Few days ago, I went to Xinghualin(杏花林) with my flatmate, Xiufen, to look for apricot blossoms. Xinghualin is located at Alley No. 45, Laoquan Li, Muzha (老泉里45巷) , where visitors can get to by taking bus at Maokong station. I aimed at going hiking in Muzha so I didn't take the bus to get there.
My flatmate and I started our hike at Zhinan elementary school (指南國小) that a path next to its front door is the trailhead of Sanxuan Temple Hiking Trail (三玄宮步道), part of the Zhinan Tea Pickers Hiking Trail (指南茶路親山步道) . Its length is about 1 km that leads to Maokong Gondola Sation.
Trailhead of Zhinan Tea Pikcers Hiking Trail
The trail is well-maintained stone-step trail, but the steps are slippery. Along the trail, hikers can see many tea farms.
Near the end of Sanxuan Temple Hiking Trail (三玄宮步道), we could see gondolas busily passing by.
After we arrived at Maokong station, we turned to Zhanghu Hiking Trail (樟湖步道) which is probably 200 meters away form the station. One the way to the trailhead of Zhanghu Hiking Trail, we saw a chicken farm which is pretty colse to Maokong station. It's kind of bizzard, a mix of modern and old-fashion facilities.
The trailhead of Zhanghu Hiking Trail
At the entry of Zhanghu Hiking Trail, there is a old mud-brick house, which is said the last mud-brick house in Taipei City. Unfortunately, this house isn't listed as a relic site and one one manages it so people dump their garbage. It became a storage of trash.
After we went forward and left the noise from vistors for Maokong gondolas, we could see more beautiful tea farms along the trail.
Xiufen noticed the tea worm on a tea tree. It had bright color, which is a strong contrast to the glommy color of the sky. And the tea worm reminded me of a movie that I had seen when I was a kind. The movie is Lubinghua (魯冰花), a story about a talented boy drawing a painting of colorful tea worms and gorgeous tea farms and won first price in interantion art competition; however, he died soon after he won the award. I still remeber I couldn't stop crying when I saw he was dying.
There are many branch trails along Zhanghu Hiking Trail, one of them leads Yinhedong (銀河洞). After we passed the branch road to Yinhedong, we saw a old farmer carrying many bamboo with a Y-shape rack and still in great balance. Very impressive.
The hiking trails in Muzha region form a complicated network. We sometimes turned to wrong branch trails. But the direction mark along trails are clear so that we keep ourself in the network. We finially got to Xinghualin and got to Xinghualin.
I had been to Xinghualin before the hike. It's was with reserping and artimes and my cat. It was a sunny spring day in Feburary and apricot blossoms turned the hill into a pink and white flower garden. However, we could only see very few blossom in this revisit. I think the blossoms have been delayed because of the cold weather in the past few weeks.
There were a lot of buds though.
Even though we didn't see apricot blossom this time, walking on the hike trail was good though. I think I would return to Xinghualin in the two weeks to enjoy the apricot blossoms.