Walking in the footsteps of the ancients on the Lushui-Heliu Trail
By Nicholas Cowham, Special to The China Post
September 8, 2005, 12:00 am TWN
Lushui-Heliu Trail (綠水合流步道) is one of the last places to enjoy hiking on the Hehuan Old Trail — originally built by Atayal aboriginals as a trade and communication route.
The trail was further developed by the Japanese in 1914 in order to gain control of the mountainous regions of Taiwan. Although it is only two kilometers in length, it imparts a feeling of nostalgia as one walks the path of the ancients.
The trail head is located behind the Lushui Geological Exhibition Hall — just two kilometers from Tienhsiang (天祥). It is a wonderful place to sit and drink tea — especially in autumn when every gust of wind brings forth a profusion of multicolored leaves.
The green marble stools and tables imbue a sense of history and culture while totally harmonizing with the surrounding environment.
Once started on the trail you may be struck by the beauty of numerous butterflies and singing birds. If lucky, you may even be witness to one of the park's squirrels or possibly even a civet. After passing through a short but very dark tunnel the trail allows a spectacular, almost bird's-eye view of the road and river below. This is not a place for acrophobes as the trail — although fenced — seems barely a meter wide in some places.
Of special note is the Japanese colonial period monolith which commemorates two Japanese police officers killed by local aboriginals while patrolling the area.
The end of the trail brings you back to the highway and a precarious walk — dodging cars and buses — back to the Exhibition Hall. If interested, you could look at the small pile of rocks and other exhibits or head to the Lushui cafe for some tea and a snack.
No matter the season this short and charming trail always has something to offer.