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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Things to do in Wufeng when you're dead

Like hiking. A few weeks, Amber, Pamela and I visited the Wufeng Ch'ingt'ung Lin Hiking Trail (Wùfēng qīngtóng lín bùdào) 霧峰青桐林步道, located in the former township of Wufeng (Wùfēng) 霧峰, of course. I posted about our trip here. At that time, we were only able to walk a small part of the trails in the area, owing to the fact that we arrived there somewhat late in the afternoon, and that my wife isn't used to walking and my daughter can only go as far as her pre-elementary school legs can carry her. So following my morning classes today, I took the family car and made the 90-minute drive into the hills of Wufeng to see what more the trails had to offer. 

What was on offer were some clearly laid out and well-maintained paths that didn't offer much of a challenge...until I wandered off-track, not once, but twice. Though the trail was well-signposted in most places, the maps were difficult to figure out (with north pointing somewhere other than north, as is often the case with trail maps in Taiwan) and...oh, did I mention something just now about the route being well-marked? It was until I reached one key junction, where I followed the arrow leading downhill, expecting it to close the loop I was planning to walk. Instead, I found myself following a path that grew narrower and steeper until the use of ropes was required. At that point, it became obvious that I had gone the wrong way, so I turned around and headed back uphill to the junction. There, I followed another arrow pointing in a different direction. This trail took me up one ridge to a large rest area, then down and up another ridge, before continuing along a rapidly shrinking path. There were some pretty good views of the surrounding hillsides, but it was obvious I was heading the wrong way again. Returning to the original junction, I finally found the path I needed, which was unmarked, of course.

If all this sounds like an exercise in frustration, it wasn't. The errant paths described above were fun to walk, and beg further exploration, which I intend on doing. In all, I spent nearly 2½ hours traversing the trails in this part of Wufeng, working up a decent sweat and relishing the fact that most of the time I had the mountain to myself. I'll be back.

My apologies for the quality of some of the following photos. Lighting conditions were less-than-ideal in many places on the trails:

Check here for directions on how to get to the Wufeng Ch'ingt'ung Lin Hiking Trail.

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