Hua Shan – Saturday

Since before we ever came to Taiwan, we have wanted to see the mountains. On our drive to Huwei from Taipei, we saw some big hills, but didn’t catch a glimpse of any. After we arrived, we were told that there were mountains only about a 30 minute drive away. It just seemed hard to believe; it looks so flat here in the city. Well last weekend, we got to experience it.

One of the parents of a kid from Liz’s class offered to take us to see Hua Shan on Saturday. So we set off at around 3:30 pm; Me, Liz, Tammy the mother, Roger and Zoe. We drove through the countryside for about 30 minutes and saw tons of rice growing, guava trees, pineapples, and mango trees. As we got closer, we could see the mountain shrouded with mist, but becoming more and more clear. We parked in a small town that sits underneath the mountain and got out. The air was humid, but not too warm. We were so excited to be on our way!

The view from the parking lot. The small stones on the ground are meant to look like coffee beans. We would find out that coffee is grown all over this mountain.
The view from the parking lot. The small stones on the ground are meant to look like coffee beans. We would find out that coffee is grown all over this mountain.
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The small town and all its vendors. We saw tons of fruit for sale, as well as coffee and coffee products. We got to sample tons of stuff!
The town's temple.
The town’s temple.
I bet this looks amazing after a heavy rain!
I bet this looks amazing after a heavy rain!

So we were not sure what to expect. When someone says mountain climbing, what do you imagine? Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger is what I kept picturing. Thank God that wasn’t the case on our first trip! We walked down a short walkway and were greeted with a very long staircase that went straight up through the jungle. No rocks to climb, just steps to take; one by one. It immediately got hotter and I noticed mosquitoes biting me for the first time since I’ve been in Taiwan. The kids were full of energy, and running up and down the stairs. The adults were much slower and more deliberate, taking them slowly.

Stairway to jungle
Stairway to jungle

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As we got higher the view through the trees got better and better!
As we got higher the view through the trees got better and better!

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Just when my legs were starting to really fatigue, we were done with the stairs. We came out onto a road, and the going was much easier from then on. The views were incredible, a lot of it was covered by fog, but that really added to the mystique of everything. I was surprised to see houses along the road. This mountain had hotels and restaurants along the road as well. Tammy was our guide, pointing out different religious buildings, as well as tons of different plants. We saw our first coffee plant growing, with its green beans not quite ripened to the red they would eventually become. There were tons of flowers, as well as many different kinds of fruits along the road.

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Dragonfruit.

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As we continued down the road, we were greeted with awesome views around every bend in the road. It is crazy to think that this is one of the baby mountains of Taiwan. We really cannot imagine what the big ones are like!

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That’s our guide Tammy, snapping a picture.

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Liz with a bigger part of the mountain looming overhead.
Liz with a bigger part of the mountain looming overhead.

 

We even found another temple up on the mountainside.
We even found another temple up on the mountainside.

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I kept wondering if we would have to go back down all of those stairs, but Tammy took us a different route to get back to the car. We stayed on the road and made a big loop, and my legs were grateful. On our way back down, we even came across a mountain crab scuttling across the road. A car started coming toward us, and Roger, Liz’s student, made sure to save the crab from harms way.

Mountain crab!
Mountain crab!

After our hike we headed to Doulio for dinner, which Tammy treated us to. We also set up plans with her for the next weekend. She wants to show us so many different things, it is very exciting. We feel very fortunate and blessed that she would be so kind and gracious to us. God has really put some amazing people into our lives here in Huwei, in less than a month. We know this is where we are meant to be.

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