Qufengbi Coastal Trail revisited

The Aviva Cairo Shipwreck

I chose not to hike the Qufengbi Coastal Trail last December when Mark Roche led a trip with several of my friends.  It’s a great hike but I had already hiked it.  Of course my friends came back with pictures of a new surprise on the hike.  Last September the Aviva Cairo was being towed from Manila to Thailand to be scrapped.  Unfortunately it was lost (?) during Typhoon Fung-Wong and ultimately ran aground along the Qufengbi Trail north of Jialeshui, Taiwan.  There is one old ship wreck on the trail already but this is a huge intact ship.  Some have speculated that the first big typhoon will break up the ship.  Ironically there is a supertyphoon tomorrow that is going to be close to the ship.  And there is a second typhoon coming behind it.  There is a chance that last weekend was the last chance to see the ship intact.  Of course the smashed up ship might be even more more impressive.

Directions to the Qufengbi Coastal Trail

My first blog to the Qufengbi Coastal Trail 3 years ago

The last time we hiked the trail with cloudy skies and a typhoon a few days away.  The turbulent weather produced some dramatic photos.  This time we had blue skies and puffy white clouds.  It was a little hot in early May but overall we had a great hike.  The beached ship is really cool but the rock formations at the Jialeshui Scenic Area are absolutely amazing.  This is easy to get to from Jialeshui and is an easier alternative to hiking the entire trail.

The trail is nothing more than walking on the beach for 11 kilometers.  Most of the time the trail is a mix of stones between the size of baseballs and basketballs.  The constantly shifting rocks is mentally draining.  At times there is some nice sand to walk on and at other times there is actually a trail if you can find it.

Overall our Richard Saunders led Taipei Hikers group had 12 hikers.  We split into two groups with one hiking north and one hiking south.  By doing this each group could see the entire trail but only hike one way instead of a full round trip.  We met in the middle for 10 minutes, swapped keys and continued to the opposite trailheads.

Our group included 4 ladies that were university friends.  I was a little concerned at the beginning when they had 1.5L of water between 3 of them for a 6 hour hike.  They recognized my concern and bought more water at the trailhead before we left and did great hiking.  We took our time on the hike but they not only kept up but had a great time.

We compared the rocks to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.  There are some absolutely fascinating rocks all over the world and the science of these rock formations is very interesting.

Many of the rocks also had these strange golfball size holes in them.  We talked about how they might have been created but we had no idea.

The old shipwreck is now rusting hulks of various ship innards.  This part has become part of the trail.

A photo from my 2012 hike of the abandoned army fort.  We didn’t finish until dusk and didn’t take the time to stop at this interesting site.

Directions to the Qufengbi Coastal Trail

Qufengbi means windy nose and it’s pretty obvious that the windy nose is near the old shipwreck on the map.

Fuyuan Butterfly Valley, Taiwan

I frequently find great hikes in Taiwan because of my waterfall quest.  Typically I find a waterfall and just steer my car towards it.  Okay I usually use GPS I usually don’t know too much about the destination.  Sometimes this works out spectacularly and sometimes I merely find a waterfall.  Fuyuan was definitely the former.  If the waterfall isn’t enough there is the great hiking with views of Taiwan’s Rift Valley.  If that isn’t enough there are the butterflies.  If you need even more there is an excellent restaurant and resort on site.  I’m not sure if it’s possible to ask for more.

Looking east towards Taiwan’s Rift Valley from the Mountain Trail.  We rarely get beautiful blue skies like this in Kaohsiung.

There were still butterflies everywhere even though the best butterfly season runs from March to August.

I remember Monarch butterflies everywhere in the summers as a child.  In Taiwan the common butterfly is the Blue Tiger.

Ringlet Butterfly (Ypthima multistriata) – also very common in Taiwan

It’s almost always wet on Taiwan’s east coast.  Actually it’s almost always wet in Taiwan.  I have hiked trails where it hasn’t rained for weeks and they were still slippery from moisture.

I would guess that I am a little wrong on my butterfly and insect identifications at least half of the time.  This seems to be a crane fly which some parts of the world call Daddy Long Legs.  In Minnesota Daddy Long Legs are boring spiders.

LongYing Waterfall shoots out of the cliff in a small stream of water.

LongYing Waterfall

Caihong Falls on the Malaolou Trail, Taiwan

I have had this waterfall bookmarked for 2 years but it has always been a little too far away to visit before.  Finally last week I traveled up and down Taiwan’s east coast and I was able to find this waterfall.  It’s located about halfway between Taidong and Hualien near Sanxiantai.  Caihong is a popular waterfall name in Taiwan since it means Rainbow.  I think I’ve visited 3 Rainbow waterfalls so far.  Caihong waterfall is an impressive waterfall even if you are standing in the parking lot over 1 km away.  I started hiking the Malaolou Trail but about halfway I decided to turn back.  It’s a tough trail that is made of slippery, ankle breaking rocks and it was a little too late in the afternoon for me to be hiking this by myself.  Here is the link that I have had bookmarked for 2 years – Malaolou Trail.  I will return sometime and hike all of the way back to the waterfall where there is supposed to be a nice pool to swim in.

Caihong Waterfall from a distance.

The Pacific Ocean from the parking lot.  It says no camping here but I should have camped here because I drove around for a couple of hours looking for a campsite since it was Chinese New Year.

It’s surprising that I haven’t found more references to either the Malaolou Trail or Caihong Waterfall in my library of maps and Chinese guidebooks.  The trail is tough but not that bad.