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2015-03-29

2015年3月28日 慢集團@瑞芳黃金七稜十稜 Golden Ridge #7 &10 routes of Ruifang

A view from the Golden Ridge #7,  Jilongyu Island is floating on the ocean 
この山行は月一回の慢集団活動の道案内山行である。今回は、昨年11月に案内した瑞芳北東端の所謂黄金十稜中の八稜九稜に続き、七稜と十稜の山行だ。七稜は、南雅の脇にそびえる南子吝山から石梯坑山へと続く稜線である。一方十稜は、和美山から龍洞へ下る海沿いの稜線である。普通は、九稜と十稜を合わせて登る、或いは七稜と八稜を合わせるというのが普通だ。この山行は、七稜を登りそのあと草山から和美山への主稜線を歩き、そこから十稜を下るというものである。歩き方としては、きつい歩きになる。

このルートは、同一ではないが今までにすでに歩いている。一度は、十稜から登り金瓜石へ、一度は南子吝山からのぼり石梯坑古道を下り、また最近に調査も含めて主稜線を歩いた。前回二回の時は、黄金十稜はまだ注目されておらず、七稜、十稜という呼び名で呼んでいない。すでに歩いているので、今回は英語で記述する。

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Walk from Nanya at the west side to Longdong on the east side
Hiking elevation profile
This activity is the second hike under Manjituan Hiking Group (慢集團) for covering so-called ten Golden Ridges (黃金十稜) of Ruifang (瑞芳), near Jinguashi (金瓜石) the old gold mining center. We visited the #8 and #9 last November, though we did not walk the entire route of #9 due to slow pace under a bad weather at that time. This one is to cover the #7 and #10 and we succeeded not only to cover the both ridges but to climb over a few peaks in between even though we had more than forty members. The fine weather of course helped our activity.

The area of hiking is on the most north eastern side of Taiwan 
The location of the two ridges are in fact far apart. Recent interests for the Golden Ridges brought many hikers to this region. They usually walk ridge routes closely located each other if they go for two at one time, like #7 and #8 or #9 and #10. The route we took is rather unconventional. If you go like this, you have to connect the two ridges by walking over the main ridge between Mt. Caoshan (草山) and Mt. Hemeishan (和美山), which is itself a laborious walk. Though I rated this hike as a strenuous one, courageous forty some members showed up and walked, which surprised me a bit.

Members walking on wooden staircase
Most of the members met at Jilong station (基隆站) and took a #791 bus to Nanya (南雅站) bus stop. When we arrived there at 8:20, some members were already there. They have come by their own cars or another #886 bus from Ruifang station. The weather is great and the sun is brightly shining, which promises a nice hike today. After a brief warm-up and my explanation about the route, we start at 8:40. The first section of the route, a hiking trail up to Mt. Nanzilinshan (南子吝山) is a very good one. It is well maintained and sign posts are all new and clear. When I visited here two years ago it was under repair. We pass through wooden stair cases and up we go. The trail turns to be a wide dirt footpath with stone steps. It goes gradually up. As we climb, the more view of the ocean spreads out behind our back. At 9:05 we reach the summit (elevation 196m) and even more members are already there waiting.

At the top of Mt. Nanzilinshan
A panorama view from Mt. Nanzilinshan
The view from this summit is splendid!! You can see most of the ten Golden Ridges from this point. Only #9 and #10 are behind other peaks and ridges and not visible. The parallel ridges of #5 and 6 are just under the rocky and majestic peak of Mt. Banpingshan (半屏山).. After a short rest we start for our Golden Ridge #7 route. The trail turns to be a primitive and narrow one going through tall grasses. A few days of rain just until yesterday makes the earth surface very slippery. You have to grab grasses besides you not to fall on your buttocks. We walk for about 15 minutes and come to a vantage point on a peak. We can see the Mt. Bangpingshan even closer. If you look very carefully you can see a few hikers are up on the Ridge #6, Jianlongleng (劍龍稜) crawling up.

