Monday, December 6, 2010
Seeing red on Big Snow Mountain
One of the drawbacks to living in a country with a semi-tropical climate is that there is a lack of four distinct seasons. Basically, Taiwan is warm most of the year, with higher temperatures and humidity levels to denote summer, and a couple of months called "winter" when the temperature can drop to around 10C (50F) or even lower. What this means for autumn is a serious lack of color, other than green. Unlike places such as Canada, Japan and New England, where the leaves are ablaze in all their glory for all to see, to view the fall colors in Taiwan, one has to drive high up into the mountains. Which is what the Kaminoge family did today, driving 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Tungshih (Tōsei) 東勢 up a winding road to reach the Tahsuehshan 大雪山 National Forest Recreation Area.
Amber digs into a breakfast of Tanping (egg pancake) and Strawberry Goat's Milk at an outdoor stand in our neighborhood:
Unlike in Japan, for example, where entire mountains can be a sea of oranges, reds and yellows, on Tahsuehshan the 紅葉 could only be seen here and there. We frequently came across cars and scooters parked along the side of the road, with drivers, riders and passengers gathered round to take pictures of a single tree:
Amber had a great time collecting leaves, berries and pine cones, and throwing pine needles up in the air:
Father and daughter at T'iench'ih pond 天地:
We saw plenty of these birds, White-whiskered Laughingthrushes 金翼白眉, about:
What we didn't see from an observatory located at the 2600-meter (8530 feet) elevation level was a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains:
But we did get to enjoy a lot of fog.
The view improved down at 2275 meters (7463 feet):
Then things really started to clear up as we continued down the road back to Tungshih:
Back on level ground, and wanting to get away from the usual late afternoon/early evening Sunday traffic gridlock on Fengshih Road 豊勢路, we took a side street near Chung-cheng Park 中正公園 and came across this festival scene:
Like some kind of strange hybrid of Taoism 道教 and "It's A Small World", sights like this one appear from time to time, but for what reason, I have no idea. Back in the days when we were dating, Pamela took me to a similar festival, which I recall mainly for the hundreds of dead pigs laid out on a long table in front of the bright animatronics. There was a distinct lack of swine this time, as the video below shows:
A fitting end to a day of 紅葉, Taiwan-style!