Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tianmu Old Trail

On New Year's Eve, Jenna and I hiked Tianmu Old Trail. We never left Taipei city limits, but in the hilly north of the city we climbed to where we could get a beautiful vantage point of downtown Taipei.The views are good, but an even better draw for me was the wildlife.This spider is the size of my palm and getting the camera to focus on it took a few minutes of effort. There was also a large brown bird that I never got a really decent picture of.For me, the biggest attraction was the monkeys. Seeing monkeys on this trail is by no means a sure thing - they're most active around dawn and dusk, and although they're not terrified of humans they are a bit cautious - but we got lucky this time.These macaques can grow pretty large, and can defend themselves with teeth and claws. So it's a good idea not to make them feel threatened. We were cautioned not to make eye contact with the macaques - they see it as a challenge. We did our best to observe them, though - there seemed to be whole families that were active, and we watched them feeding, fighting (not too seriously, it looked like) and just moving around up in the trees.This one just sat himself down by the path for several minutes. A couple of locals walked past him, each one obviously looking straight ahead, ignoring him. Presumably there have been enough cases of monkey attack on this path before that the locals know how to stay safe.Apart from the monkeys, it was a very nice hike.This huge pig was tied up outside a closed restaurant that will presumably open for the peak hiking season. There were a couple of chickens wandering around loose as well.The macaque-less parts of the trail are very nice and peaceful.

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