Picking Strawberries in Guoxing

Picking Strawberries!
Every winter, the family heads down Provincial HWY 14 to Guoxing Township [國姓鄉] to pick strawberries. We stopped at one of several organic farms in Guoxing and were told that due to rainfall the previous week and a busy morning there weren’t too many ripe strawberries. The owner of the farm did give us some encouragement by saying we should have no trouble filling our box.

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The Bamboo Caterpillar

BAMBOO!

The recently remodeled playroom at the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute [台灣工藝文化園區] in Caotun Township, Nantou County boasts an incredible eight-meter long bamboo caterpillar tunnel. I visited a week ago on a field trip with students and managed to take a handful of photographs. Here is a small collection of pictures that miraculously didn’t have children running around in the background.

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Some Privacy, Please!

BEETLES!Several years ago, Taiwan went through a beetle-craze. Pet stores had rows devoted to these insects and students would proudly show off beetles they found or exotic varieties their parents purchased for them. The fade didn’t last long. Nowadays, a lot of families keep dogs that fit in purses while children prefer to catch Pokemon over insects.

In mid-June, I found out via a post on a Jhongsing Village Facebook group that it was breeding season for beetles. We set out for a row of trees along Guanghua Road and were delighted to find more than a dozen Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles [Allomyrina dichotoma].
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The Ninety-Nine Peaks Forest Trail

The Ninety-Nine Peaks TrailFishman greets visitors at the parking lot

We went hiking on the first day of 2017 to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. The Ninety-Nine Peaks Forest Trail [九九峰森林步道] is a 1,930 meter long trail in Nantou County’s Caotun Township [草屯鎮]. We brought the kids here because we figured they were getting tired of the trail we frequent in Jhongsing Village. Furthermore, being a holiday weekend, most of the popular trails in Nantou County were probably going to be packed. We only encountered a couple dozen people on the trail. Amazingly, both kids made it through the whole trail without asking to be carried!

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The Dragon & Phoenix Waterfall Skybridge

Trips to the Waterfalls
I’ve visited the Dragon and Phoenix Waterfalls [龍鳳瀑布] of Zhongliao Township in Nantou County several times in the past few years. I’ve made frequent stops there on cycling trips through Zhongliao and taken my family there a few times for recreational hiking and firefly viewing. In recent years Nantou County Government has taken steps to turn the county into a tourist wonderland by initiating the construction of several projects like the one I’m featuring here. Continue reading

The Jhongsing Village Lotus Ponds

Lotus in Jhongsing VillageThis spring I only managed to visit the Jhongsing Village Lotus Ponds once during their blooming period last month. Here’s a few photographs from that hot, sunny day in May.
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Xinyi Township Plum Blossoms

Plum BlossomsHere are a handful of photographs from our family’s trip to Nantou County’s Xinyi Township [信義鄉] to see plum blossoms [梅花]. We’ve visited several times and it gets more and more popular every year. We saw a parking spot while inching up the mountain towards Fengguidou [風櫃斗] but opted to continue driving to the Liujia Plum Farm [柳家梅園] down the mountain instead. That turned out to be an even bigger parking nightmare so I decided we should park beyond the farm so getting out would be easier. We ended up parking in Xinxiang Village [新鄉村] which according to one resident was an hour walk from the Liujia Plum Farm. We only walked for about fifteen minutes before finding a beautiful and nearly deserted patch of hillside covered in plum trees.

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The Jhongsing Village Lotus Ponds

Lotus
I usually make a habit of visiting the lotus ponds on Shengfu Road in Jhongsing Village several times to photograph during their blooming period which falls between late May and early June. This year was somewhat hectic however due to work obligations and juggling contractors for renovations prior to moving into our new abode. Thankfully, I managed to squeeze in two brief visits late in the season: one with the family and one on my own before work. Looking back at previous year’s posts is interesting to see how the mood of each series is different due to my post-processing tendencies of the time.
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Pandas on Tour – Jhongsing Village

Pandas on Tour

Pandas World Tour

The Pandas World Tour stopped in Jhongsing Village over the weekend. An outdoor exhibit of pandas [Ailuropoda melanoleuca] and Formosan black bears [Ursus thibetanus formosanus] took over a park near our house. The exhibition spotlights the importance of protecting endangered animals. The 1600 paper-mache pandas were created by French artist Paulo Grangeon. On the Taiwan leg of the tour these pandas were accompanied by 200 Formosan black bears – an endangered species endemic to Taiwan.

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2014 Nantou Sand Sculpture Festival

2014 Sand Sculpture Festival

A couple months ago our family visited the 2014 Nantou Sand Sculpture Festival [南投市貓羅溪畔沙雕藝術節]. One thing that separated this year’s festival with previous years was an emphasis on health and environmental issues. A few prominent sculptures warned on the dangers of nuclear power, deforestation, marine pollution and food safety.

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