Trekking through tea fields in the winter (morning) 茶園冬遊 （上午）
The other weekend was one of the coldest weekend in Taiwan, yet my friend suggested we go hiking on Saturday. He said he would come to pick me up at 7am, so early!! By 8.45am, that’s when my alarm usually goes off, we had arrived at our destination. The temperature was only 2 degrees 😰.
We parked at Xitou, this area is very popular with locals in the summer as it’s nice and cool. Xitou is around 1150 ASL and our destination Zhang Kung Lun mountain is 1520 ASL, so we have to ascend nearly 400 meters today. From the car park, we needed to go through Kua Huo Forest which literally translates to Living Happily forest, not a bad way to start a day. There weren’t any signposts around but luckily some hikers had written the direction on the ground.
我們行山的起點在溪頭，一個蠻熱門的旅遊點，在夏天來過，很清爽和舒服，但那天是冬天啊! 溪頭在海拔1150米高，而我們的終點樟空崙山有1520多米高，這天會攀升差不多400多米。 從停車場出發我們要先經過快活林。附近沒有路標，但有行山人士在路上畫上指示， 我們就跟著指示進入森林 。
This hike is along concrete paths making is a very pleasant walk. There were plenty of greenery on both sides of the path, a little stream flowing down from the top of the mountain, and these plantations which look like yam leaves. It reminded me of the rainforest from my Machu Picchu trek in Peru.
About an hour later, we came out from the forest and the layers of mountain opened up in front of us. The contrast between the two worlds was very distinctive.
As we continued up, we passed by a lot of tea fields. Taiwan tea is very famous, particularly green tea. No matter where you go, you can see lots of people drinking tea, and that applies even when you are hiking. On mid way, there was a store which had a terrace overlooking some tea fields and a magnificent range of mountains. It was only 10.30, and some hikers had already stopped here for a break and were making their tea. The gorgeous open view ahead of us was a great way to recharge batteries before continuing with the hike.
We passed by more tea fields on the way up. The higher up the mountain, the better the tea quality is, because there is less pollution and the air quality is much better.
Finally, we reach our lunch destination ~ Ginko Forest, a fancy name the tea farmers have given their plantation. Next time I’ll tell you what’s so special about the Ginko Forest.