­­­Jiufen is a mountain town in the Ruifang District of Taiwan. The village is now a popular tourist destination due to its resemblance to the downtown in the movie Spirited Away by Studio Ghibli.



This was miserable hike. Jiufen borders Keelung Mountain right off the northern coast of Taiwan. Temperature was a hot but manageable 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity was a very unmanageable 100%. Maybe 200%. As soon as I got off the air-conditioned bus a heavy weight of hot, sticky and suffocating air hit me. And it never went away.  After walking the old streets of Jiufen we decided to escape and hike the neighboring mountain for some fresh (sticky and wet) air. About 200 feet in we knew this wouldn’t be fun. In those 200 feet we became COMPLETELY soaked in seat. Completely… The elevation gain was reasonable but still challenging. Begrudgingly we continued on. Half way up the trail, during our 100th stop for air and reprieve, I turned around and had this beautiful view of the town. The town was center and right, a sea of green engulfed it with an almost perfect horizon of hilltops in the distance. Was the sweat worth the shot? I tell myself it was.


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