Last night something happened for the first time in months. No, probably not what you're thinking. I had to actually use bedcovers! Yes, the weather has turned. There's a chill in the air that makes me reminisce about British summers.
This weekend was Mid-Autumn Festival, which in Taiwan generally involves lots of mooncake eating and stepping over impromptu barbecues out on the street. Oh, and fireworks. There are always fireworks.
As well as becoming autumnal, the weather also obligingly turned clear, and the festive full moon was visible.
This is wonderful walking weather, just right for more mountain exploring.
We decided to go to Yangmingshan, the national park that sits on the north-eastern edge of Taipei.
If you like walking in natural landscapes, Yangmingshan is like having Christmas available every day of the year. It's 11,500 hectares of mountains, just-about-dormant volcanoes, waterfalls, lakes, fumaroles, high plains, hot springs, beautiful views, forests and wooded trails. It can be accessed by bus and car, and also by simply walking up into it from the city. Normally, we would catch the S15 bus from Jiantan MRT station, then at the visitor centre, transfer to the 108 leisure bus that departs every five minutes or so, circling the park.
But on a festival weekend the usual routes would have been very crowded, so we decided to explore the other side.
As always, we turned to Richard Saunders to be our guide. Following Yangmingshan - the Guide, we approached the national park from the Beitou side and got into the mountains by following a stream coming down, finding a street, turning left at number 95, and climbing up the concealed steps that started behind it.
Mountain walking around Taipei is often very homogenous. Lots of steps up, a stunning view, then lots of steps down, but it's something I don't think I'll ever tire of.