A view from the vantage point, looking at Mt. Nanzilin (left) and the Golden Ridge #8 on the right
A view of Mt. Banpingshan from the vantage point
Crawling up the steep ridge
We go further down on the ridge #7 and come to the lowest point at 9:45. We start uphill in bushes instead of tall grasses. The hardest part of today's hike actually starts here. A little after 10:00, the first steep uphill appears. We climb it with help of an affixed rope. On a half way up to the merging point with the Golden Ridge #8, we can see a big water fall in the valley beneath Mt. Banpingshan. We climb rocky sections couple times. When I look back, the top of Mt. Nanzilinshan is already lower than where I stand. We go up a last steep slope and come to a junction with the #8 Ridge route. It is 11:18 and it took us almost three hours to complete the #7 Ridge from Nanya.

Just above the tunnel


The remaining part of the ridge to Mt. Shitikengshan (石梯坑山) is pretty familiar to me as this counts the forth time over. After going through bamboo trees we go up to a junction. We take right one to go on the ridge. At 12:00 we come to the top of a tunnel where wild red azalea trees are just in full bloom. We climb down by a rope and stand just in front of the tunnel portal. This tunnel is said to have served for transportation of coal in the past. The trail from here is pretty flat as it used to be a road bed for wagons of coal. In ten minutes we come to another junction where Shitikeng old trail diverges. Just in several meters forwards, we come to a stone shrine of hundred years old. This old trail served as a main connecting road between the village of Longdong (龍洞) and Jinguashi in the past. The local people set this heavy stone shrine to pray for a Tudigong (土地公), a Taoist deity to protect local people.

Myself at the tunnel portal
The trail becomes narrower and less walked from here. Most of the Gold Ridge hunters go down by Shitikeng trail back to Nanya and much less people walk the section between the shrine and the main ridge. We gradually go up the side of the main ridge and reach the four-way intersection on the main ridge at 12:45. It is already past noon but there is no big enough space for forty people to have a lunch break. We turn left here and keep on. If you take right  here you can go to Mt. Caoshan. If you go over ridge and down, you walk along Beishikeng (北勢坑) old trail, which obviously is an unpopular route. Gentle breeze passes over the ridge and it feels good as the fine weather has brought high temperature today.

View from the main ridge looking at Mt. Kumingling
members going through woods of the main ridge
We go over a little peak and come to a point where no trees hinder our site. Two young hikers having a rest just leave as we arrive the point. Mt. Kuminling (苦命嶺)  is still far out there. On the right side of the peak, we can see Mt. Hemeishan, our final main peak on the main ridge. We go down to the lowest point in between after passing over another small peak.  At 13:40 we start climbing back to the summit of Mt. Kuminling. Originally an unpopular route a couple years ago, thanks to voluntary maintenance work of Lantiandui (藍天隊) group last year, has become more walked-in and the path is now much clearer. Up we go and arrive at the wide flat summit of Mt. Kuminling (elevation 428m) at 13:57. We are just on schedule and I decide to take a long break here.

Wide flat area of Mt. Kumingling summit
Bitoujiao and Londong are visble
After a lunch break of a half hour we head for the next peak, Mt. Hemeishan. After diverging a foot pah on left down to Mt. Kulingling (苦苓嶺), we descend a steel downhill. On our left we can see Bitoujiao (鼻頭角) and Longdong, our final destination. At 15:20 we come down to the lowest point before Mt. Hemeishan. A stream flows through, which did not exist on my last visit last year. The recent continuous rain fall in the past few days obviously contributes this volume of water. We go up the last major uphill of today. At 15:44 we come to the summit (elevation 355m).  The weather is still fine and we can see the bottom of the #10 Ridge far down by the ocean.

