I visited Tsengwen Reservoir for the third time last weekend. The first trip was 3 years ago and the second trip was last year. Despite most of the development (and all of the people) being on the south side of the reservoir (Tsengwen Recreation Area) all of the best sites except one are on the Caoshan River flowing into the reservoir from the north. These places are incredible but the trails are gone and the only access is by walking in the river. We have now visited Caoshan Stream, Chinglong Waterfall, Fushan Waterfall and Lianyun Waterfall. There are still a few other places to visit and it is possible that I will be able to do one more trip before the end of the year.
My first stop was finally hiking back to Feiyun Waterfall. Last year a friend and I looked for Feiyun Waterfall but we got turned around and had no idea where we actually were. We picked one river valley and walked up it for 10-15 minutes and gave up. I came back this year with better maps and walked up the same river valley for 45 minutes and found what we were looking for. Part of the reason that it was so difficult to find was that the locals we asked both times had no idea that a waterfall even existed. There used to be a road and/or trail that went to it but it has been destroyed for more than a decade. Now it is a forgotten and rarely visited place. And it is awesome.
Tsengwen Reservoir is Taiwan’s largest reservoir when I say the opposite ends of the reservoir I mean it. To make things more difficult there are no roads that I know of that run the complete distance along the western edge of the reservoir. It would make a lot more sense to visit these places on two different trips or at least two different days like I did.
I don’t actually have many photos from the weekend because the trip involved swimming and I stashed my camera in a drybag. This is one of the best fossil rocks that tumble down the river during every big storm. It is a fair amount larger than a microwave.
The following are the steps required to get to this idyllic swimming hole.
a) walk down a slippery, rarely used trail to the river.
b) walk upstream on some rocks (easy)
c) swim across a small river
d) climb up an angled wall of a dam that was originally setup as a fish ladder
e) crawl through a tunnel of the fish ladder to access the other side of the dam
It really wasn’t that hard but there were a bizarre series of obstacles that are rarely encountered. Not surprisingly nobody comes here anymore and we had the place to ourselves.
A photo of myself (from Richard Saunders)
Jin slid down the slide.
Lianyun Waterfall was my final destination for the afternoon. The rest of the group crawled around on the rocks and was able to continue upstream to more waterfalls and a tight gorge. I spent the afternoon napping, stretching and finding the perfect location for a photo. It feels really good to relax for a couple of hours at a place like this.