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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Walking the Tungfeng (Dongfong) Green Bikeway (Part 2)

Last week I embarked on the first leg of my plan the walk the length of the Tungfeng Green Bike Way 東豊自行車緑廊, the bicycle trail built over the route of an abandoned railway that connects Fengyuan (Fongyuan) 豊原 with Tungshih (Dongshih) 東勢. My time was limited on that Monday afternoon, so I was only enable to get as far as Shihkang (Shihgang) 石岡. This Tuesday morning I had a lot more time on my hands and was determined to finish the route, so I got out to Shihkang before 9:30, and picked up where I had left off.

Everything started out well. Off I went towards Tungshih, passing old homes, cafes and restaurants built to cater to the cycling trade...

...the site of the old Meitzu (Meizih) 梅子 Station, Taoist temples set in the middle of fields until...


...I reached a dead end!


Yes, it seems something has happened to the bridge that once spanned the Tachia (Dajia) 大甲 River. With no other way to cross the water, I had no choice but to turn around and go back to my scooter.

Seeing as it was only 10:45 in the morning when I got back to Shihkang, I hopped on my scooter and rode out to Tungshih, crossing the river on Highway 3 upstream from the missing span. Once in Tungshih, I had some trouble locating the bike path. In true Taiwanese fashion, there are signs clearly indicating the way to the bike trail...only until you're almost there, at which point the indicators disappear and you're left to your own devices. Eventually, I found the starting point at the site of the old Tungshih train station, which has now been converted into a Hakka Culture Park (Tungshih has a sizable Hakka 客家 population; here's the Wikipedia entry on them). Off I went again...

The section of the bike way in Tungshih is much quieter, and the scenery more rural, than on the Fengyuan side of the river. The hills were also much closer here.

After 45 minutes, I reached the Tungshih side of the damaged bridge. The goal having been obtained, there was nothing left to do but turn around and go back the same way I had come. Whereas there were many cyclists on the Fengyuan-Shihkang stretch of trail, I only saw two the whole 90 minutes I was walking in Tungshih.

Mission accomplished.

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