Monday, January 19, 2015

Guanyinshan (觀音山) hiking [Taiwan Day 505: Tough Guys - Jan. 18, 2015]


Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy is immortalize in a mountain in Northern Taiwan. It is called Guanyinshan (shan in Chinese means mountain). The holy mountain from afar looks like the goddess lying on the ground and facing the clouds with eternity. Guanyin rewards those who attempts to climb and reach its peak but only those with a brave heart and a sound body can achieve success.




I went there together with my two Travel Buddies. They were Lam (Singaporean) and Anand (Indian). They responded to the call of Guanyinshan to enhance the tough man spirit or 'yin hang'. We went to Guanyinshan by boarding Bus Orange 20 from Exit 1 of MRT Luzhou Station. It was around two hours of travel before reaching Lingyun Temple where we started our hike to the Tough Man Peak.
 












The Yinhang Peak or the Tough Man Peak has a height of 616 meters but the total length of hiking from Lingyun Temple is 2 kilometers. It was not an easy hike as the trail becomes steep with a dangerous stairs that any wrong step will be fatal. For those who are not 'tough' enough to reach the peak, one can take a rest at the Weak Man bench at half-way of the Tough Man trail. We made a sudden stop at this station to re-energize our tired bodies but we didn't know that a beautiful scenery was slowly starting to unfold to us. 







As we continued our walk, I noticed a large metallic hook but it was a bit looking strange. I moved it with my foot and it suddenly moved. I yelled at the creepy creature. It was a large earth worm and it was my first time to see such large worm. Anand helped the creature go back to Earth using a stick. We continued the hike until the trail became a leveled walkway. We became thirsty along the way and we found a drinking fountain with a small statue of Guanyin. We obeyed our thirst and drank the cold water coming out of the faucet. 











A Scenic Station welcomed us as we got near the Tough Man Peak. We got a glimpse of Tamsui River from this point and I pulled out my 8x40 binoculars from my bag to the surprise of Lam and Anand. They got very happy when they saw the Tamsui MRT Station and mangrove forest which is hardly noticeable from the Scenic Observation Station without any binoculars. A few meters from the peak was a large tree with giant bell-shaped flowers. A Taiwanese told us that the tree is poisonous and I took a photo of the beautiful flowers.











We finally reached the Tough Man Peak and we were rewarded with a nice view of Tamsui District, the Tamsui River, the Datun Volcano group, Taipei City and most especially Taipei 101. We took a lot of pictures and also with the 3 meter high marker. Around the peak were different permanent installations for strengthening the physical body. People in the military go here to enhance their yin hang or tough man spirit hence the name Tough Man Peak or Yinhanling.








We walked down the mountain and a lot of things still happened. We passed by a large orchard full of oranges and we took pictures with the citrus fruit. The trail going down the road was 4 kilometers long and walking the entire length was impossible because we fear that zombies might appear at 6pm along the mountain highway trail. A New Taipei City Free Bus suddenly appeared and took us to the riverside where we took a bus going to the Ferryboat Dock stop in Bali District to take a ferry ride to Tamsui District.












Our spirits were very high as we rode the ferry. Truly, Guanyin rewards those who took the toughest challenges in climbing her mountain. Our adventurous hearts were filled with a joy as a new bond was formed among us. Lam and Anand, we are the Tough Guys!
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