Climbing down slippery steep downhill
A little before 16:00 we start descent. The brown dirt path is really slippery. We pass an junction in a few minutes and take left. We go up a little hill and our final descent begins. The first part of descent is really steep. It goes between tall grasses. Affixed ropes help but it is very slippery. Many members fall on their bottom and get their pants dirty. After a fifteen-minute struggle we come down to a moderate part of the ridge and into bushes. We come out of bushes at some point and realize how much we have come down. At 17:34 we jump out of the trail and onto a wide stone paved tourist trail. Two pavilions stand by the trail. The sun now hangs pretty low and emits yellowish light. I am very happy that the whole troop have come down before dark. People walk along the stone paved trail down to the sea side. We wash out our dirt at a rest room by the primary school and go up to the coast line highway (濱海公路). No sooner we arrive the bus stop by the highway, a 1811 bus directly going to Taipei comes along the highway. It has turned dark not long after we get aboard the bus.

Come down to the tourist walkway
In front of a pavilion
The route that we took today is long and strenuous, not intended for all hikers but for rather experienced ones. There were a few members looking not so experienced and it made me worry whether we can complete the hike before dark. But it turned out just to be my concern only. This route may have been some kind of surprise to them, but I was happy to see everyone was with a smiling face after completing the hike. The lunch time was rather late but people were cooperative. It took us more than 10 hours to cover 11.5 km. If you go on your own with a smaller group, it should not take so long. Please keep in mind though that this is not for beginners.

2015-03-19

2015年3月18日 瑞芳東北角石梯坑古道-苦命嶺-龍洞坑古道 昔日の棚田などの残る道を歩く

龍洞坑古道,渡渉部分。背後に石積み壁が見える
台湾の最東北端は、冬の間は季節風の影響で雨が多く天気が安定しない。春が近づき、またこの地を訪れる良い時期がやってきた。以前から歩こうと思っていた龍洞坑古道を訪ねることにした。ただ、この道だけでは短いので石梯坑古道から登り、苦命嶺を越えたあと龍洞坑古道を歩くことにした。苦命嶺の草山側稜線は、二年半前に一度反対方向に歩いた。その時は道筋がはっきりしないところが多々あった。三月末の週末に登山クラブ慢集団を案内するので、この部分の状態を確認することが目的である。

北の南雅から歩き始め東の龍洞へ
台北の最東北端に位置する古道群
南雅から海岸沿いに仁愛橋へ歩く
龍洞坑の一帯は、海に面した部分とそこに流れ込む沢に沿った部分、また和美山北側のゆるい斜面が開拓された。その始まりの時期は早く、今から二百年ほど前になる。清朝時代の記録に平地の原住民である平埔族がこの地を開拓していることが記録されているようだ。当時は勿論現在の濱海公路など無い。この地から近くの賑やかな街、金瓜石へは山を越えていかなければならない。そのために歩かれたのが龍洞坑古道であり、それがつながる石梯坑古道である。これら呼称は現代の登山者が付けたもので、当時は当然名前など無い。というか、生活上必須な街道であったわけだ。この道を往来する住民は、安全を祈願して土地公を二ヶ所も設けている。また道脇には棚田などが造られて作物が植えられていた。今は住人は、海岸脇に数軒あるだけで山の中は誰も住んでおらず、棚田などはすべてその存在が判る石積の壁などを残し自然に戻ってしまっている。こうした道を歩くと、当時の人達の苦労が偲ばれる。

石梯坑古道の入口、すぐ右に黄金八稜の入口がある
今回は、Lさんと二人の山行である。基隆駅から791番バスで向かう。今回は比較的ゆっくりで、国家新城8時20分発のバスは8時38分に基隆駅バス停にやって来た。9時20分、南雅バス停に着く。今日は空が晴れ上がり、気持ちがとても良い。南雅は前回慢集団のグループを黄金八稜の山行に案内した時以来だ。海岸沿いの道を仁愛橋へ歩く。橋の下をくぐり駐車場に出る。ここから山道だ。すぐ右に黄金八稜道の入口、またその先橋のたもと脇で南雅山への急峻道が続いている。今日は、石梯坑古道を登っていく。

