Sunday, April 05, 2009

Riding up to Hsinshe

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.

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is somewhat offtopic, but it is triggered by both this post on Hsinshe and your many travel posts, as well as those of other bloggers in Taiwan.

I have a half-baked idea that the English bloggers in Taiwan should get together and make an online publication that is an alternative to the Taipei Times.

Bloggers are faster, take more pictures, know more detail, often speak better Chinese than journalists... for a similar train of thought, check out this post on ChinesePod, "Why Blogging Beats Journalism in China".

Layout-wise, the only thing missing is the sort of dashboard and section layout of papers. A frontpage would require some web design/editing, but sections are easily taken care of with an agreed-to set of category tags. My thinking for sections:

1) Food & Sightseeing
2) Learning Chinese, Culture
3) Events
4) Politics
5) Economics/Business/Tech Industry News
6) Foreigner stuff (passports, taxes, jobs, etc.)

Posts would have to be regularlized in some way and there would have to be standards with regard to length.

There should also be commissioned pieces--one thing that blogs rarely ever cover (because it's not new news) are topic pieces that explain the basics for people completely new to Taiwan or an aspect of Taiwan.

As it stands now, it's not exactly easy to say, "Find all blog posts on places to visit in Tainan". Or say, find me all upcoming events.

What do people think? Would anyone be interested in contributing to this endeavor (content / tech)?

What added value do you think an edited aggregator site could potentially have over simply subscribing to the RSS feeds of all the posts you like?

Like I said, half-baked, and wanted to just throw it out there and see what people thought. I personally see a lot of potential in it with the main barriers being lack of interest and tech.

Unknown said...

I used to scooter up around Xinshe. It is, as is evident from your pictures (and from mine, a long, long time ago) a very pretty town!

Leon Koh said...

love all those mushrooms and the bic trek around the country side.. lovely blog

invite you to Bloggers in Singapore

Todd said...

Looks like a great route Michael! I've unfortunately had to put any recreational cycling on hold because of a foot injury. I'm sure by the time I feel better it will already be too hot to even want to go outside.

Mark said...

So, that's what you were doing while I was getting inebriated and sunburnt down south.