After the sunrise, we took the train from Zhushan Station [祝山站] to Zhaoping Station [沼平車站]. From there we followed the gorgeous trail headed towards Shenmu Station [神木站].
Close to the station, this scene was begging for a panorama:
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The early morning light made a dramatic effect as it shined through the trees:
The path comprised of stone steps and wood planks the whole way:
There are a few very interesting tree and stump formations along the way, this one is called Happiness from the Golden Pig [金豬報喜]:
Forever One Heart [永結同心] grown from two old cypress trees:
And a few old stumps, this one is the remains of a red juniper tree that was cut down during Japanese occupation:
The Sister Ponds – legend has it that two sisters fell in love with the same man but neither of the sisters wanted to break the other’s heart or say no to the man. In the end, they each jumped into one of the lakes.
Younger Sister Pond:
Large cypress tree stubs form the foundation of the Xiang-si pavilions [相思亭] on the Older Sister Pond:
Shouzhen Temple [受鎮宮]:
Right across from the temple is Xiang-lin Elementary School [香林國民小學]:
After a little more than an hour (with a lot of stops for pictures) we reached our destination: Shenmu Station [神木站(Sacred Tree)]
Here I am standing in front of what remains of the sacred tree. Estimated at 3,000 years old and once standing at a towering 55 meters, this Formosan Cypress [紅檜(Chamaecyparis formosensis Matsum)] was a spiritual symbol of Alishan. The trunk was hallow and carbonized by lightening strikes in 1953 and 1956. At 10:05AM on July 1st, 1997, one-third of this sacred tree was torn down by continuous heavy rain and fell on the railroad.
Due to safety reasons, the remaining two-thirds was set down on June 29, 1998.
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All information, unless otherwise noted is from various tourist brochures, information plaques, and the Alishan Forest Recreation Area website.