Xitou camping and an adventurous hike
Driving in Taiwan around huge cities can be difficult. Several times we took the wrong direction, but at the end, we could manage it due to Google Maps and our unlimited data traffic subscription.
Now we are in Xitou. When we arrived, we saw hundreds of buses; people and pupils everywhere. We wondered if there is a bank holiday. We figured out it looks like that each day except weekends. This park is popular for retired people for hiking on paved trails through the beautiful forest. There were so many people that we couldn’t see the sign for camping. No one has any English skills, but with hands and pictures, it worked well. Camping is very cheap; just 100 entrance fee by car and 300 TWD for the campsite. The downside the facilities could look better. Anyhow, it's beautifully located with lots of space. In the evening came an employee to us. She had the best translation app and explained we could use the showers and toilets inside the administration building from 7 am to 9 pm. That was helpful for us.
The next day we got up early. We enjoyed breakfast with our Sharon fruits at our tent while several elderly serious hikers passed by. We decided we have to follow them. The Bamboo Park yesterday was nice, but we couldn't get to the mountains in the back. Give it a try. It was an adventure, a wild nature trail to the top of a mountain ridge from 1100 m elevation to 1810 m. It was always steep and slippery on a narrow path. When we reached the plateau, a spectacular view of the mountains awaited us. The retired people had their lunch. Of course, we not but we made a break, and we got asked questions in Chinese by one of the hikers. Another one translated for him. They wanted to know where are we from and how do we know this trail and even more. Later on, we met a 71-year-old hiker speaking fluently English with us. That was an interesting conversation about the Taiwanese work life and the few holiday they earn over the years. They have maximum 2 weeks a year after 10 years of working for the same company. At the end, we all took pictures from the three of us. It was an incredible hike with a duration of four hours and about 12-14 km long. We ended up in the bamboo park and still had to hike back from here about 7 km. We were starving and we bought the first we could get; bamboo rice.
Like the day before the park was full of retired people hiking with one or two hiking poles, some slowly and some on their way back backwards due to their knee issues but they all love to hike.