Sunset would take place in less than an hour. I had to head east and climb. I knew where the mountain was, but not where the trail began. I set off with no snacks, no water, and only a vague sense of direction.
This is the path that greeted me. I was following two chatty women who had never even heard of my destination, Elephant Mountain (象山). As we climbed up the 40 degree incline, they bounced off of each other must-see places for my two-months here.
We soon arrived at a childrens’ playground. By then cell phone service was gone; Mr. Gopher and his map were all I could depend on to find my direction.
As my friends headed elsewhere to visit family, they pointed me in the direction of a view spot. That direction was upwards. The incline got rough before mellowing out into a bamboo forest.
Each time I saw a person walking or practicing Tai Chi in a pagoda, I would confirm that I was headed towards the correct mountain. The hike was supposed to last only 30 minutes; after 40 minutes of climbing , I caught a view of Taipei 101 (the world’s fourth tallest tower) in the distance.
Finally, I made it. A sign pointed towards a ‘photographers spot’ and I increased my pace. When I arrived I was a bit disappointed to see that the spot was completely full of people taking time lapses of the sunset. Not to mention it actually was a pretty overcast day.
Okay I’ll admit it: I got lost. What was supposed to be a simple thirty minute hike took me well over an hour and a half. I walked through neighborhoods, temples, and near closed coffee shops. I decended and ascended; I had no clue where to go at points and there was nobody to ask. But by golly, I made it.
And actually, my favorite photo wasn’t taken from the photography spot, but rather during the hike along the way.
Oh, and the hike back down was 30 minutes as advertised 🙂