Taiwan Round Island Dirt Trip – Day 05

January 30, 2018 — Leave a comment

Day 05

I woke up on the Dawu riverbed and made my way over the mountains to the next river.

The road over was in decent shape most of the way, so it didn’t take long to make it over.

And then made it to the river…

There was a cool suspension bridge but not much else to note. I stood in the middle and watched the end of the Eagles hammering the Vikings in the NFC championship game.

There didn’t appear to be any direct way to cross the next set of mountains so after the game I made my way to the coast.

I got to drive a bit with an ocean view.

I made it to Jinlun (金崙) and started up the next set of mountains.

Halfway to the top the clouds rolled in and it started raining.

And no, the next picture is not blurry. It was THAT foggy…

Now let me tell you, those mountain roads aren’t always easy to ride when it’s dry. But they’re damn hard when it’s raining. You got a layer of moss in the middle that might as well be ice when wet. A bunch of leaves just waiting to slip up your tire. Mud here and there. Add steep inclines and declines, fog, and one way ticket to the bottom if you miss your mark and end up over the edge (and the edge is always there)…and you’ll get the picture.

It took me some time but I made it over the top and drove down. On the way there I encountered this guy.

He looked at me for a while and then ran back down. A few hundred meters later I found him and his owner…and about 10 other dogs of similar size. I had to stop and wait because the owner’s truck was blocking the road. All the dogs were running around and the owner and another guy was trying to catch them and put them into their cages in the truck.

I had seen a truck like this the day before on the east coast. They’re flatbed “blue trucks” (a Taiwan reference) that had a system of cages built into it: four or five cages per side with an opening large enough for the dog to stick his head out. I thought it comical at the time to see five heads per side sticking out while the truck was driving down the road. Seeing this for the second time (It couldn’t possibly have been the same truck!?) was a bit strange. I have no clue what they were doing. But something about it seemed nefarious. Most of the dogs had these thick leather collars with handles on the back. The front was very broad; presumably so they don’t get choked when picked up. But it would also double as a neck protector.

Anyway, I wasn’t about to ask them what’s going on, or take a picture for that matter if something less than legal was going on. Granted, this all could have been on the up and up. But it all just seemed so odd for a truck with these dogs to be out on this mountain in bad weather. They were the only ones I saw the entire time. So I waited for them to move out and made my way back down.

I made it to the other side and the rain let up some.

The next town was Jinfeng (金峰). I didn’t know it but there was a natural hot spring at the end of the road.

My map showed that Jinfeng waterfall wasn’t too far away. So I made my way up a back road to find it, as the main road was destroyed buy a massive rockslide.

At the top there were two routes I could take. One went to the waterfall and another to the riverbed. I went up to the waterfall area and the place looked abandoned. I thought I’d skip it and continue to the riverbed to see if there was a connection to a mountain road I saw on a map.

When I got there I found these signs.

(notice the bullet holes in the last picture)

I remember seeing this on the news. The government was cracking down on offroad vehicles driving up the river. Apparently there’s a nature reserve somewhere past this point. This gave me pause, so I double checked with my wife and she mentioned the sign saying that the restricted area didn’t begin for another few kilometers. So I pushed on.

Unfortunately the path down to the riverbed was very steep with loose rocks. I could make it down no problem, and tried. But the last tiny section was VERY steep. Again, I knew I could make it down, but getting back up alone could have been a problem. It had a lot of loose soil and rocks probably from vehicles spinning their tires. Making it back up on my bike under normal conditions wouldn’t be an issue, but with all the extra gear and unbalanced bike and all, I felt it wasn’t worth trying. Oh yeah, don’t forget everything was wet too. At worst I would have had to take everything off the bike, drive it up and then carry the bags up. I really wasn’t feeling up to it. So I turned the bike around and made my way to the waterfall.

Again, the place looked deserted. Obviously the broken road caused this decline.

After a quick look around I went up to see the waterfall.

As you can see, part of the path was badly damaged.

After a short walk the waterfall was in view.

Another short trail took me to the base of the waterfall. It was pretty nice. At least all that rain helped it look good. Silver linings and all. 😃

That PVC pipe was originally strung up overhead. A typhoon must have knocked it down. Oh well…

After about 10 minutes I made my way back making sure not to slip 🙂

You can see in one picture above that there was a spot for camping. I strongly considered it, but first I would need to head out and find some food, then drive back. Time was short and with the way it was raining all day, I really didn’t want to camp. My wife helped me look for a hotel and found one in the town I was at earlier, south of here. There was some kind of event going on in the nearby town and all the cheaper places were booked. So I said goodbye to this waterfall area and drove out.

Along the way there was this “house”.

Inside were a whole bunch of urns. I’ll just leave it at that…

On the way out I snapped a few pictures…

…and took the coastal road that I had previously avoided back to Jinlun (金崙). I grabbed some food and drove deeper into the mountains where this hotel was located.

The hotel turned out to be more of a hostel style place, but at $500nt/night (about $15 US) including breakfast, I wasn’t complaining. I had my own room and wasn’t bothered by no bed and a shared toilet and shower.

More on this place in my next post.

All in all it was a good day.

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