Usually before I go cycling I’ve already decided several days ahead of time where I’ll be going. Today was different. I hadn’t decided where I would be going as I finished breakfast this morning. I got on my bike and headed in the direction of the Pingding Sacred Tree, as there are many choices of routes available once there. I felt a rumbling in my stomach, so turned around to go to the big 7-11 on Zhongzheng Rd. This particular 7-11 rates high in terms of clean restrooms. Had it not been for the unexpected bout of abdominal bloating, I probably would have gone to the Pingding Sacred Tree and come back through Jhongliao like I usually do.
After leaving 7-11 I decided to head in the direction of Baguashan [八卦山]. I entertained the idea of cycling to Changhua and ascending Baguashan from the Giant Buddha Statue one of my six year old students can’t stop talking about.
While cycling along Provincial Road 14 [14丁] it began to rain lightly. Soon however, it began raining heavily. I hid under the awning of an abandoned building and began small talk with an older woman hauling vegetables in a small cart behind her. She pointed up to the sign for the Tiao Shui Ancient Path [挑水古道 (seen at the top of the post)]. A few banners for the 2009 Hakka Tung Blossom Festival [2009客家桐花祭] hung from a few lamp posts. Remembering a news report I saw last night about the Tung Blossoms of Nantou and Yunlin Counties already in bloom, I decided to head up the path [See the map on the lower-righthand corner of the page to see if they are in bloom in your area].
Quickly I discovered that I made a great choice to go this way:
The Tiao Shui Ancient Path is a road leading up to two wells, both 10 meters deep dug at two springs. Although unsure of the year of completion, the path is thought to be at least 100 years old.
If riding your bike up, save enough energy to carry it up the stairs to the top:
The top of the path will take you to County Road #139 [Bagua Road (八卦路)/ Dachang Road (大彰路)] where you’ll be treated to several beautiful rural scenes like this:
If you’re hungry, you may want to stop at Fengshan Temple [鳳山寺]. There are a lot of food stands there catering to the weekend cyclists crowd.
I made a brief stop at Houtanjing [猴探井]…
…to make a panorama of the Changhua Plain:
View the large.
In addition to tea farms, there are also a lot of pineapple farms:
No trip to Baguashan would be complete without a stop to chat with Mr. Huang, the owner of Nantou Red Soil Coffee [南投市紅土咖啡]. I just noticed Mr. Huang and I are sitting in almost exact mirror images of eachother in this picutre:
Here’s the map of today’s fun: