Day 67 – Caotun Township to Yuchi Township

Epic day today. The kms don’t tell the story unless you look at the elevation we climbed. We climbed over 1,145m in the 35kms we rode, so although we rode greater than 20kms less than yesterday, we rode for 2 hours longer. Check out the Strava elevation data for all the gory detail.

We started the day early because we camped in the school grounds and students start arriving at school at 7am for a 7:30am start. Robert was keen that we would be ready to leave before the students started to arrive, so he was extra organised and helpful this morning. We briefly met the Principal and said our good byes and thank yous to Sherry and were on the road by 7:15am. Our first night’s sleep in a school was a great experience.

As mentioned previously, the infrastructure and roads in Taiwan is amazing. In the background you can see an expressway that runs parallel to the road we are cycling. In that section it is about 100m above the ground. It means that the road we cycle is quiet with mainly local traffic and motorcycles and bikes have a lane to ourselves.

We were all in good spirits this morning after a good nights sleep, so to my surprise the consensus was to take the “short cut” over the mountain range rather than follow the river. It surprised me a little after the experience yesterday, but I am always keen for a challenge and adventure. The photo below is our first rest after climbing about 200m, in the background you can faintly see the expressway.

The road was steep to start with but got steeper as we went.

At about 400m Patrick spotted a beautiful stream with a waterfall and pool about 30m straight down from the below barricade.

It took quite some effort to climb down, but the boys were keen, so we took a quick dip in the pool. The water was very cold and had small fish swimming around.

We thought we had got to the top of the mountain at 700m, before we could descend, but it turned out to be a saddle and we still had another 150m of hard going to get to the top.  The last one km of the ascent was so steep we had to push the bikes.

We got to the top and  there was no clear path down the other side, as you can see from what is behind Julie and the boys. Rather than risk taking the bikes and gear down the other side without a usable path I decided to scout out the way while everybody else had lunch.

Amazingly enough there was a concrete path down, but it had been overgrown with weeds. After scouting out the path for about 500m I was confident we could get down, because there was some evidence that the road was being used, so I returned to the others. Even after setting down the other side Julie was incredulous that there was a path and for the first one km down it was so steep we had to wheel the bikes with the breaks almost fully on.

By the time we got to the bottom we had only done about 15km and still had another 20kms to go. Although the ride was going to be up stream we thought that we only had to climb another 250m. Little did we know that we had another mountain to climb and descend. In hindsight, the ride would have been tough enough without the “short cut” and I think the others will be even more caution to try mountain overpass “short cuts” in Taiwan in the future.
Check out my ride on Strava:

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