Monday, February 13, 2006

Cycle Mountain, Cycle Sea - Part IV

Kenting was the last stop of the the trip for the bicycle club, so on Thursday morning everyone got on the bus for a long trip up the west coast superhighway back to Taipei and eventually Ilan. We got off at Chaiyi in the early afternoon and started biking up to ALiShan.

We took a side road and were rewarded with a quiet, narrow, and freshly paved (though steep) road that hugged the mountain sides.

The entrance to a busy town with some famous temple or another. It made for a busy road the first 10 km or so.

Though he meant well, Brett offends local sensibilities by pointing at GuanYin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Ok, really he was indicating the road's course around that hump over GuanYin's left shoulder.

Buddha is laughing because go knows we are suckers for trying to bike up to YuShan. Locals joined him at times.

After that busy town, things got quiet. It was all betel nut plantations mixed in with tea fields. A perfect ride.

In this area, almost every mountain side was stripped of jungle and replaced with vast betel plantations. This is obviously a big environmental problem in Taiwan. Riding through a stand of betel palms you notice that the air is hot, dry, and quiet; In the jungle a couple hundred meters down the road the air is cooler, humid, and teeming with insects and birds.

Betel Palms in the foreground and tea fields in the back.

In the late afternoon, we found this great little ShanZhuang (Mountain Hostel) that let us camp for 100 NT each. The mountains in the background foreshadowed what Friday had in store.

1 comment:

weiyioui said...

i really like this photo!!!