The #1 draw for hikers to Beidawushan is seeing the ‘cloud-sea’ from the ridge, particularly at sunrise or sunset.
There is a noted sunset-viewing spot near Cedar Valley Lodge. I did not see any sunsets there because of the weather, but I did see this:
That is the formation of a cloud.
Wind brings moist air up from the ocean, and then that moisture hits the Dawu mountain ridge. The moisture piles up, increasing the water saturation of the air. Since the only way is up, the moisture has to keep going up to higher and higher altitudes, which means the temperature gets lower and lower and – voilà! Clouds!
As you can see in the above picture, there are both low-level clouds (below the mountain ridge) and high-level clouds (way above the mountain ridge). I’m not a meteorologist, so I’ll let NASA explain it all.
The forests are essential to this cloud-making process, as they a) hold the soil together on the steep slopes and b) help hold onto the moisture long enough that it makes nice, gentle clouds rather than, say, devastating floods.
Suffice to say, these clouds are an essential source of precipitation for both the Pingdong plains to the west and Taidong to the east – and this is in addition to the fact that many of the rivers in both counties originate from the Dawu mountain ridge. So if you have a farm in Pingdong or southern Taidong – or if you ever eat food from Pingdong or southern Taidong – your stomach is connected to this water cycle.
I did not see any sunrises during my hike, but I did see this sunset:
Of course, I’m just an amateur with a not-so-good camera. Scroll down to the slideshow on this page to see what professional photographers can do.
Continue to the next part: “The Hikers”
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