Outdoor lovers will be so jealous if they learn that people in Taipei have such privilege to enjoy the easy access to the mountains and natural environments. One of the popular weekend destinations for people is Yanmingshan, which is just a 30 minutes ride from the center of the city.
Among the trails in Yangmingshan, there is an intriguing way to go－Jingbaoli Trail. The trail is an ancient path that connects Jingshan to Shilin. It was the main road for the fishermen to transport fresh fishery. That’s why it is also called Yú – lù ( Yú in Mandarin means fish) The fishermen can carry 25~35kg on the shoulder pole each time.
*Note: Fishermen in Jingshan used some special technique－sulfuric fishing to catch fish in the late 19th century and early 20th century. They lit up the stone to create a strong light that can attract the phototaxis fish. For more detail, please see【Taiwan Tour】Sulfuric Fire Fishing- the Culture Heritage Asset in Taiwan
For our ancestors, it is a shortcut to enter the city without being attacked by the aboriginal people from the high mountains. Thanks to the trail, they didn’t have to go along the north coast and Tamshui river.
You may also like: Another trail in Yangmingshan－Chingshan Waterfall
The Name of the Trail and Its Functions
Though the name is highly related to fish, the function of the trail is not limited to transporting the fishery. Over the past 300 years, the way has been trodden by the indigenous people from the plain, pioneers, bachelors, government officers, and bandits. It was a way for marriage, hunting, sulfur mining, military, cow herding, and trading of tea and blue dye.
*From the mid-18th century to the Japanese colony era(1895-1945), tea dominated the economy of northern Taiwan. There were tea farms along the Jingbaoli trail. The tea vendors used the trail to carry the tea to Shilin then went to Dadaocheng, where the tea transaction was popular.
*Yangmingshan was the hub of blue-dye. When the raw material (Strobilanthes cusia) of blue dye was imported to Taiwan, people found Yangmingshan a perfect place to grow the plant. Taiwan was the third-largest blue dye export in the world. The industry was thriving until the artificial pigment was invented in the late 19th century.
How the Way was Developed?
There was no high way system and railway in Taiwan until the early 20th century. The prototype of the trail was the hunting path of the indigenous people and the footage of the women who came to the valley for fetching water.
The Route for Smugglers
During World War II, most of the daily necessities were under the government’s control, which stimulated the fishery smuggling. There were more and more people carrying fishery on the Jingbaoli trail. To avoid the cops, fishermen walked at night and hide the fish at the cottages near the trail.
The Decline and the Revival
After World War II, Yanhmingshan was once used for military bases. Since 1950, when the high way connecting Yangmingshan and Jingshan was built, the Jingbaoli trail was replaced and abolished. The way was buried in the tall weeds and mud. It was later recovered by the local elderly and researchers of Yangmingshan National Park after the national park was set up in 1985.
So now what do you think about a tour to Yangmingshan? You can see our Yangmingshan Hiking & Hot Spring Luxury Private Tour