distance: 3.15km – there’s the option of making it longer in a couple of places though.
time: 2 hours (not including time spent at the coffee shop) – going at a pretty slow pace.
difficulty: 2.5/10 – it’s really easy as long as you can do steps, just a few places are patchy
water: 0.5L should be enough
shade: patchy – I had my umbrella out for this one
mobile network: mostly ok I think
enjoyment: 6.5/10 – a perfectly pleasant stroll through bamboo forests – the two suspension bridges and the coffee shop made it a little more interesting.
orher: you might meet monkeys, if you do just be sensible and don’t wave good around when they’re there. Also there are a fair few mosquitoes around so come armed with your repellent of choice (mine is just full skin coverage).
The entrance to the trail starts just a little uphill from where we parked. It’s actually not the real start, (that’s about another 800m up the road), but there’s s side entrance to the trail.
Steps head down towards the sound of water.
The river flows underneath Lemi bridge, the first of two suspension bridges. A family had found a way to get down to the water and were picnicking on the rocks a little way upstream.
Beyond the bridge the path climbs to a junction, the route on the left is the path coming from the proper staring point.
In one or two places paths have been trodden down the the water so Youtiao was able to have a paddle in one of the shallower sections.
The path is paved or decked the whole way, and shaded by managed bamboo groves. The shade was gratefully welcomed on such a hot day (hitting the 30’s in the city), but it did mean that some areas were rather slippery.
The next turning is a brief diversion up to see a ‘giant’ maple tree. Somehow this felt further than the 170m on the sign. As we neared the not-so-giant maple, a pair of macaques started giving warning barks directed at Youtiao so I backed off with her whilst Teresa inspected the tree. We came back down and continued straight.
The path crosses a farm track used for transporting bamboo and starts to run parallel to the river.
There are several places where you can enjoy a nice view of the water but not really anywhere safe enough to paddle.
At 1.7km in we reached the end of the Mihu trail. This place is the start/end point of the Fushan historic trail (幅山古道), it’s another couple of kilometres up to Fushan village (returning either via the road or the same way). Since it was so hot and Youtiao was getting tired we decided not to go any further so we we crossed the Miyang suspension bridge and headed up the steps on the far side.
The bridge jiggles alarmingly and we had to carry the dog over after she sensibly decided that she didn’t put much faith in floors that move. The view up and down the gorge was enough to take my mind off the heights – the water spilling over and around giant boulders.
After climbing the steps the path joins a farm track. We turned right, walking towards the main road.
The road runs past a couple of farm houses, one with an oversized wind chime and the other with am oversensitive pack of dogs who ran towards us barking – thankfully they were all chained up, but they certainly sound like they’d make good guard dogs.
Once the farm track joins a road, we turned right, then right again uphill where the road goes sharply around a bend. From there, it was just a case of following the same road back to where we parked.
Half way up the road there was a coffee shop which seemed to be doing good business and we decided that since it was a holiday it would be nice to treat ourselves to a coffee. It wasn’t cheap ($200 for a latte, $150 for a cappuccino), but it was really pretty good. Once we’d finished, we hit the road and were back at the car after a couple of hundred metres.
how to get there:
google maps address: 阿里山鄉迷糊步道, 605, Chiayi County, Alishan Township, 台18線 to start near Lemi suspension bridge, or 謎糊步道, 605, Chiayi County, Alishan Township to start at the start
GPS location: we parked up at N23 28.281 E120 42.844, alternatively, the location of the true trailhead is at N23 28.651 E120 43.049
public transport: buses run from Chiayi City, the number 7322 towards Alishan departs from near Chiayi Train Station and the trail is about a 6 minute walk from Hudi stop – I tried to find details online but failed, (the English language website gives a link which connects to a Chinese webpage for details of the timetable).
My new words learnt on this hike were:
- 迷糊 / míhú / careless(?) confused(?) – I heard it explained both ways, still need to work this one out I think.
- 洗腦 / xǐnǎo / brainwash/brainwashing – we saw another one of the many 南無阿彌陀佛 signs that are all over Taiwan (阿彌陀佛 or Amitabha is one of names used to call one of the Buddhas), and Teresa accused them of braiwashing people.
- 倒掉 / dàodiào / drain or pour away, from what I can understand it seems like this is one of those times when Chinese has one word for two english words.
- 搶銀行 / qiǎng yínháng / rob a bank
- 以身作则 / yǐshēnzuòzé / lead by example – this came up because, after nearly being run off the road by another cerebaly-challenged arse of a driver I went on yet another of my gripes about Taiwanese drivers’ utter inability to follow the rules. Teresa retaliated by introducing this phrase and saying that, since none of the people who make the rules follow them, no one else does either. Although I can see the logic of that, I still this it’s a bullshit excuse – why drive in a way which endangers yourself and everyone else around you?
- 服務區 / fúwù qū / service area