It's been over six hours of rough walking since we left the trailhead, and we finally meet the first road since the start of the hike.
It's hard at first glance to see anything remotely outstanding about the Taipei suburb of Zhonghe (中和), across the Xindian River to the southwest of Taipei city center.
Jhongjhihguan Historic Trail (中之關步道) is a must-see trail for visitors to the South Cross Island Highway. It is only three and half kilometers long and is a small part of the Guanshan Historic Trail (關山越嶺道).
A short trip to Penghu (澎湖) last year was somewhat dampened by the remnants of a typhoon that drenched us with rain throughout the stay.
On a visit to Sun Moon Lake last year, I got my first look (from the outside) at the fabled Lalu Hotel, considered one of the best in Taiwan.
I don't remember being this cold for years as I stand outside the little 'A' frame mountain hut, trying to find the most sheltered spot out of the worst of the biting, sub-zero blast of wind that buffets us.
Located in one of the remotest and most thinly-populated corners of Chiayi County (嘉義縣), Fengshan Ecology Garden (豐山生態園區) isn't a place you're likely to stumble across.
Sitting on bus R5 en route to Yangmingshan, it's clear we'll be going nowhere fast in the huge tailback that snakes up the road ahead and disappears around the corner, with only a steady stream of scooters beside us going at anything more than a snail's pace.
For some particular reason old trees always astonish me. Whether it is the sheer size of their trunks and branches, the feeling that with a bit of luck you could climb up all the way to the sky ...
The spring weather is changeable. It's raining in the dawn of a February weekend. But it does not scare us enough to cancel a plan to go hiking on the Sinliao Waterfall Trail (新寮瀑布步道).