On Sunday morning my man Drew and I hopped on our bikes and rode over to Fengyuan and thence to Hsinshe from a little road just off Dead Dictator Park there. They were having some kind of long-distance race that day, and the road was crowded with contestants (as always, click on any pic to be taken to its Flickr page).
We took a little lane called Nan Ken (south creek) Lane out of Fengyuan directly up to Hsinshe. The road follows the creek up a very gentle slope almost the entire way, the last 500 meters being a very steep grade that I had to walk but a real bicyclist should be able to do. Of the several ways I know to get atop the ridge and into Hsinshe, it offers by far the gentlest slope. Aside from the top, the worst slope is actually the first 200 meters.
The lane is not difficult to find. As you leave Fengyuan, at the far end of Chungcheng Park, there is a Family Mart on the right. Turn right there, and you'll see the signs in Chinese for Hsinshe and Shuiching. The lane heads south for a bit, and then hooks around to the east.
When I came through here the day before, these men had just started building this wall. This is less than 24 hours of work. Li hai!
The road tracked the creek, which was, like so many Taiwan waterways, the object of reconstruction by local governments.
A gate into the forest....
We followed the signs for Hsinshe.....
Drew, looking cool in his spiffy cycling clothes, strikes a pose.
The road is lined with pipa growers, who had enclosed their pipa fruits in 12A pipa bags. Betcha didn't know there was such a thing.....
This very large home had a guardhouse, and atop the guardhouse was a tee. If you look down the creek, you can see the sand trap on the grass about 125 meters away, behind a small tree.
Drew waits as I take a break.
A panorama of the orchards near the top of the road.
Excellent views back towards Taichung.
Drew snapped this picture of a disheveled, beaten blogger we met on the road. He looked nothing like my svelte, sexy self.
It was a bit hazy today, but this view from Rte 129 across this valley towards the Central mountain range is one of my favorites on the island.
It was especially sweet after fighting my way up the hill, so I created a panorama of it.
We stopped for cold drinks in a small town near Hsinshe. There local families process mushrooms, an important product of the area around Hsinshe.
Cutting up mushrooms.
A pile of discarded plastic bags full of soil used as a medium for growing mushrooms. The soil under the fruit trees is composed of such discards.
On our way home we took Rte 88 back down to Fengyuan, basically a controlled fall from Hsinshe, a wonderful end to a great morning. Even the rampant trash dumping in the local streams couldn't dampen it.
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