Saturday, November 1, 2014

27 Oct 2014 - Taipei Day 4

Day 4 - Sandiaoling waterfalls - Lion's Mouth Peak - Bitou Cape - Jiufen - Raohe Rainbow Bridge

Sandiaoling Waterfalls
Excited about the Sandiaoling Waterfalls, hopped onto the 6.20am train. Should have taken the local train instead of the Tze-Chiang, probably not designed to accomodate standing passengers, especially when all the students are travelling to school at that hour. Also, the local train goes direct to Sandiaoling Station, taking the Tze-Chiang meant requiring a transfer at Ruifang.

Finally at Sandiaoling Station. Following the route pointed out by the train station staff.

Lush greenery along the way

Train tunnel, pedestrians had to take the underpass.

On the other side, cool weather after the morning drizzle

A speedy train passing by

Saw a sun-tanning frog along the way. (well, it's really dead)

Waterway, walkway, or railway? Walk straight all the way until you see a school, it'll be on your right.

Uncle Lau from San Francisco. Will only get acquainted much later.

Hegu Waterfall. Large but unable to get close to it.

Another view of Hegu falls.

Hangman's noose. Lots of mosquitoes from this point on. Would have been bitten like crazy on the arms and legs already. Wore berms and t-shirt, unlike the older hikers who were well padded.

Wild ginger

Rope bridge, easy to cross one person at a time.

Narrow path due to a mossy rock

Slippery and uneven road of rocks that slanted one way.

Tree roots creating natural steps

Finally the second falls, Motian Waterfall.

With fish-eye attachment on the mobile. Many places were cordoned off, decided not to be too adventurous as he was on his own.

Signage to the third waterfall.
Found some flimsy metal stairs, while the vertical log steps were cordoned off. Hands too dirty at this point to use the camera. The mud path following that was also slanting, narrow and slippery. Heart was in the throat.

Vertical rock cut steps. No shame in using hands.

Pipa Waterfall, the sound of water is extremely therapeutic.

It was a vertical scramble up a flight of log steps after the Pipa falls. The place was too narrow, so he didn't dare use the cameras. Just concentrated on getting to the top.

At the top was a concrete road. Turning left would be to Babarian Valley. Walked all the way to the end to realize the place seemed closed and abandoned. And further down was a tar road. Decided to backtrack and take the right turn to the temple, apparently it also leads to Houtong station (very long walk).

Hopscotch, anyone?

Infinity wading pool.

Lots of such "umbrellas" along the way.

Slippery up-slope trail, hands on again.

The sign pointed up this "stream". Use the potholes to steady foothold.

Walked on and on, nobody in sight, and no signal. Path was getting more and more natural. Luckily there were 4 older men at the resting point after an up-slope climb. Upon asking if the route led to Houtong, they mentioned that they were going to exit at the school, and that Sandiaoling station would be nearer. Put forth the suggestion to join them, which they gladly agreed. They hike every weekend, and are volunteers to maintain the trail, using equipment like GPS, and also take down timings and photographs of every junction. One of them mentioned that they were active on

Sickle Uncle who help to clear trails. The one in front was a retired police chief. Treks very fast, and quite a nice person.
It was a thrilling trek with the old men. They walked really fast, and took paths which had no walking space. One had to use the ropes by the side of the vertical slopes. There were also trails which were just mud, and you'll slide should you not hold on to roots and trunks. On one occasion, Uncle Lau slipped and almost fell into the ravine. No idea how deep, couldn't see the bottom. Luckily he grabbed hold of something and managed to climb up.

When we finally got out, Uncle Retired Police offered him a brush to clean his shoe. Really thoughtful. When he knew the next stop was Ruifang station, he offered a ride. Despite his protests about being muddy, Uncle Retired Police insisted. They were heading to Jinguashi next, and could actually drop him at Jiufen bus stop for him to hop on Taiwan Haoxing bus to Bitou Cape.

Rested at the carpark and went around taking photographs.

But guess what, Uncle Retired Police brought them all on a North-East coastal drive, with the intention of sending him directly to Bitou Cape. How nice of him! The waters were blue, waves were strong, and saw eagles and gulls just surfing the wind. Beautiful.

Bitou Cape
Passed by Longdong, and Uncle Retired Police was sharing that it was a popular spot for rock climbing. After many winding roads and some tunnels (bicycles are supposed to be pushed on the narrow pathway), finally reached Bitou Cape.

Thanked the group of 4, and proceeded uphill to Bitou Elementary School, where the start of the trail was. Saw some bird photographers with huge lenses.

Bitou Elementary School. Colorful.

Looked like shrines of ancestors

Interior of the school

The other side

Embarking on the trail, the first pavilion in sight

Looking back at the school from the trail

Another look-back, this time at the pavilion

Look back down on the trail

More steps to climb. That's Jack, Julie and their son Sky. Sky share a lot about his photography experiences.

More trail to walk up ahead

Love the silhouette-y view of the mountains

Looking back down can actually be quite scary. Wherever you eyes focus, that's where you balance goes.

Some military structure on another hill.

More to walk, Jack and family in front.

Glimpse of civilisation at Bitou Road. Again, like the silhouette.

Flutter-by with good wingspan and not shy.

Waiting for bus Taiwan Haoxing to go to Jiufen (30NT).


Was getting dark, so decided against climbing Mount Keelung, which was just down the road. Did not expect to spend that much time after Sandiaoling to get to Bitou Cape.

Too many Japanese and Mainland tourists. Grab some food, finished up and quickly moved off. Had delicious stinky tofu here (40NT?), boar sausage (35NT) and grilled conch (100NT for 3).

Raohe Night Market and Rainbow Bridge

Took bus 1062 to Ruifang, and then the train back towards Taipei Main Station. Stopped at Raohe, but too full to eat anything. At least the street was not as packed as Ningxia the other day.

Songshan Station

Entrance of Raohe Night Market
It's on the right side of the night market street.

The rainbow bridge. Nothing much, but lots of space to enjoy your night market captures.

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