Saturday, January 16, 2016

Forest in the Sky / 天の森 / 天森


After leaving Mew Lee City, I headed east to Nonjwahng.  I'd been here before, but this time the goal was to see an area up in the mountains, not the central town itself.  Here are a couple shots from the way there to give you an idea of the splendor I passed through on my way there using roads 126, 3 and 124.  It's a gorgeous area.


After passing through Nonjwahng's downtown area, I kept heading up into the mountains on road Meow 21 towards Dung Huh village.



Once at Dung Huh village I didn't stop climbing and used a back road that one of the locals pointed out to me to climb up even higher.



It turned out I had come to a trailhead.  I wasn't really prepared to hike, and it was too late in the day to start a serious hike in the mountains anyway, but someone on their way out of the trail told me that there was a pretty stream just a short walk in, so I went to check it out.



Taiwan's high mountain greenery looks a lot like Japan's.



Which photos is trees, and which is a close up of tree bark?  Up the contrast and get rid of the color and it's hard to tell!


Here's the stream.



I didn't take a picture of the bridge itself, but there was a tiny "bridge" here with "capacity: one person" written on the sign.  The bridge even has a name, "Ja Lee Small Bridge".






On my way down from the mountains, I stopped at a local tourist attraction, Immortal Fairy Valley.  It's a gorge in the mountain with a river flowing through it, and they put a pedestrian suspension bridge over it.  Too crowded, but fun nonetheless.



Next I went to Shyang Tyen Who(向天湖, "facing toward the sky lake"), a lake up in the mountains that is also a popular place for tourists to visit.  This area is the homeland of the Sasiyat people.  I saw this bench up near the lake.  While the swastika is a symbol commonly seen in Taiwan--and Japan for that matter--that is heavily associated with Buddhism, to the point that it is used to represent the location of Buddhist temples on maps, what I thought was interesting was that this symbol is apparently not the Buddhist swastika that one often sees in Taiwan.  By total coincidence, the Sasiyat people have their own swastika (if I remember correctly, I think it symbolizes the wind) that just happens to look somewhat like the Buddhist one, but even more like the Nazi one due to it's 45 degree tilt.  The colors also are reminiscent of the Nazi flag, but this too is a coincidence.  Red, black and white patterns are often used by various Taiwanese aboriginal groups in their designs.  For an American though, this is a pretty shocking display.

And here's the lake itself.



On the way back to Meow Lee City, I passed by this church and slammed on my brakes (after checking my mirrors, of course) because I thought this was such a strange scene.  This building looks like someone grabbed a small church from somewhere in New England and planted it down in the Meow Lee countryside.


That's it for now!


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