Original post here: https://randomibis.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/taiwan-a-picture-a-day-9th-of-january-hehuan-mountain/
The most famous mountain in Taiwan is Jade Mountain, but the central area of the island is home to an endless row of mountains between 3000 and 4000 meters. Joy Mountain is one of those and has an interesting story behind it.
On the west coast of Taiwan lies one of it’s biggest cities, Taichung. Due to the height of the central mountains it used to be extremely slow to cross Taiwan from the west to the east, so the government built a highway cutting the island in 2, connecting the west coast to the east coast and passing next to Joy Mountain. In 1999 a huge earthquake hit the central regions of Taiwan and the highway suffered massive damage and had to be closed. Later on roadworks began, but a typhoon hit the area and due to the additional damage the government decided to call it a day and keep a section of the highway completely shut down.
When I went to Joy Mountain I had to go through a small town called Pouli, a great place to have a break and get some fresh fruit from the local market.
Joy Mountain offers some incredible views as it’s one of the highest mountains in that area. There’s still the remnant of an old skying complex; apparently after a few snowy winters someone thought that it would have been an ideal place to sky. Needless to say, the appearance of snow on a tropical island like Taiwan is not as consistent as it could be on the European Alps, so the facility was closed shortly after. It’s still possible to see the ski lift though, and my first reaction was:”Why didn’t they remove the whole thing?”, but while I was hiking my way up to 3500 meters I noticed that the presence of that abandoned facility had a very strong impact on the landscape not just from a purely visual point of view. I’m talking about the feeling of climbing a steep mountain with the wind constantly screaming and pushing clouds past the peak while around you there’s nothing but bushes, a collapsed brick house and an abandoned, rusty ski lift. It reminded me a lot of the work of some German painters of the Romantic period, where they would often showcase man as something very small in comparison to nature. That climb surely gave me that feeling.