Monday, 10 June 2013

Erziping, Yangmingshan

As the weather heats up, escaping to Yangmingshan at the weekend becomes more and more tempting, and there's so much to explore that there's always something new to see. One of the most popular trails is Erziping. It's wide, level and short, making it attractive to young families, the older generation and those who want some fresh mountain air but don't have a lot of time on their hands.

Erziping used to be a butterfly trail, and many of the indigenous plants that grow there are caterpillar and butterfly hosts, but in recent years the trail has become so shady that there are fewer butterflies are to be seen. It's still a beautiful walk on a hot summer's day, and its popularity doesn't detract too much from its peaceful air.

Even on busy weekends the trail is occasionally empty.
From our home in Muzha to Yangmingshan is long journey by public transport. Government information says that the R5 bus to Yangmingshan bus station leaves from Jiantan MRT station, but I couldn't find the stop, so I caught it at Shilin MRT station instead, where the bus stop is easy to find (stop D just outside the station on the left). After about 45 minutes, it arrives at Yangmingshan, (the terminal stop) and you transfer to bus 108 that circles the park. Erziping is so popular that sometimes bus 108 goes nearly directly there, instead of taking the usual route.

Visitors can choose from several trails and meander around the site all afternoon. One track leads to Datun Nature Park, a reserve built around a large natural pond and a magnet for local ducks and other wild birds. At the end of Erziping trail is a large open site for resting, picnicking and enjoying the sunshine. Restrooms and a pavilion for outdoor performances are on site. On the day I visited, the sound of Chinese flute music floated through the air.

Erziping lies on the lee side of Mt. Datun, which creates a sheltered, balmy climate and suitable growing conditions for a diverse range of trees, ferns, shrubs and aquatic plants, which in turn support local wildlife. Of the few butterflies I saw, one or two were new to me, such as the one that perfectly disguised itself as a dead leaf when it landed. I only realised I'd been looking at a butterfly when it took off again. Hence, no photo.

Never mind, the views at Erziping are enough to compensate.

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