Sunday, December 06, 2009

Riding in Southern Nantou County

Had another great ride on Saturday, this time in Nantou through the tea district around Lugu, just below Hsitou, with my friend Drew and Todd A of The Daily Bubble Tea. For a map of the route, go here. Click on read more to see more...

We parked at the 7-11 where 3 and 3A meet near Jhushan, and then headed east toward Jiji. Just before the big bridge, in front of the reservoir pictured here, we turned onto a partially paved road, for a sweet ride among banana trees and bamboo farms, with good views over the water out to Jiji and Shuili. On Saturdays Jiji is like something out of Soylent Green, so we avoided that area.

We followed 139 to 131. Here is a concrete facsimile of a traditional plains aborigine grain silo, Drew informed us. Had it been an authentic structure, it would have been up on stilts to keep the rats out, he added.

Plenty of great farming country lay along the route, but things were hazed over.

Locals stop for a chat on 131 between Jiji and Lugu.

From 131 we turned onto 151 and climbed six kilometers up and easy grade to about 850 meters. The road is a tourist trap nightmare because it is the route between the main highway and the tourist areas around Hsitou.

A restaurant sets up for lunch.

As we rose out of the tourist areas, we encountered something I'd never seen before: golden orb spiders living in colonies.

They lined the road thickly for more than a kilometer in this area.

Like something out of Arachnophobia, Drew observed.

We left 151 and turned onto Nantou 55, aka Guangfu Rd, lined with hostels, tea farms, and stands of bamboo. It is a popular tourist route, but less busy today due to the election.

Todd and Drew enjoy the views from 900 meters.

Looking back towards the western plain.

We descended down Guangfu Rd past the banana farms.....

....and tea plantations.
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Marc said...

The spiders are amazing. Nature at its most curious! The spider chow must be plentiful and delicious in this area.

Reminds me of when I was up in the mountains above Wulai one evening to see the plum blossoms, and saw in the flowery branches a swarm of what looked like thousands of bumblebees silhouetted against the dusky sky. Moving closer, I saw that they were in fact thousands of Taiwan's most amazing creature: a swarm of hummingbirds the size of bees!

Todd said...

Great ride, look forward to the next one!

Anonymous said...

Hummingbirds in Taiwan!?

I was sure I had heard many times that hummingbirds are found only in the Americas. I would love to see a link to info on Taiwanese hummingbirds if you know of one! Thanks!


Cary said...

Yeah, great find on the spiders. I have only ever seen them in solitary webs.

I think what you took for hummingbirds, Marc, were what are commonly known as hawk moths. No less fascinating to watch than hummingbirds.