Saturday morning at 6:00 am I met up with a neighbor who works for Formosa Plastics, a major company which large factories in nearby XinGang (New Port) and MaiLiao. We drove west to join up with 9 of his fellow employees from the two factory locations for a morning of hiking.
Last year they tackled Jade mountain together-- a two day adventure. Today was merely a "small case" for them to get in shape for later summer activity.
The whole day I was painfully aware that my Taiwanese language is not to the point where I could understand what they were saying nor participate in their conversation. Nevertheless, I was accepted, and could communicate in Mandarin and a little Taiwanese as needed.
We started our hike at TaiPing on the side of Mei (Plum) Mountain in ChiaYi County, continuing over to 2nd Jian Mountain and Da Jian Mountain (altitude 1300 m) in Yunlin county near GuKeng. We avoided the more popular Hua Mountain, which I hope to enjoy some other time. Hardly anyone besides us was out there in the morning; we surmise the presidential election kept everyone away. The guys I was with waited until the afternoon to vote.
The scenery around us for most of the morning were tea plants cared for by various farmers.
Having been 2 to 3 years since the last time I engaged in a mountain hike, I was somewhat fatigued from over-exertion by the time I returned home. However, there was one guy a lot more out of shape than I was so I fortunately didn't stand out in the crowd (except for being white!). Yesterday I heard from coworkers the pollution index was off the scale for Saturday. All in all a good day though.