[Riding along the Mountain Ridge] Wuling from the West 西進武嶺

[Riding along the Mountain Ridge] Wuling from the West 西進武嶺

WuLing from the West Route Summary:

  • Starting Location:  Geographic Center of Taiwan, Nantou (地理理中心埤,南投).
  • Length: 55km. Highest elevation: 3275m.
  • Hill profile: Long, extreme hill climb.
  • Comments:
    • There are many events that ride this route. Go for the one that has the fewest participants. When there are too many participants it will be extremely jammed near the top, with cars squeezing through each others and forcing cyclists to stop and walk their bikes (not cool!).
    • More traffic at CingJing Farm (清境農場).
  • Good for: Blood and glory.
  • Route Highlights:
    • Riding in the dark (5am).
    • Big mountain river valley.
    • Open mountain basin town.
    • Riding along the mountain ridge.

 

 

Wuling is the highest point in Taiwan that is accessible by cars and bicycles. In a previous event I rode it from the east, going through the famous Taroko Gorge. Now it’s time to ride it from the west starting from Puli (埔里), the major town in the middle of central Taiwan.

 

Due to the heavier traffic on this route, the ride starts very early at 5am in the dark.

Wuling from the West

The ghost riders heading toward the starting point.

Wuling from the West

Long line of people…

Wuling from the West

The starting point supposedly has a monument indicating the geographical center of Taiwan, but I couldn’t find it in the dark.

 

Crossing the starting point and the crowd heads onto Route #14, the route that cross the Taiwan mountain from the west to the east.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Dawn mist.

Riding in the Taiwan mountain valley at early morning is a very strange experience. Everything is at a gray-scale. The morning mist adds another layer of mysterious feel.

Wuling from the West

Remind me of the Stranger Things…

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

 

Unlike the playful river valley scenery in the earlier section of Route #14 , here mountains at the sides become big, steep and tall, as if they are gonna close in at any minutes.

 

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

The tree and dawn.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

A lonely house in the valley.

Wuling from the West

Japanese style hot spring resort.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Big mountains at every sides.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Beautiful dawn sky.

Wuling from the West

Route #14 eventually leaves the valley and starts descending up the mountain. Before th descend it passes through a small town of Nan Feng (南豐村)

Wuling from the West

Taiwan-styled pot grilled chicken signs.

Wuling from the West

At the beginning of the descend lies the monument for “The People Forbidden Pass”(人止關). It’s named as it because during the Qing Dynasty the Han people were not allowed to pass here and enter aboriginal people’s territory.

Wuling from the West

The three blocks there are written with Mandarin for the “People Forbidden Pass.”

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Cliff at the Pass.

Wuling from the West

Narrow gorge view here at the pass.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Cyclists resting at a vista point.

Wuling from the West

Th left side seems to be a major sliding area.

After passing the Pass the route starts a few switch-backs to climb all the way to the mountain ridge.

 

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

 

Wuling from the West

Can you find the hidden peacock?

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Nail it on the wall!

Wuling from the West

On the top the road goes to the other side of the mountain. There is a side road that heads to Aowanda (奧萬大), a popular place for viewing maple leaves in the Winter.

Wuling from the West

The side road to Aowanda.

Wuling from the West

Cyclists resting at the flat top of the road.

Wuling from the West

A rare short descend.

Here the route passes through the WuShe Incident Memorial Park. During the Japanese Occupation Era here the aboriginal people raised a big rebellion against the Japanese people. The incident was later adapted in the film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Park entrance.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

It said “Mouna Rudao, the hero against emperor Japan.”

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Once passed the WuShe Memorial comes RenAi Town center. Here Route #14 separates into two: the original #14 and the Route #14 Jia (台14甲), which is what we are going to Wuling.

Wuling from the West

RenAi Town center view.

Wuling from the West

Heading toward right onto #14 Jia.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Mountain basin. The town below might look low, but it’s actually nearly 4000 feet above sea level.

Wuling from the West

While the mountain town scenery is great, like Sun Moon Lake this area also suffers from over development. With real estate developers “work” together with local officials, many tasteless hotels and “recreational areas” appear here, sometimes not just destroying natural beauty but putting tourists in danger of mud-slides.

Wuling from the West

English style (?) hotel…

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

CingJing Farm, the most popular attraction here, featuring (fake) alpine farm activities like sheep herding show.

Wuling from the West

If there’s a gas station you know there are lots of cars.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Beautiful mountains at the un-developed side.

Wuling from the West

The “Rainbow House”. They should convert it into a gay bar. That would make more sense.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

This cool old man keeps saying “keep it up!” to our cyclists. Awesome.

Wuling from the West

Rest a bit and I will rise. The red banner behind says “The Warehouse Cyclist Team”.

Wuling from the West

At about 35km lies the final rest stop before heading up Wuling.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

The control point at 2200m elevation. Crossing here the route begins to go along the mountain ridge line.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

YuanFeng (鳶峰), a parking lot at about 45km. The cloud happens to make the sign white and visible.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

One of the beauty of the west route toward Wuling is that you can continually see the road you are heading to in a distance.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

The beginning of a major switch-back along the route.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Big mountain rock, small cyclists.

Wuling from the West

At about 50km lies the rest stop KunYang (昆陽). It also marks the west entrance into Taroko National Park.

Wuling from the West

Taroko National Park entrance mark.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

The final stretch to Wuling. The thin line that cuts through the green mountain side all the way to the right is the road.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Don’t be fooled by the seemly gentle-slope road at far end. It’s actually pretty steep all the way.

Wuling from the West

The left is the trail entrance for the local highest peak, Mt. Hohuen (3409m).

Wuling from the West

With a few more strokes we arrive at the finish point, Wuling.

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

Wuling from the West

You might wonder what are those cyclists at the roadside doing? No they are not walking the bike, but they are waiting in line to take photos with the Wuling Mark.

Wuling from the West

Mt. Hohuen’s south peak.

Wuling from the West

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