Monday, March 24, 2008

2008-03-15 Maokong, Erjiaogeshan, Xinhualin, Zhanshan Temple Hiking (貓空/鵝角格山/杏花林/樟山寺之行) PART I

I went hiking with Robert, Chris, Kitty, and Patty on March 15th. We started the hike late because most of us aren't early birds. We met around 11 a.m. at NCCU and Patty would meet up with us at the trailhead. It was great to meet Kitty and Patty again. Kitty was on business trip in our previous few hiking events, and Patty was unable to join us in previous few hikes, too. They are active and competent hikers who always share many interesting stories with me. It was great to meet them on trails.

We passes through NCCU's campus and headed to Zhinan Temple Maokong Hiking Trail (指南宮貓空親山步道), while we were walking along the riverbank in NCCU, Chris suddenly realized he left his camera on the stairs in front of NCCU's student cafeteria building. He ran back to look for it. We waited for him and discussed if he really had a camera with him. This event turned out to be a kind of memory and attention test. We hardly pay attention to his camera and barely had memory about it--a typical Blindsight phenomenon. Few minutes later, Chris's figure emerged from the distant end of the road. He waved and his camera was on his hand. What a lucy guy! He was really luck that it was taken away by passersby.

All members soon got together and we headed to the trailhead.

Direction Sign of Few Hiking Trails. Zhinan Temple Maokong Hiking Trail (指南宮貓空親山步道) is on the left side.

A Gate of Zhinan Temple

I saw a broom resting on a pavilion and wondered what kind of person would left a broom on a such high place, a wizard landing on a wrong spot? Harry Potter's feature soon merged with this broom and pivilion background. A bizzard Chinese-style Harry Potter movie played in my mind for few seconds. I think it could be a pretty interesting movie.

Zhinan Temple Maokong Hiking Trail (指南宮貓空親山步道) is a stairway leading to Zhinan Temple. There are a lot of legends about the main God worshiped in Zhinan Temple. Robert probably wrote a lot about it in his Lonely Planet Taiwan Guide, I should find some time to read how he retold those stories. (I suddenly recall that he was going to give me an author's copy. Oops, both of us forget about it.)

Along the stairway, hikers can see a lot of interesting statues. There are Chinese Zodiac statues decorated along the stairway. Those statues were once covered by weeds and vines. We didn't know their existence. In our previous hike, we saw a hiker trying to clear the vines that covered a statue and took picture of it, and we realized there were those statues on the wall. This time, there were especially cleared. I think someone must take care of them regularly now.

The Rat, a rat with pumpkins

The Cattle

The Tiger

The Rabbit
The Dragon
The Snake
The Horse
The Goat

The Monkey

The Chicken

The Dog

The Pig

There are a lot of interesting stories about those twelve zodiacal animals, which indicates how the ancient Chinese trying to explain some phenomena experienced in daily life. I only can recollect two of them. One is about how the rat treats the cat, and the other one is about how the rat treats the cattle. It probably because this year is the Year of Rat, I can only remember stories about rats.

1 comment:

Chris in Asia said...

Great photos, as usual. I look forward to seeing Part II!