A wonderful trip to the Alishan National Scenic Area. September 20 and 21 2011
About two months ago, as a Chairman, Class of 1969 Alumni Association, Chinese Naval Academy, I planned a trip to the Alishan National Scenic Area. The Lu-on Travel Agency of Kaohsiung got this contract to plan the details and itinerary. There were 46 classmates and their family who joined this outdoor activity on September 20 and 21. During the day, we took two tour buses; one departed from the Taipei, the other was from Kaohsiung. Our rendezvous was at the Real Peking Roast Duck Restaurant in the Chiayi County at noon. After enjoying the delicious Peking Roast Duck, we left for the Alishan National Scenic Area. On the way to the destination, we happily sang the popular songs, such as The Beautiful Girl of Alishan. We all enjoyed the beautiful scenery and roadside tea stands on the way to Alishan. When we arrived at the destination, we got on the mid-size tour bus and went Alishan Great Restaurant. The height of Alishan is more than 2500 meters above sea level(over the horizon).The weather was very cool, and the humidity was lower than on the plain. The temperature was between 9-17 Centigrade, and it is lower than on the plain which is about 15 Centigrade. The air was very fresh without any pollution. We all felt very comfortable walking in the forest path and having a good forest bath.
There are two scenic points tourists must go, one is the Sacred Tree and Giant Tree Area, the other is Sun-Rise Watchtower at the Ju-Shan(祝山 )Train Station. In the Sacred Tree and Giant Tree Area, we all are surprised to see the Giant Trees and Sacred Trees, most of these trees are more than 1200 to 2500 years old. The oldest and biggest one is more than 4600 years old. It takes more than 60 people to circle the tree. These trees are all red cypress; we call them thousand year cypress. They do not easily decay. We can keep it more than 1000 years. It is a good material for furniture.
The Alishan Forest Small Train that has been operating since 1912 has not been opened, since last year’s train accident; tourists must take(use) a small bus or walk to the Sun-Rise Watchtower. In the early morning, at 4 o’clock, we got up, and then at 4:30, we started to walk at the mountain path and road. The mountain was very dark, the road lights could not be used, because of an unexpected power falure at midnight. We had to use flashlights for safety reasons. The guide led us. Although it was dark, we could clearly see a lot of beautiful stars in the sky. We saw the Venus, Polaris, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and many other very small stars we could not find in the city. The sky was full of stars. It is a different experience and joyful for people who are from city. It took us an hour to reach the Sun-Rise Watchtower by foot. There were more than 150 people there from the different places including the foreign countries and Mainland China. The Chairman of Alishan Community who was our guide said we were lucky, if the forest train had opened, there would been more than 2000 tourists here at this moment. Most of them would be from Mainland China. The place would be crowded with guests. It would not be as nice to watch sunrise . And in the past 14 days, the weather was very bad; most of the days were rainy and cloudy. People could not observe the stars and sun at dawn. But the weather we encountered was very good; it was only partly cloudy skies with brief showers in the Alishan National Scenic Area. We finally watched the sunrise at 5:58. We found it rose slowly on the top of Jade Mountain(玉山)(Yu-Shan) that is the highest mountain in the Northeast Asia. The height is over 3952 meters. We were all cheering during the great moment, no matter where we were from. To watch the sunrise and see the Sacred Tree and the Giant Tree was our common goals. We all achieved our goals. This was a wonderful trip for us.