Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010.

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album
8th September, 2010

Wufenshan weather station

A friend at the paper asked me a few days ago if we’d been up to the Wufenshan weather station down between Pingxi (平溪) and Ruifang (瑞芳). We hadn’t, so we decided to go, despite the fact that I am ambivalent about the joys of the 106 down to Pingxi. I’m never keen to go, but every time we do, I find that it is a pleasant road, especially during the weeks, when there tends to be a lot less traffic than on the weekends.

Taipei’s municipal cemetery at Fudekeng is a nice way to bypass some city riding

So, anyway, we decided to go, because the views from the weather station are supposed to be quite spectacular. It sits at 740m above sea level at the beginning of the central mountain range where it just begins to rise, and has a clear view over Jilong out toward the Pacific in one direction, and toward layer and layer of mountains disappearing in the distance in the other.

A view from the 106 as we’re getting close to the 74.5km mark where the road splits up to the Wufenshan weather station

We started by going through the Taipei Municipal Cemetery at Fudekeng, because it is a slightly weird place, and because you can bypass a lot of city riding along Jungong Rd (軍功路), and then we took Wenshan Rd (文山路) down to the intersection of 106 and 106B. From there, just follow the 106 until you hit Pingxi and then Shifen (十分), where you can see the Shifen waterfall if you want.

A view from the road up to the weather station

At 10am I had a binary moment. At 10:00am we were 100m above sea level, and at 10:01, we were at 101m. Lots of 1s and 0s there.

Layers and layers of mountains

Down to Shifen, the road is cutting through the landscape at between 100 and 275m, but after Shifen the climb begins. You reach the top of the 106 at the 74.5km mark somewhere around 480m, which is also where you take a left to get up to the weather station at 740m.

Jilong and the Pacific

By the time we reached Shifen it was already closing in on noon, and we were getting a bit tired, so we found a roofed bus stop half the way up the mountain where we could hide from the sun and decided to take a nap. After having slept for an hour, we continued again.

Wufenshan Weather Station

When you reach the road up to the weather station at the 74.5km mark there are signs in Chinese asking you not to go up unless you have official business, but that didn’t seem to be a problem. Not many people there, though, just me and Diane, and up at the station, we met a guy with a camera enjoying the view, and when we turned to go down again, a young couple came up with a picnic bag. The views were indeed great, well worth the trip.

A view back down the road we came

We took our time from the road split and up to the station to enjoy the views, so it was a bit late by the time we decided to go down. We decided to continue on to Ruifang instead of following the original plan and go back the same way we came. There are always two dogs back home that need walking, so we cant’ be too late.
After a bite to eat in Ruifang, we could always get a train or a taxi back home. As it turned out, we would have had to wait for over two hours for a train that would allow bikes that were not bagged, so rather than beginning to look around for those big black plastic garbage bags, we just decided to take a taxi back. Lots of them outside the train station, and it only cost us NT$800 from there, so that’s what we did.

Facts: This ride is about 65km and the elevation gain is just over 1200m, so there is a lot of climbing involved, especially after Shifen and up to the weather station.

Here is the ride with all the GPS data on my Garmin page. The data can be exported either as a gpx or a kml file from this page.

And here’s the Google map:

View Biking in Taiwan: Taipei-Pingxi-Wufenshan-Ruifang in a larger map

5 comments to Wufenshan weather station

  • Those pictures look spectacular!

  • TBV

    Thanks. Spectacular views make for great pics.

  • Thank you for sharing. I miss the sites and riding of northern Taiwan.

  • metallorm

    Fantastic ! You really captured the clouds beautifully.
    ( BTW, your binary moment translates to 2:00 AM and 4 meters above sea level in the decimal system. 4 meters sounds reasonable given the early hour ! )

  • TBV

    @Michael Just checked your blog – seems you’re getting some biking done in Delhi too, although you won’t get the beauty of northern Taiwan.
    @Metallorm: It was a great ride. We’ll go there when you’re next in Taiwan, by bike or by car. And thanks for that conversion – I was sure it meant something, but I haven’t done binary conversion since back in high school in the mid 70s so I couldn’t remember how to do it.