Sunday, January 21, 2007

Taiwan: The mountains of Nantou County

Since we had been in Taichung the whole time and usually did nothing during the day, our Taiwanese guide Frank, who worked with the MECO office in Taichung, arranged for a van to take us to this place he called "snowy mountain." We didn't know where exactly we were going since all the names were in Mandarin. But since we were yearning to go around, we said yes.

The trip took several hours along the Central Cross-Island Highway or Route 8. I also distinctly remember that we wasted so much time because of a flat tire!

On the way, our group paid a courtesy call to Mr. Yukan Nafu, chief of Jen-ai Hsiang (Ren-ai Township) in Nantou County. The place reminded me so much of our laidback mountain towns in the Cordilleras. The mountain climate was very pleasing to the senses. It's sad Baguio City air is no longer as clean as it used to be and you really have to go into the rural areas to enjoy nature at its finest.

Also in Ren-ai, we dropped by the Mona Rudao Monument, which was erected to honor Mona Rudao, a chief of the Atayal Tribe, who led his tribe people in the Wushe Anti-Japanese Incident.

Anyway, it turns out, we were on our way to the highest point on the Taiwan Highway System. Although I know it was somewhere inside the Taroko National Park, it was only after research that I found out that this area was known as Wuling. We took photos in the marker in Hehuanshan Pass, which at 3275 meters above see level is the highest road pass in East Asia.

The fog was so thick, it was difficult to see things around. So obviously, the view of the mountains was blocked as well. In fact, it was so cold, it was actually snowing. Near the marker were several makeshift stalls which sold hot meals such as noodles and grilled sausages. It was good someone posted his photos of Wuling so I was able to see the view of the mountains sans the thick fog.

We didn't stay too long up there since it was freezing cold and there was nothing to see at that time. Winter is not a good time to go up. So the group made its way down the mountain again.

Maybe if I get the chance, I should come back here during the summer months. The brochure of Taroko National Park has very enticing photos of the many natural attractions of the park. We decided to rest early that night since we were going to Taipei the next day.

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