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.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Snoopy and The Peanut Gang

I already have A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas Again, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, so I didn't try to find them on

The Song, Listen to Lucy, brings my childhood memories back to me. I still can sing along with the song when I watch it again.

The most touching story from Snoopy is Do You Remember Me, a story about the friendship between Charlie Brown and a girl, Lila. I remeber I was crying when I saw the part the girl left for treatment. A really moving story.

Snoopy – Lucy is the Boss, Listen to Lucy

Snoopy – Happy New Year, Musical Chairs

Snoopy - Snoopy the Musical, What I Know Now

Snoopy - Snoopy the Musical, Don't Be Anything Less Than You Can Be

Snoopy - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown! Opening

Snoopy - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown! Snoopy

Snoopy - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown! Book Report

Snoopy - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown! Happiness

Snoopy - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown! Suppertime

Sunday, March 16, 2008

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

The Hiking Club went hiking in Muzha region last Saturday. We started at NCCU and went to Zhinan Temple, Maokong, Erjiaogeshan, Xinhualin, Zhanshan Temple, and then returned NCCU, a loop route full of splendid views.

I took hundreds of pictures during the hike, behaved like a maniac photographer. I uploaded my photos to, but it's weird that I can't get my photos' urls all of a sudden.

Here are some photos, probably only half of what I have taken.

I will try to post photos here and write our hiking story before the end of Sunday.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

2008-03-13 Photos of Roses

After yesterday's photo shooting, I learned that I've not learned how to handle my camera well. I had my camera with me today and planed to take more pictures. I enjoyed spending time with gourgeous nature so I took a walk on FJU's campus during my lunch break. I found several roses growing in front of FJU's administrative building. I sat within those roses and enjoyed their fragrance and take my time having sunbath and taking photos of them.

2008-03-12 Photos of Spring

After finished two presentations in classes, I felt I extremely needed to relax. I had my camera with me because I had to take pictures of some teaching activities in an English class. I thought I could take a walk and shed off stress I had even though I only had about 30 minutes before my weekly meeting with Eric, so I took a walk around campus and took some photos. The day was balmy and taking a walk in a beautiful afternoon was refreshing. I still can operate my camera well, I need more practice. And I realised that I like taking photos of flowers. :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Krtek the Mole

One feature about the Internet that I love is its incredible information and data sharing function that tears down the barriers of time and space. I can find numerous things that I couldn't get before. One example is Krtek the Mole.

I used to watch a lot of animated features when I was a kid. Those animated features aren't like what children have nowadays. (Well, you can tell that I have some complaints, but I am not going to complain about present cartoons on TV here).

I used to watch a cartoon about a mole and his friends after school. I didn't know anything about it, but I loved it very much and I still love it now.

I had done online search few years ago and found its DVDs weren't available at that time. But I did search this afternoon and found a lot of information about it. Now I know it's a Czechoslovakian animation created by Zdenek Miler. And I can enjoy some of those animated films on Fantastic animation!

A sharing group on

Zdeněk Milerěk_Miler

The Mole and the Rocket, 1965

The Mole and the Green Star, 1969

The Mole in a Zoo, 1969

The Mole and the Lollipop, 1970

The Mole and the Umbrella, 1971

The Mole as a Painter, 1972

The Mole and the Music, 1974

The Mole and the Matches, 1974

The Mole as a Photographer, 1975

The Mole and the Small Fish, 2000

Friday, March 7, 2008

Tower of Hanoi 河內塔

I am taking a course called Cognitive Training in this semester. In the class, students have to design programs that can potentially help older adults to maitain their cognitive abilities. I say potentially here is because those programs need further examination for their reliability and validity. Besides designing training programs, students have to train themselves in this semester and to examine their learning curve. It's a kind of Learning By Doing.

According to ACTIVE, a longitudinal program of cognitive training in the U.S., three kinds of cognitive abilities are related to older adults' function in daily life. They are memory, reasoning, and speed of process. We chose currently available programs or games that can train us to enhance the abovementioned cognitive abilities.

