During my 8-day vacation in Taiwan, I booked a 2D1N trip to the Wu Ling Farm (武陵农场).
Upon reaching the Hoya resort, a trip to see the Tao Shan Waterfall (桃山瀑布) was highly recommended. I decided to sign up for it, thinking that I will be with a group. I was told that it is a 4-hour hike up and down the mountain. As it turned out, nobody wanted to go. Since I only had a day there, I thought I better go, even without companions.
When Mr Zhang the driver came to pick me up, he was surprised that I, a single lady, was going to hike up to the waterfall alone. I noticed his dubious expression but decided to ignore it.
There was a hitch-hiker in the van, a Mr Lim. When he heard I was going alone, he sounded dubious too, repeating “you are going alone?” thrice, promptly making me nervous. I did think about changing my mind, but I already paid for the trip. Besides, what am I going to do at the resort if I don’t go exploring.
The hitchhiker Mr Lim got off at the Visitor Centre and Mr Zhang and I continue on our “merry” way.
Since it was only me, Mr Zhang took his time pointing out the apple and peach trees to me. He also taught me how to tell a cherry blossom from a plum tree.
Beautiful blossoms right?
Finally, we reached the foot of the mountain. He told me to take it slow and assured me that he will wait for me to come back. My initial thought was: What! Wait a whole 4 hours for me?! From hindsight, I think he believed that I will give up halfway and turn back.
I got off to a good start. But when I reached the 1.5km mark, I was panting really hard. I forgot that the farm was about 1000 feet above sea level. I definitely overestimated my athletic ability. I plodded on even though I was having second thoughts when I heard the rumble of a scooter behind me. I moved to the edge of the road to let the vehicle pass when it stopped next to me.
I looked up and saw Mr Lim (the hitchhiker) smiling at me and motioning for me to hop on with his hand. “I’ll bring you up to the waterfall” he said. “It will be faster.”
I looked at him and then at the scooter (I have never ridden a motor bike before in my life!). Before my mind could scream at me, I found myself climbing up the scooter.
And away we went, up the winding mountain road. And we chit-chat all the way up.
I found out that he is part of the cleaning crew looking after the mountain. He was worried about me and decided to make his cleaning round earlier to try to catch me on my way up and give me a lift. Godsend indeed!
I reached the waterfall in record time. I stood beside it, breathing in the fresh air and negative ions generated by the crashing water, and listening to the music of the waterfall.