I must have been pretty psyched up about the trip because I was awake and out of bed before the alarm clock rang and was out of the door by 6.45am. By that time, the sky was already pretty bright lit although it still had that comforting morning freshness which I enjoy.
The plan was to take a slow and leisurely walk to the entrance of the Elephant mountain. Guided by my little map, hastily prepared notes and of course, the ever reliable Iphone (without which I would have became irrevocably lost), I passed Taipei City Hall, the department stores and the Taipei 101 and couldn’t help but be amused by how quiet those familiar places were without the usual crowds.
It took me about 40 minutes to get to the entrance and there were helpful signs along the way. On the way to the entrance, I came across a quaint, unassuming park where you can find groups of elderly people hanging out and doing social group activities such as tai-chi or line dancing. It was quite nice to watch them have so much fun.
Before I reached the entrance of the Elephant mountain, I was confronted by a nasty looking 45-degree slope .The slope is so steep that several cars parked along the side of the road had slabs of rocks pinned behind their back wheels to prevent the car from sliding backwards. Innovating but practical braking mechanism!
I was pleased to know that I would not be lonely in my journey because by the time I reached the entrance, there were already many patrons – some of which I could tell were regulars. The climb, itself, starts with small and even steps at which I was able to do them at least 2 – 3 steps at a go. But before I knew it, they started to become irregular and each step seemed steeper than the next. My thighs started to feel the burn, my breathing got increasingly jagged and I started perspiring profusively despite the morning chill.
Looking back, it wasn’t a hard climb at all. The mountain itself is less than 200 metres in height but I must say that if you truly want to enjoy this mountain without breaking into a sweat, you really have got to like doing step aerobics. Half way up, I realized that if this is considered an “easy” mountain, then I had better start visiting the gym more!! My ego was also slightly bruised when I saw folks old enought to be my grandpa and grandma vigorously swinging their arms and pounding up the stairs with mind-blowing tempo. Bummer! 😀
As I sat on the peak enjoying Taipei City stretched out ahead of me, I knew despite my aching feet, I totally enjoyed myself and would definitely visit the Elephant mountain again soon. 🙂