A female expat blogger posts on how wonderful (Western) women have it in Taiwan compared to some other places laorencha.blogspot.com/2011/08/on-travel
Compass Magazine. Sometimes the brown-nosing editors, who are so adept at making silk purses out of sows' ears, will include a truly useful article on things to do in the T'aichung (Táizhōng) 台中 area, such as this one www.taiwanfun.com/central/taichung/artic
The Nanliao Chuk'eng Old Path consists of four short trails (a main trail, plus an A, B and C - I walked them all today with the exception of the short B spur) which form a loop that takes a couple of hours to complete at an easy gait. The path here is hardly a "hike", but it does make for a nice stroll, and if the weather is good (like it was this afternoon), the views out to sea aren't bad. I started at the Nanliao Village end, where the route first makes its way past a cemetery:
Though it's right in the middle of Ghost Month 中元節, things were pretty dead here (rim shot), so I kept moving along on the main path. Down in the ravine to my left was Trail C, which I used on the return leg of my walk. This picture was taken looking down on a rest area by an old well (dating from 1746), which can't be seen in the upper-left corner:
Continuing down (and past a mountain that supposedly resembled a carp, though I missed the association at the time, and thus didn't take a good picture of it. Next time, I promise), the views out to sea were pretty good. If you don't mind the occasional power station, that is:
Trail A branches off from the main route, and leads to a lookout point. Here's another view of the power station, this time with the No. 3 Freeway 國道三號 in the foreground:
I also took a panoramic video of the view:
This is about as pretty as it gets on the heavily built-up, industrialized west coast of Taiwan, folks.
The main trail ends at a parking lot in Chuk'eng, right under the freeway:
It had taken me almost an hour to reach the end, though I did take my time, took a lot of pictures, and stopped to use my binoculars. From the parking lot, it was a short walk over to the start of Trail C, located at the bottom of the above-mentioned ravine. The grassland scenery brought to mind images of the American Midwest. For some reason, I also kept thinking of Roy Rogers and Apple Valley:
According to the sign in front, this is a Sacred Fig (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_fig), the same kind of tree the Buddha was sitting under when he had his "A ha!" moment:
Trail C ends in front of a wealthy family's ancestral temple, closed to the public...:
...but just a short walk back to my faithful scooter. A bus was also parked nearby. The very devout (or extremely superstitious) driver had enlisted the divine help of the deities Doraemon ドラえもん and Nobita-kun 野比のび太 in order to keep himself, and his passengers, safe from malevolent demons, such as the one visible in the reflection on the windshield:
The Nanliao Chuk'eng Old Path turned out to be an enjoyable couple of hours of walking. Hardly demanding, yes, but it would probably make for a good outing with the family. If you go on a sunny day such as today, be sure to apply the sunscreen, as there is very little shade along the route. I don't mind being brown, but you know how our Taiwanese relations and associates feel about these things.
Happy trails to you.