Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday Hikes (and Wednesday Runs)

About 5 minutes scooter ride from our apartment is a little village/market/hiking area called Guanyingshan. Every morning it's a bustling market with tons of stalls of food, clothing, and other interesting things. Every Saturday morning Janice and I walk the trails and then circle back through the market. It's about a 45 minute hike, with an amazing coffee stop in the middle.

It starts with a pretty steep hike up the road and then up the first part of the trail. It's well used by people of every age. Some of them choose to hike it in bare feet and many of them are walking with way more clothes (jackets, sweaters) than I would think is comfortable. The walk is quite steep for the first 1/3 but you are rewarded with a great view at the end. You then come out at the top where there are ropes for climbing the dirt hills/cliffs, giant and heavy hula hoops, twistercizers and big tires which people lie on backwards in a seeming spine breaking move. There is often taichi going on and people just chilling after the big climb. Many trails go off from there which are really up and down. Along the way there are more interesting viewpoints.

Partway along the hike are some interesting little areas where some rough shelters are set up and some people keep gardens. They are little areas of trees and flowers with spots for sitting or resting. They're really quite beautiful and definitely a lot of care and attention goes onto them.

One interesting thing we've noticed is that, besides people walking barefoot, they also walk downhill backwards, supposedly to avoid damaging their knees. The weird thing is that lots of them walk uphill backwards, which is kind of doing the opposite, I think.

When we get through the hike, we head down through the market....still very steep. Partway down, we stop at this little coffee stand. The husband and wife that run it are amazingly nice and we've actually built a bit of a relationship with them. The man makes the coffee with this very cool vacuum, science lab looking sort of thing. So cool, in fact that I had to buy one. I'll post a vid later, after I get it for Christmas tomorrow (teehee).

Everytime we walk through market, Janice says "I really love Guanyingshan." The only thing we wish for is that some of the food would be palatable.....nothing much but stinky tofu and other strange things. Fresh fruit and veggies good though.

On Wednesdays, I run the same route. I leave work by 4 (instead of the usual 6) and head over for my run. It's a great workout and really beautiful.

Well, better get off to bed. Tomorrow is "our" Christmas. We'll do presents in the morning and then head for Thailand. More posts when we get back. Miss you all.

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