YangMingShan (YMS) Mountain (Official YMS website: http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/HTML/ENGNEW/index.htm
It was Adrain (a colleague in Taipei office) who planned for the hike on the YangMingShan Mountain in Taipei. I was trilled to hear about the plan.
As per the plan, we were four guys who showed up for the hike - Adrain, myself, Tim and Bruce. Jesper and Icaro had a night out in the city and couldn’t join us. We met at Jiantan MRT station and took the R5 Bus ride upto YMS Bus Station. In an hour we reached the YMS Bus Station. We took a quick breakfast and got some goodies from the 7-Eleven store next to the Bus Terminus.
After enriching ourselves we started walking from there up to Visitor Centre - a warm-up walk. We took a short break at Visitor Centre and decided to hit for the ChihSing Main Peak. ChihSing (which means 7 Stars in Chinese) is highest peak in YMS National Park and one could see Taipei City and Sea on the other side from the top in clear weather.
It takes almost 2-3 Hrs of continuous climb to reach the peak. It was just 1/4th of our way when I started feeling weary and out of breath. So we all took another small break in the side bench and continued our climbing. It was Bruce who extended his help and took my bag to relieve me out of those extra Kilograms. We saw some wild lives including the brown squirrels on our way.
The final 1/4th way of the climb was very steep and myself and Adrain (who had a sprained ankle) decided to go at slow pace agreeing to meet Tim and Bruce at the top. It was fun to see Tim and Bruce racing and climbing up the steep stairs so fast. And within few seconds those two runners went out of our sight.
It was me and Adrain who took our climb slowly, talking about various things on our way, and taking several short breaks. As we approached the summit the weather started to change and we faced strong wind and mist. Finally we reached the top. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so clear and we missed the view of the YMS valley, Taipei City and the Sea from the mountain top. We joined Tim and Bruce savouring on breads, cookies, and water. As we regained our lost energies, we took the other path to descend the mountain all the way through the volcanic remains and sulphur springs.
It was amazing to see those active sulphur springs ejecting stinky fumes and hot steams which smell like raw egg. The smell reminds me of the Chemistry Labs in the school. We got some strong winds and rains on our way down. The stones near the sulphur springs were slippery and we cautiously took our steps down.
After crossing pasts some fantastic sulphur springs and scenic grasslands we reached the Hsiaoyukeng Visitor Centre withing few hours. We saw the Sulphur Valley next to the bus stop and took the shuttle bus (No 108) to YMS Bus Station. We were all hungry and took a dining break at the Starbucks café and then headed back to our homes/hotels.
To sum up, overall trip was splendid and something that I would never forget in my life !!