Half way along the Camphor Tree Trail by Ejiaoge Mountain, near the outer limits of Taipei City, a sign pointed towards YingHe Cave. I veered on to that trail and down countless steps and over a rocky path, lured by a cave.
The lush vegetation hugged what seemed like endless steps where I met few hikers along the route. But finally I reached a temple at the top of more steps as ugly as a cement slap. Past the damp, dark one-room temple was the cave. I climbed the last twenty steps to little more than a hollow in the rock face.
It was not worth more than a quick look except for the raindrop waterfall that sailed over the cliff above. The setting was peaceful and a few other crazy cave seekers hung around the site, but now I had to face all those steps upwards on the way back. Yet some how the climb seemed shorter than the descent.
I wasn’t ready to leave the mountain retreat. Apart from the forest, I hadn’t seen anything else that impressed me. I headed in the opposite direction away from the tourist hub and searched for a tea plantation. There was a museum and a tea promotion centre, so there had to be tea growing. I hiked the main road and finally caught a glimpse of a plantation before I caught a local bus back down the mountain.