Today I got a bit of an early start compared to yesterday. I decided to spend another day and night in this great, laid-back town. Kaohsiung is totally a place I could live. And, I was excited to see some monkeys in the wild on this mountain!! The mountains name is Mount Shoushan. It is the largest natural wilderness in the metropolitan area that spans about 1,100 acres.
I took the subway and then a bus to Longquan Temple. This temple was very large and elegant. The temple is at the base of the mountain and the beginning of my journey on the trails around the mountain.
I came across monkeys at about three points on the trail. The monkeys are very tame and are not phased by people. I read one of the signs along the way that said they have the intelligence of a three year old. I guess there was also problems with people feeding them. A local on the trail said that many of the restaurants at the start of the trail will be forced to close by the government because the monkeys are coming down from the mountain begging for food. There was even a point were I was popping a squat, taking some pictures, and a monkey crawled on my backpack looking for food inside. I had a monkey on my back!! Sweet^^
Another really cool animal I saw was a Taiwan deer. I was walking along and something went under the walk way. I thought it was a squirrel or rabbit, but then I saw a small little deer. Seriously, my dog is bigger than this deer!! I was unable to get a very great photo because it was on the move. Sorry, but this is the best picture I was able to take. Now that I think about it, I should have taken a video… lesson learned!!
Every once in awhile I would stop to take a quick break. One time, I was talking to an older gentleman that said foreigners rarely hike this mountain. I told him because it’s not mentioned in the guide books or city maps. The only reason I was hiking these trails is because the hostel owner told me about it. It kind of makes it a little more special hearing that.
The mountain was a great break from the city. I love hiking and it brings back some of my Boy Scout past times to mind. There is just an energy I feel when I’m in the woods and surrounded by, bugs, trees, animals, etc. I really need to take advantage of the mountains in Korea and get out of the city. Now that I am almost finished working on this grad school certificate, that may be a possibility. Here is a picture of the mountain I took.
I didn’t take any photos of this, but at different parts of the mountain, there was exercise equipment that people have hauled up to use. There were even dumb bells! I guess it’s a little hang out for old people to exercise. I also met a university kid half way on the trail who decided to follow me and be a hiking partner. Honestly, I was a bit annoyed because I just wanted to be one-with-nature and my thoughts. But, I am just to nice to tell someone to piss-off. At the end of the hike, we stopped and ate lunch. I had some noodles with duck. It was very good, but I did not eat any of the duck meat. It looked mostly like duck fat and tendons.
I left my hiking buddy when I got on the bus. Bad timing because the high school had just got out for the day. But, I made it on and decided to go see a couple sights I did not get to the day before. Come to find out after going to the area my map told me to go, all three things were in completely different areas of town. I did get to walk through the university campus. Reminded me of a university back in the US. At that moment the thought that I could live in this city came to mind.
So I headed back to my hostel and decided to go out to the movies. I went to see Gangster Squad. A great hike and a movie was just the kind of day I needed. I’ll be heading off to Tainan tomorrow. That is where Kevin moved on to ahead of me and he said it is worth seeing and it can be easily done in a day by bike. Until then, one more monkey shot!!