Taiwan: Aowanda National Forest Recreation(Part 1)

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

{ Previous Post:  Taiwan: Cycling around Sun Moon Lake }

Day 3 Morning to Afternoon Itinerary :

  • Nantou (Sun Moon Lake 日月潭) –>>
  • Nantou (Aowanda 奥万大) –>>
How We Got There :
Booked a Cab for the whole day to drive us from Sun Moon Lake to Aowanda to Cingjing.

Getting There

Before reaching Aowanda, we passed by a tourist spot, a stone listing it as ‘The centre point of Taiwan‘. We didn’t get down to take a photo with it however.

Day3_CenterofTaiwan

Soon, we reached the foothill and our driver drove us up the winding roads to the entrance. It took about 1 hour from the bottom until we reached the gates at the Aowanda Forest Recreation Area.

Here’s some photos we took as we wound up the road (I guess people with motion-sickness would not be able to take this).

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We had to pay an insurance fee for the driver and a small entrance fee for ourselves. While driving up, our driver said that the roads were only recently opened after the heavy monsoon caused landslides and rendered the area too dangerous for visitors. We asked him when it was closed to public and realised that it was the date we originally planned to go! It was really a coincidence as we would not be able to visit this place if we arrived two weeks prior.

Started the Hike

<<Visited>> Cabin Zone 小木屋 >> Cherry Blossom Garden 櫻花園 >> Strongman Slope 好汉坡步道 >> Forest Park 森林公園 >> Bird-watching Trail/Platform 赏鸟步道/平台 >> Forest Park 森林公園 >> Maple Tree Trail 楓林步道
Tourist Information Centre

After arriving at Aowanda National Recreation Park after a long drive, we were all eager to just get off the cab to exercise our legs. We decided to travel light by putting all the unnecessary stuff in the cab, since we knew we would have a lot of walking and trekking ahead.

We then headed to the Tourists Centre for its restrooms, refilled our water bottles, checked out the informative exhibits on Aowanda and did the rubber stamping before proceeding to our journey ahead. Cat had read up on the place before our trip and allocated 2.5 hours for our stay here. (Cat: We are nature lovers so we deemed this place a must to visit but we failed to prepare adequately for the hike due to lack of info beforehand…read on)

#1: Cabin Zone 小木屋

We first headed towards the Cabin Zone and passed by the Red Resort Restaurant. We saw several maple trees with their leaves turning yellow and red due to the autumn season and took out a zip-lock bag, where Dar would pick up some leaves and put them into the bag as memento.

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He enjoyed the activity at first and placed a number of leaves in the bag. However, he decided to invert the bag and pour out all the leaves thereafter, thinking that the leaves did not meet up to his expectations. -_-| According to him, “The leaves are too curved.” So in the end, we only had one maple leaf in the bag. We didn’t think much of that however since we expected to be coming across more maple trees later anyway. (unfortunately, we didn’t encounter anymore nice red ones after this…)

When we were at the Cabin Zone, we saw a number of wooden huts lined up nicely beside the pathway. From what we understand, these are ‘chalets’ which are rented out to visitors who were at Aowanda for a longer stay.

Want a stay in the park?
Want a stay in the park?
Beautiful Green..
Beautiful Greenery…
This seemed to be going into some fairy woods...
It was quiet and cool…felt like entering fairy woods

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#2: Cherry Blossom Garden 櫻花園

As we walked on, we came across a lake with a log placed in front of it, which we made good use of by sitting down on it. We also took some photos before moving on. (The weather was still cool then, so we were wearing two layers)

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Time-taken with Camera on Gorilla-pod wound round a tree-branch!

We then noticed a beautiful tree with orange leaves and headed towards it to get a closer look, careful not to go within the range of the rotating sprinkler which was watering the plants. After taking photos with the tree, we noticed that its leaves were unlike that of the maple trees, and realised it could be a cherry tree instead (we didn’t know we were in the Cherry Tree Garden that time). We had thought that only maple trees were the only type of tree planted in Aowanda that would change the colours of their leaves during autumn.

Beautiful Autumn Colours...Too bad we were still too early for most of them.
Beautiful Autumn Colours…Too bad we were still too early for most of them.
Clear signage so it's hard to get lost.
Clear signage so it’s hard to get lost.
 
#3: Strongman Slope 好汉坡步道
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Where It All Began…

We then reached the beginning of a long flight of steps downhill, and were a little amused by the name given to this pathway. We were thankful that we were going down this way instead of climbing up, as it would surely be a challenge for us since we did not think we can call ourselves Strongman, Strongwoman and Strongboy.

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The Start of The Steep Walk Down…

Since our ultimate destination was the Aowanda Suspension Bridge (奥万大吊桥), I started asking myself why were we going downhill instead of uphill since the suspension bridge should be built high up in the mountain. I soon discovered the reason myself, through the hard way. Blame it that we were too enthusiastic to read the map properly. Read on to find out…

{ Continue to PART 2 }