Quiet beauty and enjoyment
along the 'Taichung 46'
Words by Michael Turton
Translated by Angela Cheng
Most people leaving the small Taichung district seat of Dongshi and heading east are climbing either to Guguan or Daxueshan, two popular mountain destinations. Yet, the hills to the north, south and east of Dongshi offer a countless pleasant weekend experiences for hiking and riding bikes--farms, little villages, steep climbs, stunning views, and quiet getaways from the hurly-burly of the big city.
One of these little marvels is the "Taichung 46". This bucolic loop leaves Highway 8 a few kilometers south of Dongshi, just before the first bridge and the gas station. A temple gate frames the road, locally known as the ZhongPi Industry Road, until a few kilometers in when it runs into QingFu Road, or Taichung Rt. 46.
Left: Great views over the Taichung plain and farming area itself are available.
Right: A view to the northeast towards the ridges in
Veer to the right where it splits and follow it up for 10 kilometers or so as it rises from about 400 meters to nearly 1,000. It slashes up through fruit farms that line a vast, steep basin with excellent views back to the north, looking over the Xinshe plateau and down into the basin itself. At the top is a stand of pines; once you cross the ridge, you can look back to the west over the town of Dongshi and the intervening farms.
It's lovely and, even better, there's unlikely to be anything on the road except farmers and fallen leaves. The descent back to the Rt. 8 Highway can be dangerous if the road is damp, but it is quite enjoyable. For a twist, turn onto XiaKeng Lane, a tiny farm lane that's marked on the maps as a major road. It's steep and the surface is awful, a bone-rattling descent back to DongKeng Road north of Dongshi.
The Taichung Tourist Bureau has invested large sums into turning the area around the Taichung 46 into a tourism zone. Wooden railings and signs are like little signals of hope. Alas, the tourist droves have gone elsewhere, but there's a pleasant B&B here, the Bright Moon (http://www.brightmoon.com.tw/yellowpage/index.html). Turn left at the intersection with QingFu Road and there's plenty of quietly enjoyable hiking and biking to be had.
Left: Farms and wooden fences greet you along
Right: As it rises, the road quality drops, although the experience quality increases.