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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Back Roads: Hualong Lane


Of all the small roads in central Taiwan, the Hualong Lane (華龍巷) in Nantou is one of the strangest strips of road I may never ride again.


The ride starts off well enough on a forested climb off the Nantou Route 131 from Shuili. The Route 64 is a super little route to traverse the hills near Sun Moon Lake to Shuili. Just near the peak of the climb is a small lane that disappears into the wilds, but shows a connection to the marvelous alternate to the Highway 14 in the Nantou Route 68.


Some workmen we met at the base of the first descent gave us some advice to take the high road on the left rather than the obvious choice on the right. We decided to heed local knowledge and make the climb.


It turned into some serious ramps in the open sunshine  past tree farms of dubious distinction. Things seemed okay, but then the views started.

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The top revealed a dirty section of road, but a full 360 degree vantage point to appreciate the entire Puli basin and its surrounding peaks. We found we were on the ridge that runs parallel high above the Nan tou Route 147. Everything was in sight. It was such a rare vantage point that we stayed to soak it in.


We briefly interrupted the singing of a group of Atayal ginger pickers who seemed delighted to break up the morning by exchanging jokes with us.

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The fun ended at a dusty descent that led us speeding off the mountain and into the high-walled courtyard of a farming compound...with its high gate sealed shut and full of barking dogs.

I really didn't want to hike back up that hill, so I bothered the owner to open the gate and let us out. I still have no idea if there could have been an alternate route outside of private property.
The road emptied us out along the Route 68 near the old tree (You'll know it when you see it) and we decided to call it a day for our little adventure.


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