Train to 斗六, then find a way to 東埔 (dong pu). Bus? Train? Naaa, let’s hitchhike to 東埔. It was almost dark by the time we reached 斗六, so we must travel away from the train station and head to the main road if we want to hitchhike. I’ve NEVER hitchhiked in the dark. Every hitchhiking trip, there’s always a fear before the first ride. I’m uncertain if it’s a feeling of embarrassment or afraid of failing. It’s smooth sailing after that. You meet interesting characters along the trip — some wants you to find a place before it gets dark, dog food saleswoman, papaya truck drivers, etc…. Everyone is nice but also the majority of the Taiwanese thinks that Pin Chun and I are idiots. They’ll often tell us that it is “impossible” to reach 東埔. We are determined individuals and someone we know that it is “possible.” We even soaked in hot springs when we got there! Here we go.
CAR 1: Father and daughter – They were listening to English radio station. And of course, the dad wanted her daughter to master the English language while living in Taiwan.
CAR 2: Crazy lady – She picked us up and insists that we need a find a shelter ASAP. She insists that we should stay at a temple off the main road. She took a detour and we were actually in front of the temple. We just refused to go inside. After a few minutes, she took us back to the main road. She probably thinks that Pin Chun and I were CRAZY.
CAR 3: Papaya truck to 林內 – One of my favorite ride during this trip. Once again, blue truck is my friend! Pin Chun would agree with me. We love sitting at the back of a blue truck!
CAR 4: 帥哥 and family – Took us to McDonalds drive thru and treated us to ice cream cone! He had some sort of coupons. Awesome.
CAR 5: Dog food lady – took us to 水里. She said it’s her first time picking up backpackers off the street. She was very talkative. We actually saw another hitchhiker! That’s her below.
CAR 6: Just a normal van that dropped us off at 7-11 on highway 21.
CAR 7: Another blue truck whom took us to the 東埔 intersection.
CAR 8: A very nice aboriginal who took us to the 東埔 church.
We spend the night sleeping in the conference room
TOTAL trip: Around 6 hours and 8 different cars!
April 19, Saturday. The hike to rainbow waterfall 彩虹瀑布 was nice but the waterfall is probably one of the ugliest in Taiwan. Countless water pipes scattered along the trail all the way to the fall, where the “source” is located. Apparently in a small town there are no regulations on how the pipes are placed.
Luckily, we’ve waited for Serene and Rexy. The entrance to 樂樂谷 is confusing, complicated, and there is probably no way to contact them if we did enter inside separately.
There was a sign to the hot spring last time I strolled by, but the sign was taken down this time. In addition, the sign states that there is no hot spring at the “split” and the trial is not passable. I thought about it for a minute, I figured that I don’t believe that the path is not passable since I sees a clean path of the right, I decide to lead the group and go forward. It’s the risk that I’m willing to take. The path is slippery and steep, due to the fact that leaves are scattered along the trail. Serene and Pin Chun slipped multiple times and I don’t even know how Rexy did this whole trail by flip flops. The leader has to navigate and it definitely stresses me out and took a lot of energy from me. It seems that the destination is unreachable. There seems to be no end in sight. When we reached the river, we have to cross it 7x to reach the destination.
LOOK! there’s steam!
It’s 6pm, it’s getting dark, it’s time to set up camp even if we can’t find it. As I was crossing the river to check out a potential spring, Pin Chun hiked upstream.. She said “steam!” We quickly grab our bags and head up, set up camp right across the hot spring.
Here’s what we saw after we were done with dinner — fireflies were prevalent, countless stars, and we even heard a deer(s) strolling around our tent. The moon was extremely bright when I went out to pee in the middle of the night.
Was this trip worth it? Most definitely. Was it hard to get to? For sure. For the next 24 hours, I kept on telling people. “You won’t believe where I just went to.”