I basically randomly picked a campsite from the Camping in Taiwan map for my trip to Yilan. It was located outside of town and would make a good base for a trip to Taipingshan. As a bonus there was a waterfall nearby. I thought it would be easy to find but I didn’t get there until it was already dark. Rather inconveniently I rented the worst scooter ever. Whenever I was coasting the light lost power and basically turned off. I was able to trade my scooter for a much better one the next day. After a little searching I found the campsite and was knocked out by the view. The facilities were not impressive but it has a million dollar view of Yilan and the valley. Directions to Yulan Campground.
My view of Yilan at arrival.
The sunrise view from my tent.
The view across the valley.
The view up the valley with my tent all by itself.
Nearby Yulan Waterfall now restricts vehicles from reaching the trailhead and instead hikers can choose between a roadwalk and some well done trails.
Most choose to walk the road but the trail is by far the better route.
My perception of Yilan is that is is nearly always raining and the trees showed it with various vines and moss.
In the last few years they have replaced many rickety bamboo bridges with some impressive bridges. Hopefully a typhoon doesn’t wipe out all of the hard work in the future.
I could have spent hours on macro photography.
Nearly every tree on the 4km trail was interesting.
Not surprisingly it was originally a logging trail. It was called Camphor Station #9.
Yulan Waterfall is at the end of the trail and it was spectacular after Yilan’s recent rainfall. Locally it is known as Gaba Waterfall. It will require some imagination but the local tribe many centuries ago named it after the thunderous sound of the waterfall.
Directions to Yulan Waterfall
Nantou’s national bird aviary is one of those places that has its moments but overall is a little disappointing. It’s located in a stunningly beautiful area in the Nantou mountains but many of the buildings are an eyesore. They have assembled a beautiful collection of birds but some of the habitats are small and inadequate. They have built a nice trail to a waterfall but it’s only viewable from a distance. Overall the aviary has huge potential but it needs to feel less like a subpar zoo and more like a natural habitat for the birds. They are located in an outstanding area for natural habitats.
Cassowaries greet visitors at the main parking lot. They are one of the largest birds in the world similar in size to the ostrich and emu. They have a reputation for being dangerous but there is only one recorded death. Never the less they look unfriendly.
There are dozens of friendlier macaws in one of the first exhibits.
A blue crowned pigeon in one of the nicer habitats. The pigeon habitat is larger and visitors are able to walk through the habitat.
A Golden Pheasant in the second walk through habitat.
A small bee that was more interesting than most of the bird habitats.
Another flower on the walk
The Stork Center at Fenghuang is quite different than the rest of the aviary. It’s a spectacular and new building with some well done displays. There didn’t seem to be any storks but they have an impressive habitat at the back of the building. This building gives an idea of the type of potential that Fenghuang Aviary has.
Two years ago I visited the aviary but the waterfall was still inaccessible. Considerable effort has been expended to reopen a trail back to the waterfall and it is now finished. It’s a short easy hike but you are not allowed to travel to the base of the waterfall.
Directions to Fenghuang Waterfall from my waterfall website
Yesterday’s haul at the Jiuru farmers market. 700NT or 23USD and the cherries were 1/3 of the cost. Everything except the apples and cherries are from Taiwan (I think).
We are getting 2-3 light rainstorms every day. Just carry your raingear everywhere.
For the next week there will be a completely different flavor to the blog. I have returned to the US to visit with my family and explore a few local Minnesota places. The first short hike was a state park near my mother’s house in the northern suburbs. Despite being close to the Twin Cities it was practically deserted on a holiday weekend. It doesn’t actually have a main draw but rather it offers pleasant tranquility.
Most of trails lead through a mature forest with many picturesque fallen, mossy trees.
A columbine flower.
This would be a giant lake and a major tourist attraction in Taiwan. I’m not even sure this counts as one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.
Even this would be a tourist destination in Taiwan. This was just one of dozens of small waterholes at Lake Maria State Park after a rainy spring.
While Typhoon Tembin was turning around to hit southern Taiwan a second time I went north to do some hiking in central Taiwan. I managed to mostly avoid the rain but the rocks become really slippery. Luckily I’m good at falling down and I didn’t get hurt while taking a nasty tumble. First I stopped at Wannian Valley and hiked down to Tongxin Waterfall. The trail is mostly overgrown but it’s an easy walk down to the waterfall past a lot of wild flowers. There is a trail leading further down Wannian Valley. It looked passable but I wanted to visit Penglai Waterfall so I’ll have to return sometime. Penglai is an amazing waterfall that plunges down out of view. Even the small waterfalls look great.
Tongxin Waterfall at Wannian Valley
I got a new macro lens this summer and Wannian Valley was buzzing with interesting targets.
This one wasn’t exactly buzzing.