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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seeing the world from the 5-1

This morning started off on a less than promising note when I woke up to thunder and rain. Tuesday afternoons are when I like to go for walks in the mountains, but the sky didn't augur well. Still, I prepared everything as I usually do, and short of typhoon-like conditions, I was determined to get my walk in, rain or shine (though the sounds of thunder were somewhat disconcerting). The rain wasn't heavy, but it was constant all through the morning...until the time I finished my shift shortly before noon. It was still overcast on the ride out to Tak'eng, but by the time I arrived at the start to the No. 1 Trail, the sun was shining. The gods must have been pleased.

The afternoon turned out to be one of the more satisfying excursions I've had in this particular area, for two reasons: 1.) the weather had no doubt kept some people away, and so I had the mountain mostly to myself; and 2.) the morning showers had resulted in some of the clearest skies I've seen in quite some time. The course I chose today was a longer one, going up the No. 1 first, then walking over to Trail 5-1, and continuing uphill from there. The No. 5 is my favorite out of all the paths in the Tak'eng area because not only is it the least busy (due to the extra effort it takes to reach it), but also for the views it provides. The other trails all have vistas overlooking T'aichung (Taichū) 台中 and its neighbors (at least when it isn't hazy or smoggy), but the No. 5 allows you to see what's on the other side, towards Taiwan's Central Mountain Range 中央山脈. And today I was in for a nice surprise. It had been a while since I'd taken this trail. As I climbed up to an electricity pylon 鉄塔 perched atop a clearing, I discovered that since the last time I was there, someone had clear cut all the trees and bushes in that area. Normally, I'd be upset that such a thing had been done, but the result in this case was a great view overlooking the farming communities and fields down below. The air was so clear that I could make out with my binoculars the small homes and buildings dotting the sides of the mountains in the background. The photos and video I took didn't do the scene justice:



And I thought to myself...what a wonderful world.

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