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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Walking the Tungfeng (Dongfong) Green Bikeway (Part 1)

Today I set out on the first stage of my plan to eventually walk the length of the Tungfeng Green Bikeway 東豊自行車緑廊, the bicycle trail that runs from Fengyuan (Fongyuan) 豊原 to Tungshih (Dongshih) 東勢. Giving myself two hours (one hour each way), I made it as far as Shihkang (Shihgang), passing the turnoff for the dam along the way. I intend to pick up where I left off today in a couple of weeks, and eventually reach the end in Tungshih. I could rent a bike, of course, and finish the trail in one morning or afternoon, but going on foot allows me to see things I would otherwise miss on wheels.

The trail begins in Fengyuan, in the shadow of the No. 4 Freeway, and quickly separates, with one branch going towards Houli 后里, and the other to Tungshih.

The bike path was built on the route of an abandoned rail line, and the locations of the stations are marked with raised platforms, such as the one for P'otzuk'ou (Pozihkou) 朴子口. The next landmark after Potzukou was imaginatively called "The Landmark" in English. Although there were more people than I expected on the trail (including several other walkers), there were long stretches of road that I had all to myself. This was probably due to the fact that animal- and hand-drawn carts are banned from the path.

The trail passed by some old houses, and the Tachia (Dajia) River 大甲川.

Not long after passing the site of the old Shihkang Station, I reached the one-hour mark on my walk, and turned back to Fengyuan.

The questionable work of "art" on the top was more than balanced by the sight of the old Japanese-era house on the bottom.

Taiwanese kids are notoriously camera-shy.

Betel palm trees and roosts for racing pigeons - what could be more rural in Taiwan?

There were plenty of places along the route selling food and drink, though this being a Monday, most were closed. It would've been nice if some toilets had been installed.

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