Our Day 2 is planned out to explore the northern mountainous area of Taipei by hiking the Mt. Qixing Trail of the Yangmingshan National Park. We allotted plenty of time for the hike and estimated that as long as we don’t get lost along the way or anything, we would be done by lunch time and still have time to explore some areas of the park.
We started out early in the day and had breakfast at the hostel. We proceeded to Taipei Main Station to hop on Bus 260 – the bus number which takes you directly to Yangmingshan Bus Station.
On the way to our destination, it began to rain intermittently as I dozed off during the first part of the half-hour trip. I was also constantly checking on Google Maps just to track if we were nearer our destination when we got to a stop to drop off some students getting off a school (which I later found out to be the Chinese Culture University).
While people were getting off the bus, I began to look out the window when I noticed a rainbow, which seems to be only about 100 meters on the road ahead of the path. It really looked like it was right on the highway- readily waiting for our bus to pass through it. I got excited and began telling my companions, pointing out the enticing band of colors ahead of the road.
Of course it was just an optical illusion and the more the bus approached the rainbow, the more it seem to steadily move further away. Eventually, as I looked out the window, the colorful arc is no longer positioned on the road but is now on the side of the mountain, yet still visible from where the cars are passing by.
It was still raining by the time we got off our stop within the park but we seemed to have made a mistake and missed the main stop where we needed to go. We didn’t have any umbrellas and we relied solely on Google Maps to check on our exact location in the park. We started to asked around the very few people we saw in the area and eventually pointed us to where we were supposed to be. We needed to walk back down the road.
The entire time when we were walking around, we were pleasantly distracted by the presence of the ominous double rainbow which was just there – in our faces – and it doesn’t seem to go away. It was such an apparition.
Just imagine it: being there on the side of a very dark & gloomy, green & unfamiliar mountain, the rain is pouring, grey clouds looming above; and yet there is this two very luminous, colorful crescents just begging to be noticed.
There was a moment when I was several meters away from my friends while I was looking for somebody to ask directions for, and they had found some trees to shade from the rain, when I noticed that the end of the rainbow seems to be just a few yards away from where they were standing. That sight was magic.
We saw several cars stop by the side of the road just to take photos of this phenomenon. Never mind that it was raining- people got off their vehicles, both kids and adults alike. The rainbows were just beautiful to behold. We began walking back down the mountain to Yangmingshan Bus Station to find Bus # 108.
It is the bus ride which tours around the different interesting points of the park, circles the same route, and back to the bus station. Our plan is to ride this bus to the visitor’s center, and start the trail hike for Mt. Qixing. but the gods seems to have different plans for us.
Aside from the dreadful rain, the arrival of Bus # 108 seems to take on forever and the lines for this route is depressingly long. Only one bus arrived while we were lined up for almost an hour that we eventually decided that maybe it is not the right opportunity to do our mountain adventure. Fact is, the weather was not very conducive for hiking.
Eventually, we decided to go to our plan B, which is to see the calla lilies in Zhu Zi Hu. We thought that if we make it in time, that is be done by noon- we can still go and visit the Beitou Hot Springs to have a more relaxed afternoon.
We hurriedly caught the bus which would take us to Zhu Zi Hu, looking forward to beautiful pictures with hundreds of white calla lilies in our background. We wished. Due to a cruel twist of fate, we accidentally caught the right bus- going the opposite direction. We suddenly found ourselves going down the mountains of Yangmingshan, towards the town of Beitou.
Guiness Record breaking rainbows @ The Yangminghsan National Park
Later on when we got back to Manila, we found out that this rainbow became a world record as the longest lasting rainbow ever recorded. According to the reports, t lit up the sky for almost 9 amazing hours @ 8 hours and 58 minutes long. It was still there when we were walking around Beitou town in the afternoon, This experience was really one for the books, and we were lucky to have seen it.