Roads not traveled

When the wife and I go up in the mountains we often pass through a place called Neiwan. It’s a kind of vacationers paradise with a lively food market, several go cart tracks and a number of hot spring resorts within a short distance. Basically city dwellers can go there to enjoy the mountains without having to forfeit modern amenities.

Every time we drive through the area I see roads that look very inviting but for some reason or other we’ve never really driven on them. Recently however, I’ve been determined to see where they lead and yesterday became the day to do it. Despite an overcast sky and risk for rain we took the motorbike because that’s the only real way to travel these mountain roads.

The first one is a side road branching off from the main road to Neiwan and we followed it up a rather steep incline them slowly downwards again until we arrived at Neiwan, only from a different direction than normal. Not fantastically interesting. So we headed passed Neiwan towards the hot spring resorts deeper in the mountains, then turned off the main road a second time.

This road zigzaged upwards, getting steeper and steeper the further we went, and the quality of the road surface becoming worse the higher we got. Eventually we found ourselves climbing a narrow strip of rutted and broken cement, so steep I had to keep the bike in first gear and gun the engine to keep from sliding backwards. Needless to say it was a bit nervous but we kept pressing on cause we wanted to see where the road would lead.

After a while the road flattened out in front of an empty, desolate building, so I pulled over and killed the engine; we had reached the end of the road.

The building had clearly been abandoned and I was glad to explore it, to my surprise, my wife joined too. It turned out to be an old restaurant or cafe; I guess it must have gone out of business due to being so remote, then been abandoned by the owners.

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I can understand why someone might want to open a restaurant up there because the view was absolutely breathtaking, but to make the place commercially viable you’d have to invest a lot in improving the road.

Heading down, quite gingerly I might add, we realized there was plenty of time left, so we decided to walk the Frog Rock Trail, which we saw about a year ago before it was finished. It was a short hike down to a roaring waterfall, and after a little bit of climbing outside the trail we also got down to the calmer water below.

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I’ve already seen plenty of waterfalls in the Hsinchu mountains but I still find them worth visiting, especially when you can climb around a bit on your own. Overall a great day.

2 Comments

  1. When I see abandoned places, I’m always curious about the things that were left behind. Larger objects, I understand but in your pictures there are stuffed toys and blankets and such and I can’t help but wonder…why leave those? Why do certain things get left behind and not others? I also get curious, especially with more recently abandoned places, why they didn’t sell the things that they weren’t taking with them… So many questions and so few answers. 🙂

    1. Most of the abandoned places I visit are pretty much empty but every once in a while I find a place like this with lots of stuff lying around. I always get a different feeling from a building depending on stuff like that.

      I think one reason people leave even small things behind is because I’d like to too much trouble to bring it.

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