By eight o'clock, the fast-rising sun has already taken the cool edge off the early morning air, and we can feel its growing heat against our faces.
Some of the best discoveries, it is said, are made accidentally, in which case one of the most pleasant accidents to befall me in recent months was the re-discovery of Ahrou Stream (阿柔溪), which descends from the hills to empty its contents into Jingmei River at the town of Shenkeng (深坑), just a few kilometers southeast of Taipei City limits.
There is an uncanny similarity between ghosts and gold. For starters, both are difficult to acquire, being untouchable elements that many people talk about, but few get the opportunity to witness.
Climbing Seven Star Mountain in the magnificent Yangmingshan National Park, I never cease to be amazed by the fact that this peak is higher than Mount Snowden (the highest mountain in England and Wales) back home in my native Britain.
We stand at the edge of a curious, almost perfectly circular pool, cut into the fine, orange sandstone by the force of the stream crashing over the waterfall immediately above.
Long, long ago, donkey's years before anyone dreamed of the possibility of traveling the length of Taiwan in less than two hours by plane or high-speed railway ...
The little town of Shenkeng (深坑), nestled beside the Xindian River just a few kilometers east of Taipei Zoo is synonymous with that favorite Taiwanese snack, stinky tofu.
Two things in life inspired me to traverse Taiwan with an underpowered (according to the Big Bike guys) motorcycle.
Apart from the winding, climbing strip of tarmac, the Keelung River is about the only thing the two ends of the scenically beautiful Hsichih (汐止) to Pingsi (平溪) Highway (known as the Hsiping Highway 汐平公路) has in common.
Recent tensions between Taiwan and Japan over the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands remind us that relations between the two neighboring island nations have by no means been cordial for much of the last century.