Monday, May 30, 2016

Toad Mountain and what you can find there 蟾蜍山

Yup! There is a mountain (or rather a hill) in Taipei that is called a Toad Mountain. Where does this name come from?
According to a legend, an immortal of the sea, Liu Hai 瀏海仙, also known as Sea Toad arrived to Jingmei 景美 area 500 years ago. As he was standing on top of the hill gazing north, he was attacked from the sky by a huge toad that was terrifying people living there. Liu Hai used all his strength to catch the toad on a fishing rod. To do that he had to stand firmly on the ground. In the place he stood, imprints of his both feet were left in the rock. Liu Hai managed to help people get rid of the monster toad and himself also left the area. He left behind his footprints and that's how the hill came to be called Toad Mountain.

So now you know where the name of the mountain we had our Tuesday nature class comes from. Now a bit of history, because the whole area is now listed as a cultural landscape.

The hill is located close to the National Taiwan University 國立台灣大學 and even closer to National Taiwan University of Science and Technology 國立台灣科技大學.

Most of the hill is out-of-bounds as it's still a military controlled area. On top if the hill you can see a large radar antenna. At the lower part of the hill is an old residential area of military personnel. You might be thinking what military personnel would be living there. Well ... when Nationalist Army came with Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan in 1949 they brought with them their families. This is one of their settlements. Most of the military settlements in Taipei have been torn down, but there are a few that are still standing and are now designated as historical areas.


Believe it or not - most of the Toad Mountain is has been hollowed inside! Inside is a Joint Air Operations Center of Taiwanese Air Force. If you are interested in more on history of this area a quick search on the Internet will come up with quite a few articles.

Let's move to our nature class now.

We entered the area through this lane:


We took stairs up to a small community garden where we could also see entrances to old bunkers:




There was mugwort - Artemisia argyi - 艾草 , natural insecticide, growing in many places.

Feather cockscomb - Celosia argentea - 青葙 - celozja srebrzysta


Paper mulberry - Brousonettia papyrifera - 構樹 was used to make paper,
it can also be eaten, used to make furniture and as a medicine.
Nothing gets wasted!

Rose chafer - Cetonia aurata - 花金龜 - Kruszczyca złotawka

Caterpillar of Ectropis brevifasciata moth - 淡猗尺蛾幼蟲

Banyan tree - 榕樹 - Figowiec
The roots of banyan tree were covering the rocks making it an ideal spot to climb.


Monkeys!

Black and yellow longhorn beetle - Typocerus sparsus -
天牛 - Chrząszcz kózkowaty

Caterpillar of a Histia flabellicornis ultima moth  - 鳳斑蛾


 We could explore only a small part of the mountain. We walked through the densely build up area overlooking even more old houses. It's hard to believe that people are living there.



Some houses have been abandoned:


In the lower part there is another small community garden:


Sponge gourd - Luffa aegyptiaca -  絲瓜
Young fruit can be eaten while old one can be used as a sponge.

Here is some more information about the Toad Mountain and surrounding area in Chinese:






2 comments:

  1. I have the Toad Mountain of the USA and it is for sale!! 650 acres and great investment! Email susan@toadmountain.com

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  2. I have the Toad Mountain of the USA and it is for sale!! 650 acres and great investment! Email susan@toadmountain.com

    ReplyDelete