This past Thursday, Rodger and I were invited to join Jennifer and two of her childhood friends, Skye and Jason, on a trip up to Yangmingshan National Park north of Taipei. Jason lives in San Francisco now and had come home for a funeral, so it was a bit of a reunion for them. Anyway, Thursday dawned foggy and dry, so we thought we’d have an excellent day hiking around. About halfway up the mountain, we hit rain and some rather high winds.
Our first stop was a place called Sulfur Springs, and I was immediately transported back to Yellowstone again. A tiny creek ran alongside the road and it steamed just like the Firehole River does. Sulfur Springs is Yellowstone’s lower loop squeezed into one half-mile stop: fumaroles, mudpots, plenty of hot springs, maybe even some geysers somewhere, very poignant reminders that Taiwan is a collection of massive volcanoes and sits squarely on the Ring of Fire. I knew that, of course, but sometimes you forget. What awed me that day was the fog. Occasionally it broke and I could see that we were fairly high up the side of a mountain, surrounded by geothermal features and a very steep drop-off. Once it closed again, all sense of space and time was gone.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
- Robert Louis Stevenson