After roaming about the sprawling Qingjing Farm, advancing and retreating numerous times and getting lost in the woods, I finally, by good fortune, came to the start of the 499-step trail. Encircling the trail were cryptomeria, plum and maple trees marching on to meet mountains, which were shrouded on a foggy weekday in March.
The trail in reality consists only 487 steps, but the Taiwanese, wedding the number nine with the symbolism of prosperity, padded the name. It mattered little to me, for I was doing the descent; those braving the ascent would probably feel the bite of the last few additional steps. In Chinese, the trail goes by the name “步步高升”, which means soaring higher with every step. I could not help but wonder what ills would befall me, since I was doing the descent.