Life of luxury

I almost forgot to write about this. What feels like several weeks ago now, Megan, Jared, Colin, and I went on a camping trip. Carlos came along for the day-trip portion, which was a hike to a secret free and natural hot spring on Yangmingshan.

Loaded down with dinner stuffs, including frozen chicken and a disposable barbeque, I trotted behind Colin, who carried our tent. There was a bit of confusion on how to get up the mountain, but we figured it out and our merry group of five piled into a minibus.

It was a mess getting there, actually, worsened by a spitting sky, but I’ll spare you the moments of uncertainty and get straight to the hot spring, which was spectacular.

It's in there!

Clearly not a secret to everyone... Colin Cam

The upper pools were too hot for this weakling to comfortably sit in, but the wonderful thing about this spring was that it ran along a regular cold river, and someone had cleverly placed pipes directing river water into spring water and vice versa, so there was a range of water temperatures to choose from.

Not too hot for Carlos, flashing the thumbs-up and kicking it with the locals.

There was also exfoliating mud. It was blue. Megan thought someone had cooked too long and turned purple, but he’d just covered himself in the stuff. So of course we followed suit. I got at least one nod of humorous approval.

Going toward the source of the spring so we can get mud and look like that guy. Colin Cam

Stick your hand in the scalding mud! Beauty is pain! Colin Cam

Colin Cam

Colin Cam

A friendly couple took pity on us as we stood at the bus stop a couple hours later, trying to get back across Yangmingshan so we could camp for the night. They drove us in the other direction so that we actually ended up at a beachside youth campground. Like boy-scout-troop youth. It was a great set-up—clean bathrooms with soap and showers, grills that you could rent if you hadn’t carried your own all over the mountain.

Megan helped set up her first-ever tent—first time camping!—and then we all pitched into the dinner effort. Well, since I’d carried it, I considered my share pretty well pitched in. Colin struggled with the candy-looking fire starters he’d bought while Jared offered suggestions. With much determined effort, Colin got the flimsy grill good and hot. The ginger and soy sauce chicken and garlic rice turned out perfectly, washed down with beer Megan had been toting, capped with kahlua cake.

You can tell she's new at this because she's got the sleeping bag out before the tent's up.

After a few games of cards, the boy scouts showed up, and we retreated to our tents. There was no rain, no wind—it was a perfect night for a first-time camper, and a pretty pleasant one for us seasoned campers as well.

Colin Cam

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