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.