Saturday, October 9, 2010

Into the Mountains

Have you ever bought a car without driving it or even seeing it? That's what we did and in many aspects it made life easier. Gone were the thoughts about what kind of car would we buy or how we would be able to find someone to help us translate negotiations. When we arrived at school a few months ago, our car was there waiting for us. It looked sturdy and reliable, if not a touch on the large size. When paperwork was finally processed, we hopped into the car and took off down the hill. Ooops, the brakes don't really work. Tires, well they are quite bald. The battery resisted its single role in life of starting the car. Finally, all these items were replaced and the Freeca (yep, that's the name of our four wheeled companion) drives us around town without issue. We sit high above the pesky scooters and swerving taxis and so far have felt secure in our about-town outings.

This weekend, we packed our bags and headed for the mountains. Getting out of town can easily be a 45 minute excursion but we eventually hit the steady flow of the freeway towards the mountains. After exiting, the Freeca faced its biggest challenge yet. The road climbed an incredibly steep incline. No switch backs here - just straight up. The engine groaned but the car pushed uphill with a gathering line of followers behind us. Thirty minutes of uphill struggles brought us to the Seitou Experimental Forest.

Hmmm, would Audrey be allowed in? We grabbed her and headed for the entrance as if there was no question about her admittance. A raised eyebrow or two was all that greeted us as we paid to enter. The area is quite nice with a variety of walking opportunities.

Bamboo Groves are amazing in the amount of light that enters...
From Seitou Experimental Forest & Sun Link Sea Park

large trumpet like flowers provided color
From Seitou Experimental Forest & Sun Link Sea Park

and monster ferns towered above our heads
From Seitou Experimental Forest & Sun Link Sea Park

After touring this area, we piled back into the Freeca and continued up, towards the end of the road where the Sun Link Sea National Park lies. Less than a kilometer before the park, we entered a long tunnel through the mountain. Midway through the tunnel, a thick band of fog filled the tube. It was eerie. We felt as if entering the unknown. At the end of the tunnel, we arrived at the park. The camping that we hoped for was not available but we had a great hike.

Dragon Falls in the distance
From Seitou Experimental Forest & Sun Link Sea Park

And to top it off, Krista found a four-leaf clover.
From Seitou Experimental Forest & Sun Link Sea Park

Other photos from this trip are on our picasa site...

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