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Duilishan Trail is a trek on Taiwan's famous Alishan Forest, a beautiful 5km trek between Alishan Railway line 6th station Jhangnaoliao, and 7th station Duilishan.
As soon as I walked pass Jhangnaoliao station, I saw a lady selling hand made grasshoppers made from some kind of grass. My friend was chatting to her in the local dialect which I didn't understand. He said she had been there since first thing in the morning and was now packing up to go home. She had three grasshoppers left and kindly gave one to me! Now I had some company for the walk.
Since the trail was between two stations, a good part of it was along the actual railway line itself, and we were walking towards beautiful scenery such as this. Sometimes we crossed bridges and climbed step stairs to make the 200m ascend to Duilishan station.
Our half way stop for refreshment in the morning was at this busy stall selling Aiyu. This drink is made from the seeds of a fruit that is unique to Taiwan called Aiyu, and I think is part of the fig family. The seeds are dried and then soaked in water till the water becomes like jelly. Other flavours such as lemonade, honey or passion fruit are added to elevate this refreshing drink to another level. It was the first time I tried Aiyu and it was absolutely delicious.
Just before lunch we arrived at Duilishan station, by this time we had already climbed 200 meters within 1.5 hours and we still had another half an hour to go. On the way up, I saw some locals selling fresh produce such as vegetable and eggs, and some hikers were buying them as they headed up the mountain. I thought this was rather odd as it would make sense to buy them on the way down. Then it all became clear. Further up the mountain was a temple with a free communal kitchen fully equipped with everything you need to cook your own lunch. No wonder people were buying food on the way up!
We opted for the easier option and ate at a restaurant next to the temple. This is the view from the restaurant, and I still have my new friend with me.
After lunch we headed back down to Jhangnaoliao station and the view was just as breathtaking.
When we got back down to the station, it was time for coffee. We made our own freshly brewed coffee at the car park, perfect to round of the day.