This holiday weekend I was fortunate enough to visit Ali Shan for the first time. This has been a place which I’ve looked forward to visiting since I moved to Taiwan since I love to hike and be in nature. Walking through the twisted ancient forests was incredible, and the view of the sunrise as it dawned over the peaks was truly an unforgettable sight.
My whole family has always loved to hike. We always excitedly research and plan trips to new trails and mountains on any vacation that we take together. We view hiking as an essential experience in any new country or region. It is also a special way to bond with each other and with nature. I have irreplaceable memories of my father and I cowering from giant spiders on paths in Hong Kong, or of my brother and I stopping to swim in cold blue rivers on hikes through the rainforests of Belize. Each new hike feels like an exciting and unique adventure.
I find it meditative to put one foot in front of the other on a quiet forest path, but also greatly enjoy conquering a steep ascent to a terrific new view. Hiking gives a different kind of satisfaction than most other enjoyable activities. It is fun to visit a night market or to see a new movie and those experiences are enjoyable in those moments. Hiking, especially when it's cold and raining, or at night with a slowly dying headlamp, can often be an uncomfortable experience. Yet I often find myself thinking back to those moments of temporary suffering with fondness. Knowing you can overcome those moments and growing closer to those who experience them with you gives a deeper feeling of joy.
Taiwan is a fantastic place to live if you love to hike. It boasts a very diverse range of landscapes from the grassy slopes of Yangmingshan to the gorges of Taroko National Park. With all the available transportation around the island, you are really never too far from a beautiful hidden waterfall or a breathtaking panorama. It is my hope that every visitor and native takes full advantage of this nation's vast natural beauty and explores the many trails of Taiwan!