After a couple of rainy weekends, we were desperate to get out of Taipei. And when the weather looked like picking up, we all jumped at the chance to get on the bikes and head towards the mountains. The place of choice this time was Neiwan 內灣.
We set off fairly early as the drive from Taipei takes about 3 hours. We took the number 3 south and turned onto the 120 to get to Neiwan. We then passed by the touristy Neiwan old street and kept going on. Eventually we turned over a bridge that headed towards a small village called Shuitian 水田.
At the end of the road there’s a turning and the hike can be started here at the number one trail head or if you are on a motorbike, you can continue down a small road with a gate and go on to the number two trail head. See the Google map at the bottom for directions.
We hid our tents and things in the forest by the road and began the steep climb towards Wai Niao Zui mountain. The initial forest was all beautiful pine that just soared upwards. On the way we spotted a small lizard who wasn’t at all camera shy and happily posed for us on a tree!
After a while the trail levelled off and followed a ridge where we began to get glimpses of the surrounding countryside. The pine then gave way to arrow bamboo and after a sweaty 2 hours we finally arrived at the top of Wainiaozui.
The peak is exposed on all sides and although there was a bad haze we could still make out the Shimen reservoir in the valley below. We stopped for a while to eat lunch and then dove back down into the forest and on towards Najieshan 那結山.
On the way up we had met a couple and chatted with them about how long it would take to get to Najieshan. They seemed to think that we might not make but that we could head that way anyway and if there wasn’t time, just head down on an alternative trail and that would take us back to the road we started on so we decided to give it go.
The trail here follows the ridge, going up and down innumerable times and it took about two and a half hours to get to the fork for Najieshan. By that time we were well and truly knackered and thought it best not to run the risk of being stuck on the mountain in the dark so we headed down. For a while the trail followed a small stream with crystal clear water and as sun got lower in the sky, the forest began to look especially beautiful.
At one point we looked over to the left and saw what look like a wall in the distance. Curious, we headed over only to find that it wasn’t a wall but a huge 200m high rock face. It looked somewhat like a slide that you’d find in a waterpark!
Further down the forest has been cleared and we got views of the rock-face. Because of the clearing, the trail isn’t that obvious and all the plastic tags have been removed. We just kept heading downhill and eventually we got to the forestry road where the bikes were parked.
Later that evening we camped out at a site in Shuitian village and shared a few beers with the locals outside a small shop. Good times!