Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Traveling with M13: Finding Toad Valley

(click on photos to enlarge)

There is a video blogger living in Taiwan that posts videos through the visor of his helmet while riding his motorcycle through Taiwan. I started watching some of his videos before I left the US. I watched them because they give you a real feel for what it’s like in the city and in the mountains of Taiwan. I have to tell you that the commentary is occasionally shocking, and his language is a little course, but he’s an interesting character. Recently he did a video that featured a small campground and swimming place. This is up in the mountains above Taoyuan City, about 40 minutes from my home.

I saw the video and thought it would make an interesting day trip for us. We want the girls to see some of Taiwan while we’re here so we have set aside one day a week, to do something with them outside of the house. One week we decided to see if we could find this swimming place.

I wrote M13 an email. Since I’ve been here I’ve written to him a number of times and he has responded and told me how to find places. He also told me how to find the go-kart track. The problem is that his directions are accurate but sparse. Here is the text of his response:

Your the guy with the modified scooter, right?

If you look at a map there is the number 7 cross island highway.....there is a road that connects to it called the 7 (symbol) it's a 7 with a symbol next to it....I think the symbol reads as "Ja". Anyway....that's the road that I'm originally heading up. Then I cut over to the road that's on the OTHER side of the river that the 7ja follows. Got it?

Yeah, I got it…sort of. The symbol is a Chinese character like this 乙. It looks like the the character 之. This character is zhe (juh.) The meaning of the word in English is “this.” The actual character on the sign is yi (eee), which means the second, as in the second highway 7. I want you to know you may need to decode his directions but when I got out there I could see exactly what he meant.

We actually found the place by looking for landmarks we saw on the video. And we did find it.The place is called Toad Valley. We got out of the car, the girls went swimming and we decided we need to come back during the summer to swim and barbeque. The whole thing was a neat little adventure. Taiwan, as you can see from the pictures is a beautiful place. Don’t be fooled by the lack of crowds. We went on a Tuesday, during the spring. There aren’t too many people who will miss school or work for a trip like that. I’ll take pictures when we go with friends and you’ll see the difference.

Left: The Rock says Toad Valley: camping and Picnics Right: The river valley from the road.

Left: This is one of three natural pools. Right: The river feeds into the first pool.

Left: The water is deep enough to swim. Right: Elizabeth exploring near the bridge.

Left: Wildflowers on the path. Right: A tree with a leafy parasite growing on the trunk.

*Mordeth13 image used with permission

Other posts you may be interested in:

Traveling With M13:  The Sequel:  Return to Toad Valley
Traveling With M13:  Custom Scooters of Taiwan

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