Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hiking Tainan’s DaDong Mountain

imageYears ago when I lived in Taichung City, it was  nearly an hour’s scooter ride just to get to DaKeng mountain. After factoring in 4-6 hours of actual hiking time, that made for a fairly full day. Likewise, when I lived in Western Yunlin it took an hour and a half just to drive to the nearest mountain in Chiayi. So, scheduling wise, I really appreciate the fact that I now live a mere five minute car/scooter ride  from the base of the trail to DaDong Mountain here in Guanziling, Tainan (關仔嶺大凍山). Though certainly not the reason why we live here, DaDong  just happens to be the most popular place to hike in all of Tainan! Here's a helpful google map someone put together of the trail.

For the second straight Saturday, I enjoyed an exhilarating afternoon/early evening hike up DaDong. Last week I brought our two dogs with me but one of them ran away and we didn’t find her for 4 days! So today I ventured out by myself (I’ll give the dogs a chance on a shorter trail on Monday).

I need to measure the distance myself to confirm, but I think from the temple parking lot at the base of the trail  (altitude 418 meters) to the top (1241 meters) is between 5 and 6 km. According to the recreation website, the trail's level of difficulty is a mere 2 out of 5, but that’s more than enough of a workout for me on most days.  

Last Saturday my legs felt like lead  since I had done two leg  weight-lifting/cardio workouts the previous day and earlier that same morning prior to my hike. Today, however, I felt much better. It took me two hours to make it to the top (a little shorter than the 180-15 = 165 minutes this recreational hiking website recommends, but right on for what this blogger says (see also the good pics—I’m really impressed the mountain biker rode up nearly to the top!).

I took three short kindle reading breaks at the top and on the way down but still managed to get back to my scooter just as dark was setting in at just 85 minutes.

If you stay out past dusk, you can typically see fireflies in the spring (while not a big deal for Americans who may be accustomed to seeing them in our backyards, fireflies are a very big deal to Taiwanese). I didn’t see any tonight, but I didn’t want to risk being out too far without a flashlight.

Also, as is the case at Taichung’s DaKeng mountain and other places, the curious foreigner can see monkeys here at DaDong as well (I did each of the last two weeks and on many former hikes). Enjoy this hike if you ever have the chance!