Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mihu Trail near Alishan

The Alishan area has an abundance of short but exceptionally pleasant hiking paths. One I hadn't tackled until recently – but which I'll be adding to the guidebook next time around – is the 2.3km-long Mihu Trail (迷糊步道), not far from the indigenous village of Dabang (達邦) and the Hakka hamlet of Dinghu (頂湖).
Most tourists arrive by car or motorcycle, and park at km66.4 on Highway 18. There are toilets here, but none along the path. The trail follows the Miyang Creek as it plunges toward the Zengwen River (曾文溪), but for the most part you hear rather than see the waters. The path is is well designed and well maintained. The concrete steps have been textured to resemble timber; there are wooden railings where necessary, as well as thatched pavilions where visitors can rest in the shade. In fact, thanks to the trees and bamboo, hikers are seldom exposed to direct sunlight. It's really worthwhile scanning the forest, and not only for the numerous birds that can be spotted. We saw lizards, and this bug, which reminded me of a moose...
Just be careful of the 'biting cat' nettles! At the end of the trail, you have three options. Like most people, we climbed back up to the car park at km66.4. If we'd had more time, and someone to pick us up there, we would've continued along the 1.88km-long Fushan Historic Trail (福山古道) to the village it's named after, and then to km68.6 on Highway 18. Alternatively, one could tramp along Road 169 to Dabang, from where a few buses each day head to Chiayi City. That would be time consuming, but very scenic.

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