Along the Walami Trail—A Pristine Natural Ecosystem

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2017 / October

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Phil Newell


The Taiwan Railway Administration’s Pu­yuma Express races along the East Rift Valley. We get off at Yuli in Hua­lien County, where we transfer to a bus that goes to the end of the asphalt road that is Taiwan Provincial Highway No. 30, where it meets the unpaved Wa­lami Trail.

This expanse of mountain forest, in the eastern part of Yu­shan National Park, was in days gone by an important living and hunting area for the Bu­nun indigenous people. During the Japanese era (1895‡1945), the area experienced an incident of fierce resistance against the Japanese by indigenous people. The trailhead is also the point from where for the last decade and more, “Black Bear Mama” ­Hwang Mei-hsiu has been going deep into the Da­fen oak forest to study the Formosan black bear. Countless scholars have studied the ecology and explored the history of this place, and the long trek to visit Yu­shan itself also starts from here.


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