It seems the only way is up, up and up as the interminable road--a rough, single track affair lacking a single helpful signpost or trail ribbon to prove we're on the right route--climbs ever higher, leaving the stream far below.
Having lived in Shilin for eight years, I had passed Zhishan Hill on my way to Neihu (內湖), Yangmingshan and Neishuangxi (內雙溪) innumerable times, promising myself to visit this mysterious place soon.
The Neidong waterfalls in Wulai definitely do not fit into the off-the-beaten-track category, so if you are looking for a challenging, adventurous trip to the middle of the wilderness, you might consider choosing another destination.
"I really want to see wild monkeys before I leave Taiwan," my friend Frank said as we ventured onto Wulai's Red River Gorge Trail. "They're called macaques, right? I've got to see them. It's a must."
It's hard to believe today, but orchards of fruit trees probably once stood where the department stores and swanky new apartment blocks of Taoyuan City (桃園市) now stand.
The 2007 Jinshan (金山) and Wanli (萬里) Hot Spring Festival held by the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration (NCGNSAA) will run for two months from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31.
To see the most beautiful parts of northern Taiwan, it's generally necessary to get out of the car and walk, but at least one road in the region gives a pretty good glimpse of the magnificent mountains of the island's northern quarter.
It doesn't matter which way you approach it; the little aboriginal village of Shilei (石磊) takes some getting to. While the sting has been taken out of many mountain roads throughout Taiwan that just 10 years ago would have been quite an adventure to negotiate, local route 60, which connects the village with the outside world, has somehow been left behind.
These days the quiet gardens of the Shilin Presidential Residence (士林總統官邸), which otherwise speak of grandeur and solitude, are buoyed by joy, life and festivities.