I have a small obsession with mountains. whenever I go someplace new and take in the scenery, my first thought is: can I climb that?
in the case of Keelung Mountain, the green giant that rises up next to the adorable town of Jiufen, the answer is YES. as is typical in Taiwan, this mountain goes by several names. I have seen it referred to as Keelung or Jilong mountain [also Keelong] but 基隆山 was first described to me as the literal translation of "chicken cage mountain."
when you arrive in Jiufen by bus, the first thing you probably notice is the massive temple roof at eye level. then your eyes drift off towards the blue ocean, and over to the large green hill peeking from behind the bright buildings. and when the views are this fantastic from the bus stop - you know they'll be phenomenal from atop the mountain.
the mountain is only 588 meters tall, but since it towers next to the sea, it feels a lot higher. or possibly - because this hike is literally just climbing stairs for half an hour up.
I have actually made this hike before. last summer, I visited Jinguashi with Anna and her friend. while we had gone to check out the "golden waterfall" we decided to climb Mount Keelung on a whim. it ended up being super sweaty and full of bugs but as you can see from Anna's post of our hike the views were still gorgeous. [I have photos from that day, but they've been swallowed by my hard drive.]
our weather for the hike this time around was perfect - mid 60's and plenty of sunshine. when we reached the top, we initiated a new hiking tradition: the summit cider. as we passed around our lukewarm can, there was nothing but smiles. [ok maybe a few handstands, a lots of photos.]
Keelung Mountain is very exposed - there isn't any shade and the wind can be quite gusty coming off the ocean. [if you can't tell by our hair.] I would definitely recommend wearing sunscreen and bringing an extra layer, in addition to snacks and water to accompany your summit cider.
my legs were definitely shaking by the time we made it back down, but the views were totally worth it. along the main route there are three pavilions and three viewing decks all equipped with benches where you can take a rest. and as a bonus: after your hike you can wander over to Jiufen Old Street to relax in a teahouse or grab some snacks.