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Appreciating Camphor Trees and a Tea Plantation on a Misty Mountain – Camphor Tree and Zhanghu Trails Loop (TAIPEI QUARTERLY 2018 AUTUMN Vol.13)

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Post date:2018-09-11

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Appreciating Camphor Trees and a Tea Plantation on a Misty Mountain –
Camphor Tree and Zhanghu Trails Loop

 

Article Howard Chen

Photos Li Zhiwei


TAIPEI AUTUMN 2018 Vol.13 Appreciating Camphor Trees and a Tea Plantation on a Misty Mountain –  Camphor Tree and Zhanghu Trails Loop

Theres nothing unusual about Having tea at Maokong (貓空) for Taipeiers. In addition to this relatively quiet activity tea culture provides, Maokong also features two hiking trails starting at the Gondola Maokong Station (貓空纜車站). These are Zhanghu Trail that heads along the ridgeline, and Camphor Tree Trail that goes around the mountainside. Camphor Tree is flat and easy to hike, while Zhanghu is full of so much fun you’ll feel like a kid again! The two trails interconnect, forming a loop that anyone, even children and elders, can finish easily.

 

Presenting the Rustic Farming Life of Bygone Days

Camphor Tree is a simple trail of around 1.5 kilometers’ length. One can easily finish the whole route in half an hour. Following the trail, you’ll see an old-time farmers’ village with all the facilities of bygone days, such as charcoal kilns, pigsties and barns. You’ll get a real taste of the rustic lives lived long ago. Wandering toward the junction with Zhanghu Trail, you’ll first be enveloped in the enchanting aroma of tea. Then, as the trail steps take you higher and higher, a vast tea plantation will appear as you look down the hill. The sight is sure to give you a sense of achievement similar to conquering a mountain top. And, if you come here in March, there’s a good chance you might see yellow lupines in bloom, whereas if you arrive around Mid-Autumn Festival, you might find yourself adrift in an orange and pink sea of cosmos flowers!

After you leave Camphor Tree Trail with its wide-open vistas and scent of tea, the shady Zhanghu Trail will make you feel like you’re walking right up a woody mountainside. In its early days, Zhanghu Trail was used as an access road and served the important purpose of delivering tea and other traded goods to and from local people. This trail is 3.2 kilometers long and reaches such destinations as Yinghedong (銀河洞), Dailaokeng (待老坑) and Mt. Ejiaoge (鵝角格山) in the south, and Zhinan Elementary School (指南國小) and the mountain behind National Chengchi University (政治大學) in the north.

 

Listen to the Music of Rain Drops on the Misty Mountain

Taking advantage of Maokongs tall trees, dense forest and abundant rainfall, the planners of Zhanghu Trail have set up Melody Gallery (音律廊道), installing interactive stops along the way. These include leaf-shaped rain dishes, large wooden wind chimes, and benches that double as pianos! You can’t help but wonder, as you stroll by here on a rainy day, what melody the rain drops will play for you on these instruments? But the area tends to be a little slippery, so while you’re having fun playing like a kid, don’t forget to take care and pay attention.

Once you leave the trail, youll see the sunbaked Lingfeng Pavilion (聆風亭), where you can take a break. Its at a high point with an open view, and looking down, youll see why this trail is named Zhanghu (Camphor Tree Lake). It winds through country that looks very much like a lake, but is, in fact, a lowland area covered with camphor trees.


TAIPEI AUTUMN 2018 Vol.13 Appreciating Camphor Trees and a Tea Plantation on a Misty Mountain –  Camphor Tree and Zhanghu Trails LoopVisit Camphor Tree Trail in the daytime and you might see tea growers working on the plantation.
 

Camphor Tree and Zhanghu Trails Loop

Location Exit Gondola Maokong Station, head in the direction of Sanxuan Temple (三玄宮) and look for the sign indicating the trail.

Total length About 3.2 kilometers

Walking time About 2.5 hours (It varies from person to person.)

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