Through Mt Maokong’s dense forest

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.

Creek along YingHe Cave Hiking Trail, Xindian District
YingHe Cave Trail, Xindian District

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.

YinHe Cave
YingHe Cave

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.

Yinhe Cave Waterfall
YingHe Cave waterfall by the steps leading to the cave

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.

Tea Plantation by Zhinan Road
Finally I spotted a tea plantation by Zhinan Road