Of all the 117 elements listed in the periodic table, gold is perhaps the most elusive and alluring compound of all, dazzling men and women alike throughout the ages.
In a remote spot deep in the northern slopes of Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園), bored into the steep, forest-covered slopes, is a black hole, half covered in a thick layer of ferns which thrive in this cool, often foggy environment.
The transition from summer to cooler seasons like autumn and winter has always been something that I look forward to, particularly in Taiwan.
Fulong (福隆) has been well established as a weekend destination for both locals and expats for years, if not decades.
When the first northeast seasonal wind blows to the northern part of the island, it tells us of the coming of autumn. Autumn usually arrives in northern Taiwan in late September or early October.
When most people mention Yangmingshan, Taipei City's magnificent natural playground, it seems they're usually talking about the area around the main bus terminal on the mountain, or maybe Seven Star Mountain, the grasslands of Buffalo Meadow (擎天岡), or perhaps even the calla lily fields and rustic eateries of Zhuzihhu (竹子湖).
Following instructions from a website about beaches near Taipei, I traveled to Baishawan (白沙灣White Sands Beach), which was supposedly one of the best and closest beaches to Taipei.
The gray sky has been threatening rain all morning, and as I edge cautiously up the long, sloping rock face at the summit of the peak towards the brink of the sheer cliff beyond, it starts to drizzle, although I hardly notice it, as I'm already damp from the sweat I've worked up in getting up here.
Forcing our way through silver grass taller than our heads, and trying to avoid shallow pits and depressions in the ground beneath, we had no choice but to hope the directions we'd been given were correct as we struggled to find the start of the path to one of Yangmingshan's best hidden treats: the untouched hot springs of Lujiaokeng (鹿角坑溫泉).
The great popularity enjoyed by the Gold Ecological Museum at Jinguashi (金瓜石) since it opened a couple of years ago is proof that the gold rush era continues to exert a strong pull on the public's imagination.