石梯坑古道(右)と龍洞坑古道の分岐、左の鞍部は峠部分
石梯坑古道は山腹を進む
駐車場から数分歩く。沢を越える。水量はあるが、踏み石を渡れば簡単に対岸に着く。これから先はずっと左岸を登っていく。すぐ左に砂防ダムがある。この道は、濱海公路が開通する前南雅集落の住人が金瓜石へ往復していた道だろう。石の階段がところどころに現れる。9時48分、分岐に来る。左は沢沿いに進む道だが、今はあまり歩かれていないようだ。右に取り山腹の道を進む。道は、高度を上げたあとしばらくゆるい坂を進む。10時左から、先ほど別れた沢沿いの道が合流し、その少しさきで左に龍洞坑古道が別れる。左遠くに稜線が望める。龍洞坑古道が越えていく峠部分が判る。今日の午後、通過する予定の場所だ。右にとり石梯坑古道そ進む。細い支流を二、三箇所通り過ぎ、高度を上げていく。10時19分、苦命嶺への分岐に着く。直進すれば沢沿いに苦命嶺へ続く。歩き始めて50分、ここで休憩する。

土地公の祠
道は、方向を換え山腹を登っていく。つづら折りの登りである。数分登ったつづら折りの付け根の部分で、また苦命嶺への道が分岐する。おそらく先ほどの分岐からの道と合流するのだろうが、この道は草深くあまり歩かれていない。右にとり古道を追っていく。山腹に人工の石積みがある。以前ここには小屋などがあったのだろう。欠けた陶器が落ちている。10時50分、右に石梯坑山への道が分岐する。10時58分、右から黄金七、八稜からの道と合流する。左に少し進むと土地公の石祠がある。神像はすでに無いが、昔は往来する旅人が通行の安全を祈った場所である。

峠への道は細い踏跡
最近の黄金十稜の人気で、土地公まではよく歩かれている。しかしその先は、明らかに道の状態は落ちる。それでも踏跡がはっきりしているのは、登山者が増えているためだ。右に半屏山の壮絶な岩壁が木々の間から望める。山腹を進んで行き、11時14分に稜線鞍部に到着する。ここから沢沿いに北勢坑への道があるが、これはあまり歩かれていない。右にとれば草山方向だ。しばし休憩する。

峠部分、左へ苦命嶺へ進む
稜線から苦命嶺を望む、左に黄金九稜とその先の鼻頭角が見える
筆者、背後は草山(左)と半屏山
11時25分、左に稜線を苦命嶺方向へ歩き始める。稜線上を風が通り抜けていく。天気がよく気温が高いので、風が心地よい。道は草深いところもあるが、前回訪問時に比べると昨年藍天隊が入った後登山者が増えたようで、踏跡ははっきりしている。峠から数分歩いてくると樹木が切れて展望がきく。進行方向には苦命嶺が、その左には南雅山から鼻頭角へ伸びる黄金九稜が望める。苦命嶺は手前に小ピークが控え、まだまだ遠い。下って登り返す。また樹木がきれて展望がきく。振り返れば草山と半屏山が並んでいる。シダ類のびっしり茂ったところは踏跡は隠れて見えないが、概ね良好だ。

シダがびっしり茂る
尾根をずっとたどってきたが、12時過ぎ一部山腹を巻いていく。12時12分、前方がひらけ苦命嶺頂上(428m)に到着する。三度目の来訪だが、基石のあるその先が赤い。何か大きな赤い布でも木にかかっているのかと思って近づくと、それは木にいっぱい咲いた山ツヅジの花であった。アゲハが数匹忙しく花から花へ蜜を集めている。注意すると、基石の近くだけでなくそこここに赤のツツジが満開だ。食事休憩を取る。

赤いツツジの咲く苦命嶺頂上
アゲハ蝶が忙しく花から花へ飛んでまわる
12時45分、出発する。一度下り少し登り返すと、稜線道と左に枝尾根を下る道が分岐する。今日は左に取り龍洞坑古道の峠へ下る。分岐から少し歩き、樹木のない展望点に来る。草山から半屏山、その背後には基隆山が少し頭をのぞかせている。半屏山の前の尾根は、午前中歩いた石梯坑古道が登っていく石梯坑山の尾根である。これから下っていく尾根の左側は、傾斜が少しゆるい。右方向は、和美山が見える。その左下に伸びる尾根の尖端は龍洞の海岸線である。水平線はもうひとつぼんやりしているが、今日は天気が良い。急な補助ロープのある急坂を二ヶ所過ぎる。その先は、雑木林の中にはいり展望はない。13時12分、左から石梯坑古道から分かれて登ってくる龍洞坑古道をあわせ、そのすぐ先また右に下っていく。ここは右に下り始める。

