The Pingxi Line is a 12.9km long old mining railway that runs through the Pingxi District, from Ruifang to Jingtong, stopping at various old mining towns along the way. Though the old railway is no longer used to transport coal, it has been kept open, predominantly for tourism. There are many fun and interesting things to see and do in the various towns that line the railway, namely the long standing tradition of lantern lighting and releasing while making a wish! So we hopped on to the train in Ruifang (after taking the train there from Taipei) and began exploring the line, starting with the town of Shifen.
Miles walked: 8
Miles transported: ~45
Shifen is famous for The Shifen Waterfall, which is “the broadest waterfall in Taiwan”. The fall was indeed nice, but at this point in our travels, we’d been spoiled with some incredible and ridiculous waterfalls and we were sort of just “eh” about this one. Also, it was raining, so we (…I…) were slightly cranky:
Super cool bridge on the right, train track on the left:
This town marks the end of the line! And what a cool little town it was. Although we almost left Samsonite on the train…
We rescued him. Don’t worry, he didn’t suffer any major physical damage (maybe some emotional though), he just got a little bit dirty:
After Samsonite’s bath and a delicious lunch, we walked around the town for a bit:
And Samsonite found himself a little mining cart from which to you wish all a Merry Christmas from! So sweet, but if he gets himself dirty again, so help me…
Waiting for the train… ON the train tracks. I know, I know… SUCH risk takers:
We read about The Pingxi Crags (on the Xiaozi Shan Hiking Trail) online and thought “WE HAVE TO GO THERE”. Sadly, it is highly recommended to NOT hike them in the rain as it is “very very dangerous” (the guy used two ‘verys’, so he must mean business). But being the daring (and perhaps slightly foolish) souls that we are, we decided to just start the hike and see if we could gauge the sketchiness level ourselves. When we got there, TONS of people (locals!) were doing the hike, so up we went too. Beginning the ascent up the first Crag (the most thrilling of all the crags) – Xiaozi Mountain:
A regular Tom Cruise:
Yup. That’s where we’re going!
If you’re wondering what the look of pure terror looks like, well, here you go:
Some Buddhas lining the top, praying for your safety (I hope). We would share some pics taken from the top, but we were in a heavy fog, so everything just looks white…
Making our way down:
Yup. That’s what we just did. No big deal.
Now, time for the second Crag – Cimu Mountain:
As you’ve probably noticed, most of the pictures are of me, as I was significantly less confident doing all this one-handed than the monkey I’m married to, but don’t worry… Francy’s turn to shine will come soon:
And finally, the third Crag – Putuo Mountain. Up we go:
Where these two made a friend at the top:
And now, as promised, a series of ridiculous photos of the one and only Francois Maritz:
Made it back to Pingxi just in time for some lantern lighting at dusk! But first, we created our own personalized lantern:
This “Earth” was Francy’s contribution to the lantern. He claims he was going for Pangaea. Suuuuure.
With our lantern in tow, we made our way to the train track, along with the multitude of other wish-makers. But first, we must wait for a train to pass:
And then it was time! Candle is lit and the lantern is ready to go!
There she goes!
Up, up and away!
Our wishes (which we forgot to make) joining dozens of others in the sky:
Samsonite forgot to make a wish too. That is one bummed turtle (just kidding, he’s super happy, as always… can’t you tell?):