April 26 Guanyinshan Tough Man Peak

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Guanyinshan, as seen from across the Tamsui River at Bali Wharf

Eagles and hawks! We finally saw some migrating raptors!Jeff and I decided to go back up Guanyinshan on the next Saturday, to see if we could see the migrating raptors, as they would be flying over towards mainland China for another week or so. There were fewer bird watchers this time up at the visitor center, as the peak of the raptor migration period had passed.

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Ann is standing outside the visitor center on Guanyinshan

But there were still raptors catching updrafts from the trees near the top of the mountain. Jeff and I stayed there for about one hour, watching them circle up into the sky and disappear.

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Eagle taking off from a tree near the top of Guanyinshan to migrate towards the mainland

Then the clouds started to roll in again, and we knew that the birds would stop flying until tomorrow, when the weather improved. So we started off on our hike.

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More eagles circling in the updrafts

This famous carved eagle stone monument is a well known feature outside of the Guanyinshan visitor center. It is very  impressive, like a stone totem pole with an eagle on top!

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Famous eagle stone monument outside of the Guanyinshan visitor center

Jeff also liked this tree outside of the visitor center. He appreciated the way that its branches echoed the shape of the mountain above it.

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Tree outside of the Guanyinshan visitor center

There is a “trail in the trees” that goes  from the visitor center to the start of the trail up Guanyinshan. It is an elevated walkway running alongside of the tops of the trees, similar to the ones I have been on in places like Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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Ann is standing on the “trail in the trees” walkway near the visitor center of Guanyinshan

It was a lot of fun to walk on, and look down from the treetop level

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Jeff is standing on a platform on the “trail in the trees” walkway

At the end of the “trail in the trees” walkway, there was an old shrine to Tutegong.

2014-04-26 Toughman Peak 017There are many of these shrines to Tutegong around Taipei.

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Statues inside of the Tutegong shrine

There was also a rock with a Buddhist character and some buddhist statues near the Tutegong shrine.

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Ann is standing next to a rock with a Buddhist character carved and painted on it

I am pretty sure that the Tutegong shrine was here first, and the Buddhist rock carving and statues were added later in this location. There is a large, well known Buddhist temple on Guanyinshan, so maybe the Buddhists also wanted to have a presence in this area. We did not have time to go to the temple on this outing, but hopefully we can go back and visit it another time.

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Buddhist statues near the Tutegong shrine on Guanyinshan

There was a stone marker next to the entrance to the trail up to the peak. The name of the peak is Ying Han Peak (translation Tough Man Peak.) So naturally my “tough man” wanted to pose next to the marker!

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Jeff is standing next to the stone marker that says Ying Han (Tough Man) Peak in Chinese characters

It is about 2 kilometers up to the top of this peak on Guanyinshan. The peak’s height is 616 meters (about 1,848 feet). With the low clouds blowing in around the mountain, some of the views along the trail had an otherworldly effect.

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Photo of a well known rock along the trail up to Tough Man Peak on Guanyinshan

Tired Man! I believe that the Chinese characters on the marker beside the bench say something like Weak Man Bench!

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Jeff is sitting on a stone bench along the Tough Man trail up to the peak of Guanyinshan. The stone marker says Weak Man Bench in Chinese characters.

Jeff managed to get a photo of this bird when we were walking along the trail. I think that it is a small hawk, likely one of the raptors we had come to see.

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Small bird along the trail up to the peak

We made it to the top of Ying Han (Tough Man) Peak.

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Jeff is standing under the stone arch at the top of Tough Man Peak on Guanyinshan

There was a great view of Taipei from the peak!

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View of Taipei from Tough Man Peak at the top of Guanyinshan

This is a stone monument to “Tough Men” on the peak. It is called “Tough Man” peak because at one time the military used this area as part of their training grounds for new troops.

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Jeff is standing next to a stone monument on Tough Man Peak on Guanyinshan

And there were a few “tough men”, likely former military personel, working out at the top of the peak. This man told Jeff that he climbs up here many times a week to stay in shape.

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A “tough man” working out on exercise bars near the top of Tough Man Peak

We took the trail down the other side of Guanyinshan when we left the peak. We were headed down to Bali, along the Tamsui River, where we could catch the Bali ferry to get to Tamsui. The distance down is about 4.6 kilometers, a long walk but all downhill.

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Beautiful flowers near the top of Tough Man Peak on Guanyinshan

We passed a beautiful temple on our hike down the mountain. Even though it was a Saturday, there was no one inside the temple.

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Temple along the trail down Guanyinshan

Maybe this was because the temple was being repaired. We saw another temple that was also being repaired on our way down the trail to the river. Perhaps April is temple repair season in Taipei?

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Inside view of a temple along the trail down Guanyinshan to the river

I loved the intricate roof dragons on this temple!

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Roof dragons on a temple along the trail down to the river

There were lots of beautiful flowers around the temple.

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Ann is posing with some of the beautiful flowers growing around the temple

There was an enormous hillside cemetery that we passed through on this trail down Guanyinshan. It is the biggest one filled with traditional grave sites that I have seen in Taipei!

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Enormous hillside cemetery of traditional graves on the trail down Guanyinshan

When we got to the bottom of the trail, we walked about 20 minutes along the riverside bike paths to get to the ferry dock in Bali. There is a bustling riverside town near the dock.

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Riverside section of Bali along the Tamsui River

This section of Bali looked very similar to Tamsui across the river. There were lots of vendors selling good things to eat.

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Jeff is eating oysters in an egg omelet, a traditional Taiwan specialty

While we were getting something to eat after our long hike, it started to rain. The rain quickly turned into a downpour! I had forgotten my umbrella, so I had to buy another one from a Bali shop. Fortunately, I found a nice, big one that I really like. We also ended up buying hiking sticks from a man selling them at the entrance to the Tough Man Trail. We had forgotten to bring our hiking sticks, and he was selling good ones, so we bought two of them.

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Ann is standing next to a sign on the Bali Wharf, holding her new umbrella

This is one of the few times that I have gone shopping on a hike. But it worked out well, as we got two new hiking sticks and a new, large umbrella, not your usual souvenirs! We took the ferry back to Tamsui, and then the subway home. It was a wonderful day, inspite of the rainy end!

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Bali ferry that goes across the Tamsui River to Tamsui

 

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