Taiwan Roadtrip #1
Highway 9, Taiwan, 2009-08-26 12:00 by Laerke and Martin
We started out our Taiwan Roadtrip with a traintrip – a morning train from busy Taipei to the south eastern city of Taitung. Here we picked up our rental car, a cute little Nissan March (at home called Micra) and set out for Taitung Hongye Hot Springs, after getting a little bit lost in the beautiful, tall, green mountains we found it; it was closed. We went in anyway to take a look: It turned out half the place was buried in mud! The typhoon that had raged havoc over southern Taiwan just before we arrived had apparently passed by here. A tiny bit disappointed but mostly just shocked to see those buildings half buried, we drove on.
We headed for Loshan instead, where we checked into the free campsite. Yup completely free! Our little site came with a wooden platform, a bench/table and a parking lot for the car, other facilities included toilets (with toilet paper and soap) and showers and a cooking unit with sinks and light. We happily settled in!

Next morning we got up early and set off for the 120m high waterfall nearby. We walked around the forest area and found a nice viewing platform, from where there were beautiful views of the waterfall. The trail went by the same river, which was created by the waterfall, and we spotted a place where the river had formed a nice little pool. Being rather hot, we quickly jumped in and splashed around in the cool waters.

Not so far from the falls a sign marked a place where gas and mud leaked from underground, forming a small mud-volcano. It wasn’t much, but it was fun to see how the mud bubbled and the gas escaped. Apparently the gas can be used for burning, but we couldn’t find anything to help light fire to the bubbles. The aboriginals know how to harvest the gas and were probably some of the first people to use natural gas.

Then we headed to Sixty Stone Mountain; an area known for growing day-lilies. These orange flowers are used in cooking; dried, pickled or raw. The winding road to the top gave good views of the surrounding areas, and soon the hillsides were covered in orange and green. The flower fields were absolutely beautiful, and the mountain backdrop didn’t scar the eye either. Our little car braved the steep roads without any complaints. The area was so picturesque, that it could easily be the scene for the next Hobbiton.

Our last itinerary for the day was the Walami trail; a trail going deep into the mountains. We had just planned to walk for the first part of it, but again the Typhoon cheated us. The trail had been closed, as it had been too damaged by the winds and mostly the torrential rains. Luckily we could still get to the Nanan waterfall, which lies just before the trailhead. Again it was a beautiful setting and again we soon jumped into the clear, cool waters and took a swim, together with a few adventurous Taiwanese people. Martin went underneath the actual fall and got himself a hard shoulder massage – just what was needed after a lot of driving.