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Photo trip to 觀霧 (Guan wu)

posted by Martin Rubli at 16:04

Last month I finally got myself to get up early (4 am, baby!) and join my friend Kevin on one of his photo trips.

It took two layers of pants and five layers of shirts, fleece, and jackets in order not to freeze to death on the scooter. Luckily we only had to ride about fifteen minutes to meet Kevin and his heated car.

With several stops on the way we drove along 竹122線 all the way to 觀霧 (Guan wu), which loosely translates into "View of the fog". The place has its name for a good reason as especially in the afternoon it is very common to have fog in the area. But not this time; we didn't see a cloud the whole day. Unfortunately the absence of clouds also ruined our sunrise photo session. Not that I would see many of them but apparently they are quite boring without clouds. :-)

Anyway, I'll take a clear sky over a great sunrise any day and below you'll quickly see why. Of course when you're freezing at 4 am your first thought isn't exactly "pack sunscreen", so I ended up looking like a strawberry, but it was still worth it. All in all one of my favorite mountain trips in Taiwan so far. And the best part is that the scenery makes for a lot of inspiration on where to go next!


Sunrise over 鳥嘴山 (Niao zui shan). 鳥嘴山 literally means "beak mountain". Now, I don't know from which perspective it actually looks like a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beak beak] unless we're talking kingfisher who lost his beak.

Sunrise over 鳥嘴山 (Niao zui shan). 鳥嘴山 literally means "beak mountain". Now, I don't know from which perspective it actually looks like a beak unless we're talking kingfisher who lost his beak.

五指山 (Five finger mountain), one of the most remarkable mountains in Hsinchu, seen from above.

五指山 (Five finger mountain), one of the most remarkable mountains in Hsinchu, seen from above.

梅花 (Plum blossoms) in 雪霸農場 (Xue shan farm).

梅花 (Plum blossoms) in 雪霸農場 (Xue shan farm).

雪霸農場 (Xue shan farm).

雪霸農場 (Xue shan farm).

Parts of an old car turned into a fake helicopter. :-)

Parts of an old car turned into a fake helicopter. :-)

Trees along 南清公路 (Nan qing gong lu), which leads from 清泉 (Qing quan) to 觀霧 (Guan wu).

Trees along 南清公路 (Nan qing gong lu), which leads from 清泉 (Qing quan) to 觀霧 (Guan wu).

Beautiful view over Hsinchu from half-way up to 樂山 (Le shan).

Beautiful view over Hsinchu from half-way up to 樂山 (Le shan).

Beautiful maple forest in 觀霧 (Guan wu).

Beautiful maple forest in 觀霧 (Guan wu).

Mirrored (and photo-shopped) maple ...

Mirrored (and photo-shopped) maple ...

Most of Taiwan is covered by evergreen vegetation, so the colors make for a very nice change.

Most of Taiwan is covered by evergreen vegetation, so the colors make for a very nice change.

A beautiful view of the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range). The twin mountain on the right side is 雪山 (Xue shan, also known as "Snow Mountain") and the remarkably square one on the left side is 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

Here's what the panorama would roughly look like from a little further up the 樂山林道 (Le shan forest road) on which we're standing here:

<a href="/blog/data/le-shan-view-of-xue-shan.png"><img src="/blog/data/le-shan-view-of-xue-shan.png" style="width: 600px;" /></a>

A beautiful view of the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range). The twin mountain on the right side is 雪山 (Xue shan, also known as "Snow Mountain") and the remarkably square one on the left side is 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

Here's what the panorama would roughly look like from a little further up the 樂山林道 (Le shan forest road) on which we're standing here:

We spent quite a lot of time just walking along this road and staring at all the colors.

We spent quite a lot of time just walking along this road and staring at all the colors.

[http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/jw!kiFIiQOZFQE.N_xYR4Zh6VPU2aU-/gallery?cfid=88&act=&fid=88 Kevin] in his element ...

Kevin in his element ...

These traffic mirrors are a lot of fun if you have time and a camera. :-)

These traffic mirrors are a lot of fun if you have time and a camera. :-)

Part of the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range) with 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) about a third from the left and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) on the far right.

Part of the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range) with 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak) about a third from the left and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) on the far right.

This is where I start to run out of things to say about maple ...

This is where I start to run out of things to say about maple ...

... so just sit back ...

... so just sit back ...

... and look at the photos. :-)

... and look at the photos. :-)

The colors of these trees are truly amazing, and it's not just because of the polarization filter that makes the sky look so blue. The leaves really look like that!

The colors of these trees are truly amazing, and it's not just because of the polarization filter that makes the sky look so blue. The leaves really look like that!

From 樂山林道 (Le shan forest road) there's a great view of 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) on the left and 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) next to it. 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) is famous for its distinctive shape.

From 樂山林道 (Le shan forest road) there's a great view of 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) on the left and 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) next to it. 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) is famous for its distinctive shape.

On the right is 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), at 3886 meters the second highest mountain in Taiwan, and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) on the left. Despite it only being 6 meters shorter than 雪山 (Xue shan) it doesn't count as one of [http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/台灣百岳列表 Taiwan's 100 highest peaks].

On the right is 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), at 3886 meters the second highest mountain in Taiwan, and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) on the left. Despite it only being 6 meters shorter than 雪山 (Xue shan) it doesn't count as one of Taiwan's 100 highest peaks.

Beautiful scenery with the mountain range that divides 苗栗縣 (Miao li county) and 台中縣 (Tai zhong county). From left to right: 弓水山 (Gong shui mountain) hiding behind the tree, 奇峻山 (Qi jun shan), 頭鷹山 (Tou ying shan), then 大雪山 (Da xue shan) just right of the snow field, 中雪山 (Zhong xue shan) a little right of the middle, and 小雪山 (Xiao xue shan) about a third from the right. 

(Yes, I know I could have just put arrows but this way you can strengthen your imagination and I can save a few minutes and finally hit the upload button. :-)

Beautiful scenery with the mountain range that divides 苗栗縣 (Miao li county) and 台中縣 (Tai zhong county). From left to right: 弓水山 (Gong shui mountain) hiding behind the tree, 奇峻山 (Qi jun shan), 頭鷹山 (Tou ying shan), then 大雪山 (Da xue shan) just right of the snow field, 中雪山 (Zhong xue shan) a little right of the middle, and 小雪山 (Xiao xue shan) about a third from the right.

(Yes, I know I could have just put arrows but this way you can strengthen your imagination and I can save a few minutes and finally hit the upload button. :-)


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