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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Alishan A-Go Go! Are You Coming?

The weather looks good. My health is good. My legs are good.... And I am chompin' at the bit to have a little more adventure during these mild autumn months.

I had been planning a single day-ride to Kenting, but the call of the mountains has been too great. I just feel like climbing.

Therefore Michael at The View From Taiwan, and myself, would like to host a two day trip over the spectacular and fabled Alishan.

Alishan gets its name from the word "Kalee", a term plains people once used to describe the people who live in the high mountains, mainly the Tsouic groups, but also some Bunun groups as well.

During the period of Japanese colonization, Alishan has the focus of the forestry and logging industries. This allowed the town of Chia-yi to greatly expand as the center for saw mills and paper. Interestingly, the massive torii at the entrance to the Meiji Shrine in Japan, were originally logged from Alishan. The Japanese also built recreational hot springs in some of Alishan's most picturesque spots, complete with sakura at certain times of the year.

There is, or has been periodically, an old steam train that runs up and down the old narrow gauge rails.


We plan to leave Taichung early on Saturday morning on the Highway 3 to Zhushan. From Zhushan we will slowly climb up the 149甲 and stay the night at the reservoir.

The Next day we will take the 149 to the peak of Alishan and hop on down along the less trafficked 159甲. From the base of the mountain you could either catch a train home or ride back. Michael and I plan to ride.

Although the weather is expected to be clear and dry, the temps on the mountain will probably drop below 10 degrees C.

It should be a blast and I hope we can get some readers to join us for a little adventure. This is not going to be super difficult, but it will be some climbing. This is not a race, but a friendly ride where nobody gets dropped. If you are interested, please contact me through my contact info on the sidebar.

Bike route 769130 - powered by Bikemap


More on Alishan:

My favorite Alishan story involves my old friend Sam, who met his wife on Alishan while they were students at the Taipei First School. Half way up the mountain the train broke down and the conductor ordered all the luggage removed. The boys were asked to hike all the luggage back down the mountain. Sam decided to show off for the girls and immediately went for the largest suitcase in the pile. It happened to belong to Grace, a sassy little toothpick of a woman with a will of iron, who was absolutely not impressed. They remained in touch and later dated and married before spending their lives living and working in the United States as leaders in exile of the movement for Taiwanese democracy and independence. They are both heroes in my book.


  1. Wait ... that Sam -- does he work in the medical profession? And was a character in a less famous account of a famous massacre?

  2. Looks like a sweet route! Have a good time and come back with plenty of pictures!