Caoling Trail

27 10 2011

Early Sunday morning a group of us boarded a train to Fulong, eager to hike a famous trail in Northeastern Taiwan. The train ride took a little over two hours. Most people slept on and off throughout the trip, I spent a majority of the time reading.

Once we arrived, we stopped by a 711 to fuel up and grabbed a quick bite to eat. I was so tired of eating out of a 711. Often on my cycling trip there would not be anything open, or it was difficult to find places to eat in a hurry, so I did the 711 run.

After grabbing all of the necessary items, we began making our way to the trail. It started out as a road, eventually turning into a paved path. After a few km, it then broke down into a real trail and seemed to show some promise of being an awesome hike.

Small stream at the beginning

Pit stop

The views are starting to open up and I like it

The trail only lasted for about a kilometer before spitting us back out onto a paved road which eventually turned into a stone path. The first half of the trail is the main part and was loaded with tourists. Sometimes you couldn’t even walk there was so many people. I think half of the enjoyment of hiking is getting away from the masses.

We stopped for lunch a little past noon at a small pavilion and then quickly finished the first part of the trail. Once at the end there were two choices. One, which almost everyone did, was to head to the train station at the bottom of the hill and call it a day.

The alternate was to continue upward to the crest of the ridge and hike the ridge for another 13 km. We chose the second option, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision. The people disappeared and the views only grew in beauty.

Almost to the split - looking back on our accomplishments

I'm happy with the decision to go up

The trail itself was a seemingly endless series of stairs, however for short periods we were able to trek along through grass, or on a makeshift path. It was a long beautiful hike, but we were playing with fire and stopping too much.

Ryan, Me and Paul

Scott and I were told to "act like you like each other"

More stairs!

Cool road going down the other way and sweet view

Paul, Rachel and I

Me resting at the top of the ridge

Open fields on our right, jagged mountains on our left

Just some random gigantic water buffalo 10 feet away

Looking back on passing the water buffalo

Going back into the forest

About 2.5 km from the end, while coming down through the forest, the sun eventually disappeared and left us in the dark. The misty conditions only enhanced the already slippery stones and getting down became much more difficult. Luckily, I had a small little flashlight, and was able to get to the bottom safely.

We reached the bottom of the trail around 6:15 and then headed to the train station, which was about a km away. Upon arriving we noticed our train pull in, but there was no possible way we could catch it.

Waiting...

We all agreed me should have tried a little harder, as the next train didn’t actually stop at that station again for another hour and forty minutes. We had to transfer to a bus in Taipei in order to get home.

Our adventure came to an end around 1am after stopping in a local restaurant for a quick bite to eat. Great hike, but definitely felt it the next day. Can’t wait to see what the next weekend holds in store for me.





Taiwan Cycling Trip

23 10 2011

One of the best and worst roads I've ever been on at the same time

I am back from a two-week adventure on bicycle around Taiwan. The trip was plagued with ill timed events and weather, leaving much of the decisions regarding the trip to be changed on the fly.

The riding around Taiwan was about as diverse and you can get. Great roads in the country, busy cities, construction, rolling hills, straight up mountains, epic descents, windy coastal roads, curvy national parks, and dangerous cliffs positioned directly after long dark tunnels. It rained all but 2 days.

At the end of the trip, I’m happy that I did it; and I’m happy that it’s over. The trip can’t even be compared to my journey across the US.

There is a page on my blog that gives a day by day summary with many more pictures.

I want to say thanks to the following people; their help was amazing.

So thanks:

  • Andrew K. – Providing so much useful information about roads and cycling in Taiwan; helping me get a place to stay at the top of He Huan Mountain; awesome help
  • Ralph – Letting me borrow his insanely detailed Chinese map books of Taiwan and route planning; oh and showing my countless roads in the area
  • Teresa – Getting me to and taking care of me while on Lanyu (Orchid Island)
  • Jered – For offering a place to stay and to pick me up in Taichung even though I never made it there
  • Oler – For helping me plan the route and general advice; helping book a homestay in Puli (lifesaver once I found it)
  • Jessie – For writing a ” In case you find me on the side of the road here are my vitals and call these people” letter in Chinese – Thankfully I didn’t need it
  • Liz – For hooking my up with an awesome hostel in Kaosiung (& Taitung, although that one fell through for reasons outside her control)
  • Chanel – Awesome English Teacher who convinced me to stay in her neighbor’s home who wasn’t home; will never forget that night
  • Mom and Dad – Full support although I’m sure they were worried the entire time
  • All my friends- Awesome support
And everyone else – Thanks. Looking forward to the next adventure, wherever it may be.




Cycling Taiwan

7 10 2011

Two week solo cycling trip begins now. Talk to ya’ll around the 21st.