Lost in the rain in Majia ( 瑪家)

I have known about this waterfall for 2 years and lately a friend has been teasing me with pics from his frequent trips back there.  I decided that I was going for a long motorcycle ride and check this one off of my long to do list.  Majia is a stunningly beautiful and mostly unknown mountain village near Sandimen.  Despite its enormous size Shalawan Waterfall rarely shows up on maps and I didn’t notice any signs for it.  I was even looking for the Chinese but I could have missed one.  There were about a dozen roadside waterfalls that were the location of many Moon Festival barbeques.

Sometimes I have problems finding stuff in the mountains since the roads rarely have names or numbers and signs are rarely in English.  Sometimes they don’t even have signs in Chinese.   I’m also a man which prevents me from asking for directions.  I went to the end of the three main roads that I found past Majia and Shalawan Waterfall eluded me this time.  At the end of one of the roads I found an interesting aboriginal slate house.  At the end of another I found a great hiking trail and the other ended at a great mountaintop camping spot.  It turns out that the slate house was pretty much the trailhead for Shalawan Waterfall so at least I know where I need to return to next time.

The most impressive of the road side waterfalls.

One of the ends that I explored was the Zhenlishan trail.  It doesn’t summit a great peak but in the rain today it was a stunning trail to hike.

That dark cloud basically summarizes my day in the mountains.  It rained and then it stopped.  And then it rained and then it rained until I reached the sunny

parts of the flat plain.  This was quite refreshing after a hot, humid summer though.

The trail was a pleasure to hike even in the rain.

I have always enjoyed walking in clouds.

It really was an easy trail to walk.

It was just one of those days.

Looking north towards Wutai before more rain came down.

todays rainfallI’m pretty sure that I was inside of one of the those red dots in southern Taiwan this afternoon.

Hiking in Hengchun near Kending

Mark Roche of Blue Skies Adventures led a small group on a long dayhike in southern Taiwan.  The hike first went to a small nondescript peak followed by some bushwhacking across country before reaching the coast.  Most of my hikes are on well built easy to follow trails but this was a unique experience that many don’t experience in Taiwan.  I definitely wouldn’t attempt a hike like this by myself.  The best part of the hike was the view of the coast at the end though.  I’ve seen these hills before but I’ve never been hiking in them.

Looking towards Jiupengshan (I think)

Mark Roche on the nice part of the trail

The not so nice part of the trail

Jerry confronting one of the trail obstacles

Christian and another trail obstacle.  Christian added a degree of difficulty to the trip by bicycling down (100km) the night before and then back to Kaohsiung after the hike.

Mark at yet another obstacle

Taiwan’s east coast with Jerry, Mark and Christian

The group on the way down.

Mark, James, Dennis, Christian, Jerry and myself (not pictured Jojo and Carol).  I look short…

Cigong Waterfall for Christmas

For Christmas this year I went to what is probably Taiwan’s southernmost waterfall near Jialeshui.  I didn’t have high expectations for this waterfall because it’s rarely mentioned.  Although it wasn’t physically impressive it was a nice relaxing area.  Unfortunately this seems like the kind of area that is overrun with strange Taiwanese men in their speedos and hordes of children on summer weekends.  On Christmas day however all seven waterfalls (Ci = 7 and gong = hole) were mine.

This wasn’t a good start but at least the trail was hikeable.

There wasn’t a lot of water but just enough for the waterfalls and no wet feet.

The 1st tier

The 2nd tier

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th tier

The 4th tier

It’s difficult to see how steep this is but the ropes should give you an idea.

The 5th tier

The 6th tier

The 7th tier was kind of anti-climatic