Taiwan east part has very beautiful view and this time we decided to hike Stegosaurus Ridge located at Ruifang, New Taipei City. Our meeting point was Taipei Main Station (TMS) exit M1 to take 8.20am 1811 bus to 禮樂煉錭廠 but then one of our members got lost inside TMS maze and so we delayed our departure until the next bus at 9.20am. For this bus, passengers need to first go to Guoguang Bus counter to have the seat arrangement, otherwise you will be on the waiting list. The journey took around 1 hour and when we got off from the bus at around 10.30, the beautiful view of blue sea, blue sky and green grass welcomed us.
The next step was to find the entrance to the hiking path. Based on our leader research, the entrance was behind a big rock at 80.2 KM and we started to walk the trail. At one point we stopped because of the landslide and when we were confused to move forward or return, an officer from the opposite direction blew his whistle and asked us to go away because the trail was forbidden.
We were still trying to do the hike and we walked to 79.6 KM to find another alternative entrance where our adventure began. The hiking trail was harsh, with tall grass at each side sometimes I needed to use both hands to open the way to walk. My friend said walking with tall grass on both sides, I couldn’t be seen and it was like the grass could cover me entirely. Not even one of reference boards could we find during our hike so sometimes when it came to a junction, we stopped and thought for a while. The trail was not entirely going upwards, sometimes it was in downward direction and when the grass height was only half of our body, we were afraid of being caught again by the officer so we walked by squatting, the feeling like we were in a war and hid from the enemy.
After 3 hours of hiking, we finally approached the main hiking trail at around 1 pm as we saw the first check point in a form of an abandoned house. We rested for a while and because we saw someone down there walked rapidly towards us, we thought he was another officer and we quickly left the house. We slowly hiked upward to reach the tail of the Stegosaurus Ridge which already could be seen from the resting point. Somewhere in the middle of our hike, we met a group of other hikers from opposite direction and we asked them how long it took to reach the top of Stegosaurus Ridge, and their answer was surprising. At least 3 hours was needed to reach the top. They also reminded us it was extremely hot up there and physical condition of every member must be perfect in order to complete the hike to the top. Hearing this information, we decided not to continue the hike because our water, snacks were almost consumed up. Together with them, we returned by walking the main hiking trail. What shocked us the most was, the first hiking trail where we got caught by the officer was apparently the correct trail and the time needed from the check point (abandoned house) to the 80.2 KM entrance was only about 40 minutes. So sad we spent 3 hours to substitute 40 minutes and of course because we only could saw the tail of Stegosaurus Ridge, not able to reach it.
Finally we took 791 bus to Keelung Train Station and transferred to train to Taipei. We ate dinner (beef lasagna) and desert (milk caramel+green tea ice cream) before heading back to Taoyuan.