Hiking with my cousin in Taiwan!

One of the awesome things about coming to Taiwan is reuniting with family members. Growing up, my sister and I were super close with one of our cousins on my dad's side of the family. She mentored us in the ways of staying up late, dealing with acne outbreaks, and she taught us many other valuable life lessons.

Ever since moving to Taiwan, I've been able to hang out with my cousin, Sophie, just like old times. This past Sunday, she took me on a pretty epic hike in a town northeast of Taipei called 金瓜石 (Jinguashi).

Super brief Chinese kinship terminology breakdown

涵姐姐 (Han Jie Jie) is what my sister and I call my cousin.

The last character of Chinese names are often used as nicknames or prefixes before kinship terms. In this case, 涵 (Han) is the last character in my cousin's name, and 姐姐 (Jie Jie) means elder sister. Technically, she is my 表姐 (Biao Jie), which means elder female cousin.

But ANYWAYS, moving on - that was a strange tangent that I don't feel like removing from my post.

金瓜石 (Jinguashi)

金瓜石 Google Map

金瓜石 is a historic town about 25 miles away from Taipei to the northeast - a little under a one hour drive. It's known for being the home of gold and copper mines as well as a lot of mountain ranges coastal views.

金瓜石 zoomed in

茶壺山 (Teapot Mountain)

茶壺山 Google Map

Our first stop was a hike up 茶壺山 (Teapot Mountain). It was about a 1.5 hour round trip hike up to the summit and back. Although, I don't think we started at the very first trailhead - we drove up to a midpoint.

Started with some scenic views and lots of steps.

The weather was brutally hot, but that's just part of the uh, charm, that comes with being in Taiwan during the summer! About halfway up, we took a break at a small shrine. As you keep climbing up, the summit comes into view.

Things get harder from this point. The paths are no longer paved, and you have to climb over rocky paths with some careful footwork and ropes.

This is not a flattering picture of me, but I just picked it because I look kind of jacked.

And... we reach the summit. Views are worth it. If only we had brought a sandwich to reward ourselves with at the top!

Woo! Would definitely recommend for anyone looking for a good hiking trail close to Taipei.

Luckily, we still had a lot of time leftover in the day. We took advantage of that by hitting up two other spots.

神社遺址 (Shen She Yi Zhi)

神社遺址 Google Map

金瓜石神社遺址 is a historical landmark of an old Japanese Shinto Shrine. It's a short hike up to the top with a cool view.

You can see the Teapot Mountain in the background up top in this last photo!

南雅奇石 (Nan Ya Qi Shi)

南雅奇石 Google Map

And the last stop of our day trip was to a place called Nanya Rock Formations a bit further north east to the Shinto Shrine and Teapot Mountain. It's a beach front with a lot of large, oddly shaped rocks that have been corroded over time by waves.

And that sums up the day trip. Thanks 涵姐 for showing me all of these awesome spots!

Until next time, friends!