Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Maolin Recreation Area

I was really looking forward to visiting Maolin Recreation Area to see the purple butterfly valley. My guide book says it is considered one of the 2 most important butterfly migratory resting grounds in the world with the other being The Monarch Butterfly Valley near Mexico City. I was disappointed with what I found and it was not until just before leaving that I found out at the visitor’s center the time to come to the valley to see the butterflies is between November and March. If you ever happen to be in Taiwan during this time of the year you will have to let me know what I missed. After visiting the butterfly viewing area with not many butterflies I decided to take a hike up to a waterfall. I got the waterfalls in Maolin a bit confused and thought I was walking to one that was only a short walk but it turned out I was headed to one that was a bit of a hike. I hiked for about an hour and crossed a number of these holy bridges. The bridges are not religious but rather have a lot of holes in the planks crossing the bridge. Here is a picture of one of the bridges. After about an hour of walking and not seeing another person on the trail I think my common sense kicked in. The walk was not easy for me and I started thinking if I was to trip and fall or broke through one of these bridges it might be days before someone found me. I gave up on making it to the waterfall and turned around and headed back. Even though I did not make it to the waterfall I did enjoy the hike with seeing monkeys along the trail and a really sweet smelling flower thing. Here is a picture of the flower thing. I reread my book when I returned to the motorbike and saw I was at the wrong waterfall for being a short hike and headed to the one that was a short walk. It seems the bridge to this waterfall was no longer there so did not get close to this waterfall but took a picture of it from a distance.

I spent a little bit of time just riding around and enjoying the pretty scenery and then went back to the butterfly area and rode the motorbike up the mountain behind the viewing area. I did not see many purple butterflies but there were all kinds of while and yellow ones that seemed to fly every which way as I rode up the mountain. I rode from the Recreation Area back to Tainan enjoying the scenery on the way and returned the motorbike and spent another night in Tainan. This picture is taken just outside of the Maolin Recreation Area on the road returning to Tainan.

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