Kate and Anna were in the Philippines this weekend and since Lucy and I had to drive to Taipei to pick them up late Sunday night, we decided to make a [LONG] day of it and drive the cross-island highway through the western side of Yushan National Park, an area that we hadn't explored before. It also happened to coincide with a record-breaking cold snap that saw low temperatures dipping well below zero centigrade in the mountains across the island.
Due to all of the hype, I figured that there may be a pilgrimage of snow-seekers, so I tried to find the closest location that would likely see snow. Much of the north was blanketed with up to 30cm of snow on Sunday (as low as 500m above sea level around Taipei and Yilan), but temperatures were more mild in the southern part of the island. The trail to Beidawu was a likely bet, but with a four year-old in tow, accessibility was a concern. Also, Beidawu is not remotely on the way to Taipei, so Yushan National Park seemed to be the next best option as there is a well-maintained road to the Takata Visitor's Center at 2,600m. It was also just close enough to home ( about 3 hours' drive) that I reckoned we could leave around 5 AM and beat most of rush.
Spent a couple of days exploring Taitung and Hualien over our winter break. A few highlights: the Walami Trail, Qingshui cliffs, and Hehuan North trail.
Anna was not feeling great this morning, so we stayed in and read for most of the day. This afternoon we decided to get out and do a little exploring and road birding.
One of the cooler experiences was coming upon a Crested Serpent-Eagle perched on a palm at the edge of a pineapple field while two others circled overhead calling. Not sure why this one was perched and allowed up to approach, but it appears that the eagle's right eye had some sort of infection.