It been a long time since I’ve gone hiking in Taiwan. The weekend just gone I went on one near Shanlinxi Forest in central Taiwan, about 100km away from me. As usual my friend picked me up at 7am, waaaaay earlier than my normal wake up time! By 9am and after I had my little nap in the car, we had arrived at the starting point of our hike. Liulongtou, is at 1650m above sea level and the clouds were bobbling in front of us.
這個星期去了台灣中部杉林森遠足。起點是1650米高的留龍頭 ，途中經過台灣著名的高山茶園，又非常僥倖看見藍腹鷴。這是台灣稀有品種，原來它在一千元紙幣上出現 ，我都從未有留意過。 遠足的終點，是人間仙境讓人流連忘返的忘憂森林。 忘憂森林的這個地方實在非常夯! 今次先分享幾張照片和視頻，下次再詳細為大家介紹。
Our plan for the day was to ascend to Jinganshushan. At just under 2100m, it is the highest point of our hike. So the total ascend is 450m during the day. After that we would descend through the forest going past a famous landmark in Taiwan, which roughly translates to Forget your Worries Forest. I have prepared a video for you, showing you part of my hike, but let me share more about my hike with you here first.
The start of the hike was quite steep. We had to climb up the mountain stepping the tree roots which were still damp from the morning dew. In my video, you can hear me panting already, and we were only 10 minutes into the hike. After this small climb, the terrain was a bit flatter and the forest opened up in front of us. The ascend became a bit milder. Hiking amongst the serene surrounding listening to the cicada chirping away and the birds singing certainly makes the hike a lot more enjoyable.
There were makeshift bridges along the path, some had already blended in with the surroundings, others looked quite new.
As we came out from the forest, and continue to ascend further up, our view was now these picturesque tea plantations. Due to the altitude and good air quality, this part of the country produces some of the best tea.
Another advantage of hiking in this area is that you may come across some rare wildlife. When we stopped for lunch, some hikers spotted some wild birds, one of them said it was as Swinhoe pheasant, a bird that is endemic to Taiwan. When I googled about it, I found out that due to it’s colour, blue, red and white, it is considered the unofficial symbol of Taiwan, and has even appeared on the NTD1000 note. And sure enough, when I checked, there it was, it’s just that I never noticed it!
HIKING TO THE HIGHEST POINT, OR NOT
Our next stop was to the highest point of the hike, Jinganshushan. By this time we were around 2000m, but before we hike the extra 100m, we had to go downhill first before up again, so all in all it was another 200 odd meters ascend. This is the path ahead, and another make shift bridge. I took this photo after I crossed the bridge. On the right hand side is an exposed drop down the valley, I don’t know how deep it was, I didnt dare look. As a rough guesstimate, I’d say as a minimum 5 floors high/deep.
The track was quite narrow at some points, and there were no barriers on the side, so hubby and I decided to stay here and wait for my friend as he headed off on his own. In fact it wasn’t such a bad idea as it was so peaceful here. I could literally close my eyes and meditate here if I wasn’t worried about falling down the valley.
FORGET YOUR WORRIES
And finally to the hightlight of the day. Our last stop was Forget your Worries Forest. It doesn’t have an official English name, this is my own translation. From the photos and particularly the clips in the video, you will see how apt this is. This area came about after a major earthquake in Taiwan in 2009. It is worthy of its own post, so I’m going to share a few photos with you first. Next time, I’m going talk more about this idyllic paradise.