For training memory, we chose memory card games (卡片記憶); for training reasoning, we chose Sudoku (數讀); and for training speed of process, we chose PS2's Taiko (太鼓達人). We will have to assess our abilities of memory, reasoning, and speed of process next week, and then we start training ourselves in the following six weeks. We will have accept posttest after we finish our traing prcedure and see the post training difference. It seems we will have spend extracurricular time playing a lot of games. I am actually really excited about it.

I found some online games that I can practice with my PC, which will be fun.

Sudoku (數讀)

Taiko (太鼓達人)

Memory Games

To assess the difference of our performance between pre-and post-training, We determine the external criteria: WCST (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, 威斯康辛卡片分類測驗) and Tower of Hanoi Test and other psychological assessment that I can't reveal here. I will be the tester of Tower of Hanoi so I did some online search for the preparation.

Tower of Hanoi in English and in Chinese.

Tower of Hanoi online game

Even though there are plenty reading assignments in the class, this is the most interesting course I have ever taken. Terrific!!

2008-02-23 Jiajiuliao 烏來加九寮(紅河谷)

It has been crazily busy weeks for me since my new semester began. I finally have some time to write down my hike in Jiajiuliao (加九寮) in Wulai.

It was sunny in the morning, I thought I could go hiking. After I had my lunch, I headed to Jiajiuliao. One the way to Wulai, the sky was getting dark, and soon, it started raining. It wasn't cold, I thought I could still continue the hike. But it turned out to be another hike of twisting my left ankle after my previous hike in Manyueyuan.

Juajiuliao has a nickname, Red River Valley (紅河谷), because of the scenary along the riverbank is similar to some scenes from John Wayne's Red River. I had had its DVD for a long time, but I haven't seen it yet. I don't know if this saying is true or not. I took some photos of the riverbank, it's pretty and the color of the rocks along the riverbank is red.

On the way to the trailhead of Jiajiuliao Hiking Trail, I saw differnt lovely flowers. I felt happy at that moment, it seemed a nice start. I saw a honey bee busy working among flowers. While I was taking pictures of this honey bee, a idea suddenly came into my mind. I realised I rarely see bees in recently years. I could see a lot of butterflies when I am hiking, but not bees. I wonder if the mysterious disappearance of bees alos happened to Taiwan.

I thought it's kind of amazing to see a seed of dandelions resting on another flower's petal so I took this photo.

On the way to the trailhead, I saw a lot of rainboots piling along the raod.

A bridge near the trailhead of Jiajiuliao Hiking Trail.

Trail's condition was good when I started the hike.

Jiaojiuliao Hiking Trail can lead you to Xiongkong (熊空) in Shanxia or Badaoer Shan (拔刀爾山) in Wulai, the branch trails are behind a hut on the trail. I planed to get to the hut today. It would be one and a half hours going up to the hut and one hour getting back to the trailhead.

There are three bridges made of logs.

Jiaojiuliao Hiking Trail is a good place for bird watching. My cam isn't good enough to get a clear capture of this bird's features.

I loved this lush forest even though it was raining.

I met a Taiwanese who carried strange tree roots on the trail. I asked him what it is for. He told me it is kind of Chinese herb medicine. However, I couldn't help thinking if it is legal to dig or cut plants in this place. I simply hope no one would spoil the beauty of this trail.

It is the blossom season of this unknown flowers. I could see a lot of this tiny white flowers sprawlilng along the trail.

The last bridge in front of the hut.

The branch trail going to Badaoer Shan is on the left side of this hut; and another trail on the right side of this hut leads to Xiongkong.

I finally finished my stories about previous two hikes. I was keen to complete them so that I can start other stories about hiking. The weather has been really nice for several days, I will go hiking this weekend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

2008-02-17 Dongman Hiking Trail of Manyueyuan 三峽滿月園森林遊樂區(東滿步道)

It's almost two weeks after The Hiking Club went hiking in Manyueyuan (滿月園). I finally found some time to start writing story of the hike.

Chris, Robert, and I met at Xindian MRT station on the day of hiking, and Chris drove us to Manyueyuan. It was my first time to go to Manyueyuan. Chris and Robert had been there few times. They told me their experiences about hiking there. It seemed that I was blissed because the day of our hike was a sunny and balmy day, but their previous hikes were in myserably bad weather. I was happy and lucky to visit the beautiful forest park in a nice day. I love to see shafts of sunlights peeked into the woods.

