29-Dec-2015 -- This is the first out of two reports on confluence visits during a bicycle trip around the island of Taiwan.
At noon on Sunday December 27th my plane landed at Taipei airport. In the afternoon, I rented a bicycle. Renting a bicycle in Taiwan is very easy and can be done in bicycle shops of most towns. On Monday morning December 28th I started my cycling trip around the island in anti-clockwise direction. On the afternoon of the second day, Tuesday December 29th, I reached the town Puli (埔里) which is definitively the starting point of any attempt for this confluence point. Interestingly, this town is regarded as The Geographic Center of Taiwan (台灣地理中心). Right in the town, monuments have been erected for tourists. There is another Geographic Center at the nearby Tiger Head Mountain (虎頭山). However, when I look at the position of these Geographic Centers, I don’t have the feeling that one of them represents the actual center of gravity. My impression is that the center of gravity should be about 20-30 km further south. Maybe other islands that belong to Taiwan have also been added in the calculation (but these Islands are rather small). Or the reason is in the distortion of the map projection.
It was already 3 PM when I reached Puli. In winter time, nightfall would come at 5 PM, leaving just 2 hours to reach the confluence. Nevertheless I gave it a go. The road distance is 10 km: the first leg of 5 km is easy along the main road. The second leg however consists of a 5 km climb along a very steep road to a mountain temple called Lingxiaodian (凌霄殿) which means Heaven Palace Ling. The height difference to Puli is more than 600 m and the road is so steep that I had difficulties cycling it upwards.
I call this point a “lucky point”, because it is so easy to reach although it is located in rugged mountain terrain with dense vegetation. But the little road comes as close at 236 m to the confluence. Moreover, there is a footpath that leads up to a distance to 30 m. And these 30 m can be easily covered, because the terrain at this location is extraordinary flat and less densely overgrown. This is actually a perfect point to bring the whole family.
Equipped with a smartphone, online-map and GPS I had no trouble finding the right road, path and confluence. At 4:20 PM I had reached the confluence point – with enough time before dusk. However, due to the coming thunderstorm and due to the dense vegetation at the confluence, it was already too dark to obtain high quality images. The confluence is in a bamboo forest mixed with huge fern trees. Just 100 m to the confluence, there is a view into the valley.
The way back was extraordinary quick. When I reached the main road, I burned my fingers at the rim of my wheel. The strong use of my shoe-type breaks had heated it up while coasting down. I stayed the night in Puli and continued my loop around the island the next morning.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to the road: 236 m
- Distance to a footpath: 31 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 236 m
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 8 min
- Time at the CP: 4:20 PM
- Measured height: 1095 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1 m
- Position accuracy: 4 m
- Topography: located in steep mountain terrain
- Vegetation: huge bamboo and fern trees
- Weather: overcast, coming thunderstorm 20° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Center of Taiwan Confluence
The story continues at 23°N 121°E.