Pingxi Rail Line
March 13, 2015
I was back up again for another long day. Who knew it was going to be the longest day of them all! We were back on the train going to Ruifang Station again. Only this time we were transferring onto the Pingxi Rail Line. This line is a tourist line that was created to reach old mining towns and historical sites. I purchased our tickets and then we got onto a very packed train.
I had done some reading ahead of time and learned about a hiking trail that contains three waterfalls, and then at the end of the hike you have to walk a bit further to Shifen Waterfall. I never looked up how many miles the hike actually was; that would have been important for what happened later.
We got off at the Sandiaoling Station, and were the only ones to do so. Maybe that should have been the first sign that this path was not that popular. Ignoring the strange feeling I had I directed us towards the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail. This was my first hike “hike” in Taiwan. There were a few stairs, but several paths, hills, and rocks to walk over. Because it had been raining so much the past few days the paths were muddy and full of puddles. I was leading the way so if there were any chances of slipping and falling would happen to me first. I ended up with some dirty shoes by the end of the hike, but I was okay with that.
The first waterfall we came to was Hegu Falls, followed by Motian Falls, and Pipa Dong Falls. All three were beautiful! At each waterfall we took a break and just relaxed. At the last waterfall my sister and I look off our socks and shoes and tried to get as close to the waterfall without getting showered upon. My phone didn’t have service for much of the trip so it was a great time to just look around and hike without any distractions. We did see a few people on the trail, but a majority of the time it was just us.
We saw all three waterfalls and walked to the end of the path; this is where the fun “lost” time began. Thinking that there were going to be clear signs to Shifen Waterfall and not finding any I realized I better check my phone. Luckily, my phone’s service was back on so I was able to check and see where we were. I googled how to get to Shifen and we started walking again. (Google said an hour to walk there. I felt so bad I didn’t tell my dad and sister that.) We walked to a dead end. Two Taiwanese men were pointing us back in the direction we had just come from. Neither men offered to give us a ride, but they were very adamant about pointing us in the direction of some random path through the trees. Not really having a choice we started walking that way. Eventually, we entered a very small town with only about ten buildings. We were walking down the correct road when a van stopped us. The van driver was speaking to me in Chinese and I was not understanding any of it. I translated what we wanted on my phone and he signaled for us to get in. We did and he took us to Shifen Waterfall Park. We gratefully thanked him and I tried to pay him money, but he wouldn’t take any. It was a blessing that he picked us up when he did.
At the park we stopped and rested our feet after almost a 4 hour walk/hike. Then we went and explored around Shifen Waterfall. What a beautiful waterfall! When you get to a certain part of the waterfall you can see reflections and displays of rainbows in the falls. It was the perfect end to the waterfall hike we had taken that day.
We walked out of the park and took a cab into Shifen. In Shifen, we walked through the crowd of people painting lanterns to the station to wait for a train to take us to Pingxi. After awhile I suggested we just stay here to eat snacks and paint a lantern. Together all three of us painted a paper lantern, took pictures, and then let it go into the air. We watched our lantern until it was out of sight. It was cool to be able to do that as a family and send our well wishes into the sky.
We then walked around eating snacks and vendor food until we reached the station again. This time we got onto the packed train that would take us back to Ruifang. It felt like the longest train ever after the long day we had just had. Back in Ruifang we got on another train that would take us back to Taipei. At least on this train we could sit.
Back in Taipei I indulged my family in Mos Burger. I am completely kidding on the indulged part. Mos Burger is like the McDonald’s of Taiwan. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. I don’t know why they wanted to try it, but I took them there anyways.
We all were very happy to eventually be back in our hotel, showered, and in our beds. It had been a long, but good, day indeed.