Snow Day: Jiuwufeng to Elephant Mountain

Snow in Taipei, you say? Coldest day in 44 years, huh? Sounds like the perfect time to get out. I didn’t grow this beard to sit around the house like your lazy, hipster boyfriend. (editor’s note: GOT ‘EM!

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Took the opportunity to do a short hike to Jiuwufeng or 95 Peak as it’s commonly known. Supposedly, some guy topped out on it at the age of 95. Maybe he did it before there were stairs. Even so, not particularly impressive as it’s only about 400 meters above sea level. 95 Hill, I’d say.

There’s a few trailheads to choose from, and I started from Beixing Temple (北興宮 on Google maps) after a short walk from Houshanpi Station. Actually, this whole Nangang area is crisscrossed with a ton of different trails to explore, so I’ll have to come back at some point.

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The stairs to the top of Jiuwufeng weren’t the usual green green green, with occasional patches of green moss. The sides of the trail were littered with derelict or half-derelict buildings being slowly reclaimed by the forest which made for an interesting hike. Overall, the stairs were very easy for the most part.

Maybe the best part of this hike was getting a good views of downtown Taipei. I’d say the more popular Elephant Mountain Hike (象山, Xiangshan) is overrated and should be replaced by this one in the guidebooks. Taipei 101 comes poking out of the trees, then you get some great overlook perspectives of the whole city laid out before you. The trail looks to be lit at night, and might make for some wonderful nighttime photo opportunities.

As I got higher up, the snow started to come. There wasn’t enough to collect on the ground, but it was still cool to see little flakes collecting on my fleece as I walked along. Yangmingshan got a nice dusting of snow, but I had heard that lots of people were planning to hike it and so avoided it entirely.

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Not that this hike was particularly devoid of people.

With the exception of one particularly elderly, peculiarly overdressed hiking group, everyone I saw was all smiles and polite with how much of the narrow stairs they were taking up. After summiting, I descended along the trail towards Elephant Mountain.

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More of Taipei 101. Been doing a pisspoor job of taking gratuitous photos of the tower the way any good foreigner ought to.

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Here, too, were plenty of side trail opportunities, many of which looked to be very unimproved. Sadly, it was too wet to take advantage in my tennis shoes. The closer I got to Elephant Mountain, the more crowded things got and getting down the well-used stairs was a pain in the ass. Ah well. Short walk to Xiangshan Station, then home to a bowl of Beef Noodles.

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Here’s some strangers enjoying their day out. I did, too. What did you do with your Taipei snow day?

Photos taken on my Pentax K-S2 (18-135mm kit lens), perpetually in the wrong mode, and edited with Adobe Photoshop Express on my Surface 3. Sorry about how shit they are. I’m working on it.


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