While on a day trip to Wūlái 烏來 at the very end of 2013 I was delighted to stumble upon one of the most picturesque abandonments I have had the pleasure of exploring in Taiwan 台灣. Mere steps from the southern terminus of the Wulai Sightseeing Tram 烏來觀光台車 one will find a viewing platform across from Wulai Falls 烏來瀑布, one of the most scenic waterfalls in the greater Taipei 台北 area. What you might not realize—unless you have a sixth sense for all things abandoned—is that the viewing platform doubles as the rooftop of a derelict hotel with a rather stunning view.
Sometimes when you set out to explore the edge of the map you don’t find much of anything at all. Such was the result when I set out for Wūlái 烏來 one day in March. I had hoped to cycle up to the half-abandoned theme park above the falls by way of the service roads on the back of the mountain. Along the way I took a wrong turn and soon found myself on a road to nowhere. When it ended I staggered off my bicycle in disbelief—I hadn’t expected the road to simply end. I peered over the edge and saw nothing but a vast expanse of wilderness. What was this road even doing here? Had it ever gone somewhere?
Doubling back I found the turn-off I had missed. It was a hard gravel road, too rough for me to handle with the equipment I had on hand. With my light running out I decided to call it quits. Not every adventure ends in success. Times like this you have to take what pleasure you can from simply trying something out.