苦命嶺から少し下った場所より見るパノラマ、左に草山と半屏山、その右角から基隆山がのぞいている
沢沿いに古道は進む
龍洞坑古道に入ると、道の状態は明らかに程度が下がる。踏跡はあまりはっきりしないところもあるが、新しい認識テープも見かけ最近歩かれていることが判る。10分ほど下る。少し開けた場所を過ぎる。どうやら以前は棚田でもあったところのようだ。13時27分沢の脇に下りる。沢脇に石を積み上げた台地もあり、先人がここで開拓したことが判る。今は、草木が茂り苔に覆われた土留め壁が残るだけだ。道は、しばらく沢の左岸を進んだ後右岸、また左岸と渡渉を繰り返す。石積み壁も数カ所見かける。11時40分、ひこっと草原に飛び出る。ここも以前は田畑であったのだろう。今は一面雑草が覆っている。右に苦命嶺が高い。苦命嶺は別名紅毛山とも呼ばれるが、この道が歩かれていたころは、更に草山を越えて行き苦しい両嶺を越えて行かなければならないことから、訛って現在の山名になったという説もある。実際、高くそびえる苦命嶺を見ると、そうかなと思う。ここで少し休憩する。

開けた草原から苦命嶺を望む
踏跡がはっきりしない場所もある
草原からまた沢沿いに進む。右岸から左岸、また右岸と渡渉をしていく。草原から約10分、14時8分に渡渉点のすぐ脇で右に道が分岐する。この道は蚊子坑古道へ続くものである。龍洞坑古道は左に沢を越して進む。この辺りの水量は多く、登山靴だと渡渉に苦労する。ここからは、ずっと左岸を進む。14時40分、それまで問題なく進んできたが、沢際で道が途切れてしまった。対岸に認識リボンがかかっており、わたって様子を見たがどうしても道が見つからない。そのうち、左岸に高巻いてい行く道を見つけて進む。また下っところで、道が判らない。対岸にも道らしいものはない。標識リボンも無いが、水道塩ビ管が地上を走っているのでそれを追って藪こぎをする。すると、道がはっきりしてまた標識リボンも現れた。かれこれ20分ほど道探しに時間がかかってしまった。反対側から来れば、迷いにくいだろう。

沢も広がってきて、古道は終わりが近い
水道塩ビ管にそって藪こぎをする
その後は、ずっと左岸を進み15時10分、濱海公路脇に出る。海辺を道沿いに鼻頭角方向へ歩く。海風が吹いていく。15時13分、龍洞湾公園バス停に着く。リュックを下ろし一息ついてまもなく、1811番バスがやって来た。このバスは、宜蘭羅東からずっと濱海公路を通り台北まで3時間半かけていく長距離バスである。一日5便だけで今まで乗車したことがなかったが、乗り換えなしで台北までいけるので好都合である。乗車して台北へ向かう。車内は乗客数名のガラガラ状態だ。14時25分、約1時間10分ほどで台北西バスターミナルに着いた。

濱海公路にでた、山は和美山


天気に恵まれた山行である。歩行距離は約10km、時間は5時間50分、体力的には楽な登山である。海抜0メートルからスタートしてまた海抜0メートルに下るので、標高の割には上り下りはある。我々登山者は、余暇と健康増進などの目的で登るが、歩いた古道は当時の住民にとっては生活そのものである。天候が悪くて雨風でも歩いたわけだ。台湾島の最東北端で、こうした生活を営んでいた先人たちを偲び歩くことは、単なる山歩きだけでなく歴史を身をもって体験できる。

