By Jonathan Burke (白炯涵)
Read more of Jonathan’s account on the Atayal Association’s Facebook page.
We finally reached the point at which Road #122 was unpassable, at least by car; a narrow concrete pathway remained on the mountain side of the road, barely wide enough to walk across, or drive a scooter (which some people were doing).
The road itself had been completely destroyed in this section, landslide damage having broken it up and swept it down the side of the mountain. Reconstruction was already at an advanced stage; the break in the road was gradually being filled in with earth and rubble carried by trucks, and large steel I-beams being driven deep into the new fill, in preparation for the pouring of concrete and the application of bitumen.
We walked around the area for some time, taking photos to document the damage and the construction work. The workmen were unconcerned by our presence and the photos we took, and other people passed us without comment as they made their own way by scooter across the remaining concrete pathway. We saw no government officials or soldiers in this location, only construction workers.
A handwritten makeshift sign directed us to the detour road through Bailan (白蘭), which added another 7km to our journey. A slippery surface of leaves and mud on the sides of the road necessitated care when navigating the numerous sharp corners and hairpin bends, especially when giving way to the occasional oncoming car.
Documenting our trip with a small video camera on the Jeep’s dashboard, we soon rejoined Road #122 some distance past the collapsed section, near Wufeng Junior High School (五峰國中). From here we continued our way up the mountain toward Qingquan (清泉), without obstruction, stopping occasionally to document various roadworks along the way, and take more photos of landslide damage.
“The Healing Hot Springs of Chingchuan”