Monday, 19 May 2014

Little Lion's Head Mountain

It's hiking weather at last. In between the rain storms, I mean.

One easily accessible mountain we hadn't managed to visit in all our time living in Taipei was Little Lion's Head Mountain. I call it Little Lion's Head because it's the smaller of two mountains of the same name, which are, even more confusingly, in the same area of Xindian. I also call it Little Lion's Head Mountain because that's what Richard Saunders calls it in his excellent Taipei Escapes volumes. But according to the Chinese on the signs, it's just Lion's Head Mountain.

Either I was very bad at following the directions (a frequent occurrence) in Mr. Saunders' guidebook, or the area has changed a little since it was written. We exited Xindian MRT Station and crossed the road on the right, as directed. Then we turned right up Zhongxing Road Section One and under the flyover, but at that point the instructions no longer followed the lay of the land. This wasn't a problem because the sign to the trail is on Zhongxing Road, and we walked up the steep street leading to the trailhead.

A handy sign indicated the start of the trail, so we had no doubts we were in the right place.

Despite it being a rare sunny, dry Sunday, the trail was very quiet. This must be one of the lesser known walks in Xindian.

I never tire of the views of Taipei from its surrounding mountains.
As always, there wasn't just one trail, but a labyrinth of them running over the mountain and leading to various exit points. Most destinations were marked with clear signs and estimated distances, but all the signs are in Chinese, as far as I remember.

At the summit there's a tower to climb to see a view unimpeded by trees.

Maybe due to its unpopularity, Little Lion's Head Mountain was alive with wildlife. Plenty of young golden orb spiders, butterflies and lizards. It was a shame to scare the basking reptiles from their patches of warm sunlight. I imagine they'd missed it as much as we had.
One of the best things about the Little Lion's Head Mountain is that it's very close to Bitan River and all the restaurants that line its banks. As a reward for all our exercise (and perhaps the undoing of it) we returned to the place where we'd found delicious organic apricot ale before.

Little Lion's Head Mountain was an hour's worth of trail stairs up and down that we could have extended by taking a side trail. I hope both we and the lizards get to enjoy more sunny hiking weather.

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