2015-03-17

2015年3月16日 陽明山系二子山 - 楓樹湖古道 - 天元宮 Relaxed hiking for cherry blossoms

At Teanyuangong temple
陽明山山系の北側三芝は、多く植えられた桜で有名である。二月初めから三月半ばまで、台湾山桜や八重桜、そして吉野桜などが次々に咲き、訪れるものを楽しませてくれる。桜以外にも木蓮などの花も開き、花を鑑賞するにはとても良いコースを提供している。花を鑑賞するには気持ちもゆったり、ルートもゆったりという歩き方が望ましい。そこで、今回は二子坪から出発、登りは二子山のみで、そのあとは面天古道と楓樹湖古道を経てずっと基本下りのコースを、吉野桜で有名な天元宮へ歩いた。英語を話すメンバーが中心の山行であったので、今回の記録は英語で記述する。

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We walked from east to west
Hiking elevation profile, mainly downhill
At Erziping parking sparce, Mt. Xiaoguanyin in the back
Located on the north slope of Mt. Miantiansna (面天山) and adjacent peaks like Mt.Erzishan (二子山) and Mt. Caigongkengshan 菜公坑山, Sanzhi district (三芝區) of New Taipei City is well known for its cherry blossoms which the district office has long planted on various spots for decades. The most famous among those spots is Tianyuangong temple (天元宮) with its late blooming Yoshino cherry blossoms. As the time of its full blooming at the temple drew near. I called for an easy hiking from Mt. Erziping all the way down to Tianyuangong temple in Fasebook's Taipei Hiker Club . A few friends responded to it and twelve of us walked a leisurely hike.

Excellent Erziping trail
At an elevation of 880 meters, Mt. Erzishan is an inconspicuous peak next to more profound Mt. Miantinshan. Mt. Erzishan has two humps on its top, West peak and East peak and it looks just like a little hill viewed from Erziping, in contrast to a majestic Mt. Datunshan (大屯山) on the opposite side. There is a little footpath leading to the peak of Mr. Erzishan and down to meet anther little footpath of Miantian old trail (面天古道). After we wend over the Mr. Erzishan and then down to Miantian old trail, we walked to Bailaka highway (百拉卡公路). We walked down along Bailaka highway for a short while to connect to another old trail, Fengshufu trail (楓樹湖古道). This old trail follows on a small ridge all the way to a paved driveway at the mountain foot. We then went along this level road and ascended to a observation deck where we had a lunch break. After a lunch we went down to Tianyungong temple to enjoy cherry blossoms just in full bloom.

Erziping, Mt. Erzishan is on the right and Mt. Miantianshan is in the distacne over the corner
Climb to Mt. Erzishan
We meet at MRT Jiantan station (劍潭站) at 8:00 and take a ride to Yangmingshan bus terminus (陽明山總站) by a R5 bus. Today is Monday and a bus is full of students commuting to Chinese Culture University (中華文化大學) . After students get off, there are only a few passengers left except us. We arrive at a little before 9:00 and takes another bus #108 at 9:00. A second ride of fifteen minutes takes us Erziping parking space where we start our hike. The sun is still in clouds but you can see Mt. Xiaguanyinshan (小觀音山) clearly just behind the parking space. We start walking at 9:25 for Erziping.

Steep descent from Mt. Erzishan



The hiking trail to Erziping is very good. It even has a parallel paved path for wheelchairs. As a matter of fact, it is called a hiking trail for the handicapped. We proceed the gravel-paved wide road under trees. It feels very relaxing. There is small ups and downs but you don't feel any hard to go along. In twenty minutes we come to Erziping, where a small pond is located in its center and several peaks surround it. You can see Mt. Miantainshan in a far end beyond the corner. There are cherry trees planted around the pond but most of the trees have already fresh green leaves and only one or two trees still have cherry blossoms. We cross a wood bridge over the pond and go up stone steps to a terrace though a wood-roofed corridor. A thermometer is fixed on a tree trunk. It shows 21 degree C.

