Wonderful weather yesterday for Taiwan’s 228 national holiday ~ and it seemed like the whole of Taipei was up on Yang-Ming Shan Mountains making the most of the last few days of the Cherry Blossom season….
And it was quite some day, I can tell you! 3 very delightful students from our university student fellowship and me ~ there we all were standing at the bus stop outside the main SJU gate in the dark at 6:00am, all set for me to lead them on their first ever great ascent of the Yang-Ming Shan mountains….
Can’t believe we did it ha ha! Even getting them to the gate at such an early hour was not exactly easy, but launch forth we did, and 2 hours later we were ready to start the great climb….
3 lovely students ~ one talked and sang and laughed and smiled and posed for happy photos all day long, another carried the heavy backpacks, helped everyone along and kept cool, calm and collected throughout, and the other, well, alternated between being on cloud nine and joking and laughing and pulling funny faces for the camera, or groaning with each painful step of the way and needed quite some major encouragement to make the next move! But in the process we got to know all the other people out on the mountain and by the end we had got a whole lot of new friends (and a whole set of crazy photos!)….
And hey, despite some doubts that we might never make it even to the top of the first mountain, in fact we did 4 mountain tops, Mian-Tian Shan 面天山 and the 3 in the Da-Tun range, west peak, south peak and the main peak 大屯西峰, 南峰 and 主峰 ~ the middle 2 are very steep but ropes are provided to grab onto and haul yourself up and down, the other 2 climbs are mostly steps, and on the lower slopes in the forests all very slippery. A great challenge!
Perfect weather, foggy when we started, but it soon cleared and there was blue sky when we were on the tops, and cloudy when we were going up steep steps ~ God is good!
Met a man who had been one of our students some years ago and he knew all our chaplaincy staff, and a couple who had cycled to the top of Da-Tun Shan (truly amazing – groan at the thought of it!), but not just from Taipei, in fact all the way from Chung-Li 中壢 and were members of the Chung-Li Presbyterian Church, where the pastor happens to be a friend of mine… ah it’s a small world!
Came down from Yang-Ming Shan mid-afternoon with zillions and zillions of people in cars and buses and on motorbikes in one long single-file traffic jam that took 3 times longer than usual ~ but hey it was worth it!
And finally to Tamsui for ‘hotpot’ dinner…
A fun day! And the reality is that all over the world, local people have often never had the chance to see much of their own country (especially the famous tourist sites), so here was my chance to introduce 3 lovely Taiwan students to the beauties of their own mountains, lying right on their own doorstep, and what’s more – within view of our university campus every day (well, on a fine day anyway)!
Thanking God for an amazing day and the wonders of His beautiful creation!