and your clothes are covered in grim. Once in the house, all your comforts are at your disposal and there is plenty of food in the fridge.  If you’re like me though, you have already gotten food from the fresh fruit truck on the corner of the street. Half the container of mango slices is eaten, and the rest is what you put in the fridge for Sunday breakfast. Then you have a quick shower and snuggle into bed with a good book. Once your feet are off the ground you suddenly realize how tired, and sore, you really are and drift off into a dead man’s sleep. All the while you are silently giving thanks that you do not have to walk, run, or lift anything for the next eight hours.

Sweet dreams.  








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