Iris flower field under trees
Miantian old trail goes through a large tree nursery
A little footpath is ascending in the woods. This is a way to Mr. Erzishan west peak and pretty different from what we have just walked from the Erziping parking space. Up we go steep dirt path and soon the incline gets moderate. Fallen leaves pile onto the path ant it feels very good. This is really a natural and primitive trail. Only after a few minutes of struggle, the path flattens and we reach the west peak of Mt. Erzishan (elevation 880m) at 10:00. This is the highest point of today's hike. The rest of the hike is basically downhill. We start decent. The more we go down, the steeper the path gets. The path that we take looks rather new and the ground is a little soft. There aren't much aids except only one affixed rope at one point. Some members are new to this kind of footpath and they are having hard time. As the incline gets moderate we pass bamboo woods where bamboo shoots are harvested. After a half hour of descent we come to meet Miantian old trail.

Bailaka highway, A shop is on the side 
We go along this flat old trail and pass by a beautiful flower field under trees. The whole area is filled with white iris flowers. This must be a kind of flower farm cultivated by a local farmer. There is another flower field to show up as we proceed. We then come in a large tree nursery and a path goes through it and down to Bailaka highway (百拉卡公路). There is a small shop by the road and we have a rest by it. Mr. Erzishan that we have just gone over stands high behind the shop. The time is 11:00.

A view from Bailaka highway
Members going down Fengshuhu old trail
After a rest we stride down the Bailaka highway for a few minutes and come to an entrance to Fengshuhu old trail. This dirt trail is well traveled and the passage is clear. After we pass an junction, the trail goes diwb along a small ridge. As we go down, the slope gets steeper. We pass two more junctions, which we both take left. At a little after 12:00 we come down to a paved driveway. After all of us reach this point, we have a short rest.

Some sections of Fengshuhu old trail is very steep
Turn left here to continue old trail
The most difficult part of the hike is now over. The rest is rather moderate downhill and paths are good. We take left here and go along the paved road to an junction with a tall sign in a few minutes. We take left in the direction the sign shows Fengshuhu old trail. This short section is a dirt path. In a matter of a minute or two we come to another junction and take left to go up. The sign shows observation deck. This section is a good stone steps. The footpath goes by purple magnolia flowers in full bloom. The uphill last just for a few minutes and we reach the observation deck at 12:20. We have a long lunch break. The weather is cloudy and we cannot view the far distance from the deck, but it is better than a strong sun shining directly upon us. Some of our members feed a big black dog that has come along with us for a while. He looks old and is friendly. He eats anything including tomato!

A view from the observation deck
A member feeding the dog tomato
Forty leisurely minutes of lunch break have passed and we head for our final destination at 13:10. We take a paved road from the observation deck. The road goes down moderately and at some point in zigzag. We come across various kind of flowers as we go down. At 13:22 we have come to a junction. At first the sign on the left road shows this is no way through and we try the right one, but soon find it is wrong. We then figure out that the sign means one road diverting from the left road ends up at a house and the left road itself is not an dead end. We take left here and march on. The road turns into a dirt road and ends at Shifangchanlin temple (十方禪林). We take a junction to right and continue downhill. We then follow signs showing Tianyuangong temple. At 13:40 we come to a point where the temple area is visible under our feet. The temple tower is surrounded by pinkish Yoshino cherry blossoms. In another ten minutes we come to the temple and complete today's hike.

Flowers along the road down to Tianyuangong
Flowers
More flowers
Cherry blossoms and Tower of Tianyuangong in the back
Cherry blossoms at Tianyuangong
The temple was full of people even on a week day. It would be wise to avoid weekends to visit this place.We walked for four hours and a half including breaks to cover approximately 8 kilometers. This route is for anybody but if you follow exactly what we walked this time, you need to be prepared to walk steep dirt footpaths. The course is rated level 3 while stamina, 2. It would be best to visit this route during late February to early March when all kinds of flowers are in full bloom. Mid march and later would be too late for cherry blooms of Taiwan native cherries except Yoshino cherries are blooming at Tianyuangong temple.