Collected here are a series of dreamlike photos from a road trip into the misty mountains of Lugu 鹿谷 in Nantou, central Taiwan 台灣. I undertook this trip with a friend in July 2014. Our goal was the Lotus Forest 忘憂森林 (pinyin: Wàngyōu Sēnlín), also known as the Misty Forest 迷霧森林, a high mountain bog formed in the aftermath of the catastrophic 921 earthquake when a landslide altered drainage patterns, forming a small lake and drowning part of the existing forest. At an elevation somewhere close to 2,000 meters, the Lotus Forest is often shrouded in thick fog, imbuing it with an eerie mystique that attracts Taiwanese people from all over the island.
Today I went out for a brief motorbike excursion along highway 151 in Lugu 鹿谷, a mountain township on the south side of the Zhoushui River 濁水溪 in Nantou, the geographic center of Taiwan 台灣. It was bright and sunny down by the wide gravelly river but cool and misty up in the bamboo and red cedar forest. I should have packed an umbrella for the mist eventually turned to rain—but for I didn’t mind getting a little wet, the scenery was worth it. Coming down out of the clouds was particularly unreal with visibility of only a few meters and 15 kilometers of winding mountain switchbacks to navigate before returning to civilization. That’s one of the beautiful things about Taiwan: as long as you have the mountains nearby it isn’t long before you can truly lose yourself in nature.