Start Southern Cross highway 20-deep in Bunun land
Trip Start Nov 06, 2006
106Trip End Dec 31, 2008
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Total Distance: 26 km
Altitude up: 300m
Altitude down: 100m
Waking up and seeing that the rain has stopped is encouraging.We buy some things for breakfast and have it on the veranda of the hut. Leaving just before 8:00 am we reach Baulai short past 9:00am. The traces of days of rain are everywhere to be seen - smaller rocks are scatterd all over the road and small mud slides form mini hills on the road. The area is also full of mango trees, unluckily not ripe yet. Baulai is a small village at the starting point of the No. 20 Southern Cross Highway, has several hot spring hotels and resorts ( one is vey nice and luxury, the other one is more for family vacation ) and the Laonung river with rafting activities
At 10:00am we continue our walk to Taoyuan. Tsai Chin calls the church to secure a place for the night. On the way we visit a very simple hot spring called Laolao ( double old, may be not the most attrative name for a rejuvinating hotspring ). The hot spring is marked with a painted signboard and is about 1 km off No. 20. On the way we meet a man with his daughter on an off-road tri-cycle. The place belongs to Bunun indiginous peoples. It is nicely located beside a river with individual basins behind rocks in the open - to cool down, please descent to the river below. A basin would cost 350 NTD. As we do not have much time we leave without a hot bath. In Gao Chung village I see an interesting house tugged away in a side road on the right side of No
All the way this day goes up and down by between 20 and 100m again and again, but in the end we only gain 100 m up, which is bit frustrating, knowing that we will have to cross over 2.700m. On the way two cars and a motorcycle want o give us a ride - the part with the motorcycle I do not understand yet - 3 grown-ups with 2 big backpacks on one motorcycle. Perhaps the offer was only ment for my co-walker. Along the way we see many fallen rocks and at one place I still manage to take a picture of a bulldozer clearing the road from larger rock slide. In Taoyuan village at km 94 on road No.20 we eat beef noodle soup and stired fried potato leaves and watch a small boy chasing a mini pig with a broom
After an hour rest we walk the 1.5 km to the Chiao Nien Hsi Hot Springs, via the village, a suspension bridge over the stream we could see from the room, along a small, but interesting shaped waterfall and special rock setting and by a tunnel construction site. I find it a strange location for a tunnel as no road or any other connection leads to it - as I am a curious person that means - ask and find out. We approach a man on a big machine doing some repairs.We shout from distance some questions to him, but he signals us to come nearer as he cannot hear us
The Chiao Nien Chi hot spring is about 1 km up the mountain. The hot spring is developed with ponds , but still in a pretty natural setting. In the background we see Chang Long ( Long Dragon ) waterfall , definitely an impressive waterfall which we cannot reach because the trail had been destroyed in a typhoon and the way is totally overgrown - it is another sign of the power of Taiwan's nature/ flora. Tsai Chin goes into the hot spring, joining maybe 10 other people who are coming and going. I am too lazy and sit by the river. The hot bathers 'cool down' in the mountain stream. On our way back at about 6:00pm, it's slowly getting dark, we meet Mr. Guo again.
We go to have dinner at a local restaurant and get a special treatment of huge plates of fried rice, pork meat and cabbage for just 250 NTD. The lao ban niang ( lady boss ) says we shall "tche bao le" - eat us full. In the restaurant which seems also to be something like the local gathering point and " Vereinslokal " we see many trophies including some for hunting, a favored pasttime for the local people. About 6 people sing KTV, some better, some still need a bit more practice. Later they change to aboriginal songs and dance the traditional dance to it. We clap our hands in the tact of the music and applaud the performers. Later we talk to a lady who is a teacher at the area's junior high school - her name is A-Bin. As the school is on the way from Taoyuan to Meishan we agree to come by the next day and say hello.
From 8 to 10:00 pm I write my notes and at 10:30 pm is sleeping time. Being beside a river is romantic, but not good for a deep sleep when the river is so strong after several days of rain. It sounds like a train running through the room, rolling all the stones and gravel downstream from the mountain. The water, usually a wonderful blue-green, is now grey.