By Erica Lin
Translated by Leo Maliksi Photos
courtesy of Shei-pa National Park Headquarters
Shei-Pa, meaning "Snow Lord", is the fitting name for this national park where falling snow illumined by the moonlight crowns the majestic ridges of its mountains. The pristine quality of snow that blankets the face of some mountains whispers to the visitor that he stands on a piece of earth that is uncommon in Taiwan.
" The Wuling National Forest Recreation Area is a popular holiday destination within the Shei-Pa National Park. Walking through its nature trails is a most invigorating way to spend your time here. A natural wonder Syueshan Mountain Range and Dabajian Mountain are the two peaks that stand out in Shei-pa. Syueshan Peak, at 3,886 meters, is the second tallest in Taiwan. The tallest is Yushan at 3,952 meters. Lake Cueihu on its peak is Taiwan's highest lake and was formed during the glacial period. Yushan cypresses that line its slope at 3,530 meters high exude an air of stately elegance and calm. Two thousand meters high on Dabajian Mountain, Yufong Stream is the source of the Tamsui River. Spanning 100 kilometers in length, it ends at the sea. On Shei-pa, you find a cypress forest, a two million year-old hawthorn tree and animal species that can only be found in Taiwan, such as the Formosan black bear, Taiwan salmon and the wide-tailed phoenix butterfly.
These rare species are protected within a nature conservation area on Shei-pa, the highest ecological park in Taiwan. Here, the weather changes radically from hot to cold to frigid. In the morning during summer, the clear sky stretches for kilometers and in the afternoon, clouds suddenly cover the whole area and there is a fifty percent chance of rain. At night, the temperature dives to below zero especially in areas above 3,000 meters; even in the height of summer in July, it could go as low as 2 or 3 degrees below zero.