Near the entry of Manyueyuan, there was a tranditional Taiwanese market. Many visitors were there, and old people enjoyed the warm day under sunlight. When I was taking picture of this market, those old people stared at me with confusing expression. It seemed they were saying "What this girl was doing!" in mind.

We started our hike kind of late. It was about 11 a.m. when wer got into the park. We hadn't seen such a beautiful sunny day for weeks. It was great.

Manyueyuan Shan is named because of its spherical shape. The sunlight came from the same direction of Manyueyuan Shan so the photo is kind of dark.

In the park, there are few spots in the woods where visitors can have a picnic and enjoy fresh air and sunlight in natural environment. I love to stay in this place when I have more free time.

Three of us had our cameras with us in this hiking event. It was interesting that all of us were pretty into photography on that day. We spent our first one and a half hours lingering in the park, taking photos, and studying operations of cameras.

Chris and Robert concentrated on studying their cameras' function.

When we were resting on a bridge, I saw a bird nest fern on a tree, and there were few wood planks nailed on the tree's trunk. I was baffled with those planks' function. When I showed Eric this photo in our gathering, he asked me what the function of those planks was. I couldn't give him an anwser. Well, I don't know. That's why I took this photo. Anway, the bird nest fern was gorgeous.

We planed to go hiking on Dongman Hiking Trail (東滿步道) which connects Dongyan Shan Forest Park (東眼山森林遊樂區) in Taoyuan and Manyueyuan Forest Park (滿月園森林遊樂區) in Shaxia. On the way to the trailhead of Dongman Hiking Trail, there was a branch road that leads to a waterfall called Virgin Waterfall (處女瀑布). We decided to see the waterfall. The trail to the waterfall is Z-shape trail up to a small hill. When we arrived at the waterfall, it was close to noon of the day. Sunlight shined into the valley and a rainbow was formed in front of the waterfall. It was really splendid.

We took a lunch break near the Virgin Waterfall. Robert was very into his newly-bought camera and eagerly tried every function of it. Chris and I became his best model on that day. He took many photos of us during our lunch break.

When we arrived at the trailhead of Dongman Hiking Trail, it was about 1:30, so it's impossible for us to complete whole trail.

We studies a message board near the trailhead. It shows many wild lifeforms you could see along Dongman Hiking Trail. Robert saw barking deer and monkey once in his previous hike in Manyueyuan so I was looking forward to observe those wild animals on trail.

Along Dongman Hiking Trail, there were few spots set with wood barriers which prevent hikers from going to wrong direction. I think it's great that using natural material building things in natural environment. That doesn't spoil the beauty of nature. I really don't like to see plastic material ruining natural environment.

On the trail, we saw a branch trail with a direction sign. It showed its a branch trail that goes to Laka shan (拉卡山). I did online search to find some information about Laka shan. It seems that trail on Laka shan is parallel with Dongman Hiking Trail and hikers can see views of Beichatian shan (北插天山).

On Dongman Hiking Trail, there are many big and old camphor trees. Chris and Robert love camphor and its fragrance. Those two tree huggers enjoyed their close contact with camphor tree.

This is a distant view of the camphor tree. This tree is really big and old. We all loved it. And I specailly love that we were surrounded by lush forest and vegetation.

Robert once said something like that it is easily to get hurt near the end of a journey because people are in their worst and fragile psychological and physical condition. I think it is true. I got my ankle twisted when we were on the way back to the trailhead. I can't recall how it happened. I think I might miss one step. It happened so quikcly when Robert was talking about once a deer jumping into a trail and surprising him. I suddenly fell forward. I could roll down to the bottom of the slope which would cause severe harm to me. I was lucky that Robert stopped me from rolling down.

I twisted my ankle and limped all the way back to our car. I was lucky that we were not terribly far way from the entry. Chris and Robert slowed down their pace and waited for me. It was almost dark when we finally got to our car.

On our way back to Taipei, we stop at a restaurant called 自然步調 (Natural Pace) to have our dinner. It was a nice and cozy place with good service. Lovely place.

We had our nice hiking day and a nice dinner at the end of the day. It was great! I would like to revisit Dongman Hiking Trail and complete it when we have more free time. I do love the lush forest there.