ZHIXING OLD TRAIL (知性古道)

A short and simple Sunday afternoon type of stroll. For anyone wanting more of a workout, there’s always the option to include the adjoining Wu Jiu Tong Trail.

Distance: 2.4km

Time: Less than an hour – or more if you want.

Difficulty: (regular Taiwan hikers): 1/10 – not at all difficult.

Difficulty: (new Taiwan hikers): 3/10 – for some rough paths (roots, rocks), and minor steep sections.

Total ascent: 120m

Water: 0.5L was ample for me in winter – Teresa didn’t bring any.

Shade: Patchy, but just enough cover to be ok in the summer I think.

Mobile network: A couple of black spots, but mostly ok.

Enjoyment: Nothing to make a detour for, but if you’re in the area and want some exercise, and have already checked out Yangcho Forest Trail, then it’s worth a quick look.

Other: Probably not so relaxing on the weekends when this place has a whole load or karaoke singers exercising their lungs.

Map:

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.49.35 PM

GPX file available here.

Chinese New Year cabin fever having seeped in within less than 24 hour hours of returning to Taoyuan, we decided to head out for a bit of an easy leg stretch with the dog. Parking up in the space next to small toilet block and a large shelter, we got Youtiao’s collar on and set off up the gravel road to the left of the sign. (The right hand trail is where we eventually came back from.)

Wanting to get off the gravel as soon as possible, we took the left track (this part is 知性古道).

Youtiao was a lot happier to have proper earth underfoot and bounded along at a much more jaunty gait than I’ve seen her do in whilst in Taipei. This path reminded me quite a lot of the nearby Yangcho Forest Trail, so perhaps she too was feeling happy to be back in familiar surroundings. At one point, we neared a house where a noisy dog barked to show that we’d not managed to sneak past unnoticed. And a little further along the trail, an almost unnoticeable grace sat half swallowed up by the trees – Teresa passed by without even noticing.

At a bridge, the path briefly rejoined a road. It was at this point that we realised that we’d actually walked this path before a couple of years earlier. Back then, it hadn’t been nearly no wide, and there wasn’t such obvious signage either. It appears that this area had had a bit of money put towards making it a more proper walking destination.

We headed uphill towards a small temple. Youtiao went to pay her respects to the resident God.

The path continued up opposite from the temple. We thought we might have to carry Youtiao, but despite her short legs and seniority, she took all the tree roots in her stride, out-pacing the both of us.

She didn’t even need any help up the tyre steps.

At the top of the steps, the path arrives at a small farmstead/weekend karaoke station.

There wasn’t any sign of the karaoke aunties and uncles on this occasion, just a penful of ducks and chickens.

Upon reaching the main resting location of the connect wu jiu tong trail it was clear that my earlier guess that money had been spent beautifying the place was true. There were a whole load of new signs and seating. We left via the middle path, although the right hand path could have worked too.

A short while later we took the first turning on the right and ignored the smaller trail on our right just after turning.

Another short distance later we took the final turn of the walk, a left through a wooden arch down 環山步道.

Again, there were more signs of recent reworking, albeit less polished reworking. As we made our way around the winding path back to the car, we spotted the short but exciting looking 穿山甲步道 (or Pangolin trail), heading off on the left – definitely one to explore next time we feel trapped here.

Along the final stretch of the path, there are somewhat inexplicably tens of owl-painted stones.

The owls varied in cuteness and brightness and even age I think, but most seemed to be at least two or three years old.

Upon getting back to where the car was parked, Teresa went off to collect Sausage from another dog that she was bothering and I caught sight of this beautiful pale-green thing fluttering on a branch. It turned out to be a species of luna moth, (probably Actias neidhoeferi since that seems to be the one that’s found in Taiwan). It was somewhat uncooperatively sitting with its wings out against the brightest part of the sky, so the photo doesn’t really do justice to the beautifully creamy coloured intensity of its wings, but even so, I was lucky to see it.


How to get there

Google maps address: 落羽松廣場, Unnamed Rd, Luzhu District, Taoyuan City, Taiwan 338

GPS location: N25 04.332 E121 18.091

Public transport: there isn’t any public transportation which will take you here, but if you want to do the nearby Wu Jiutong trail, (which ends where we science/phenomena/2015/02/16/why-do-started), then you can take the 209 bus from Shanbi Airport Express station and get off at Concrete Company and walk up.

Further reading: whilst looking for information on the luna moth I found this interesting article.


My new words learnt on this hike:

  1. 配合度 / pèihé dù / degree or level or cooperation, as in 他的配合度很高 = he is very cooperative.
  2. 雞同鴨講 / jī tóng yā jiǎng / literally chicken talk with duck – it is an idiom used to express the fact that two parties are so far away from understanding each other that they may as well be talking different languages. Typing this phrase into google results many cute pictures of confused farm birds.
  3. 暴力 / bàolì / violent, violence
  4. 偷懶 / tōulǎn / this isn’t really a new word or phrase because I know I have heard it many times, but it is the first time I actually properly worked out what it means.

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This is the bit where I come to you cap in hand. If you’ve got all the way down this page, then I can only assume that you’re actually interested in the stuff I write about. If this is the case and you feel inclined to chip in a few dollars for transport and time then I would appreciate it immensely. You can find me on either Ko-fi or Buy Me a Coffee.

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