Tucked away in the county of Yilan, one of the northernmost points of the Island of Taiwan, exists a national forest (one of three major national forests within the territory) called Taipingshan. The forest is thick with cypresses, hemlocks, and maples with leaves that turn vibrant purple in summer.
I personally happen to be a big fan of forests, being a big fan of trees. I’m actually a huge advocate for greenery in general. But what’s most striking about Taipingshan isn’t the foliage it boasts, nor the alpine lakes, hidden waterfalls or hot springs. What’s most captivating and singular about the area is the abandoned railroad tracks, half-reclaimed by nature and time so that they seem to straddle the realm of human engineering and natural beauty.
The haunted quality of these tracks is striking, and one can clearly imagine strolling along this man-made route through a sea of ancient groves and woodland, the vegetation which survived the arrival of man’s mechanical revolution and continued on to watch it pass into obscurity. Cliché as it is, these lost tracks of Taipingshan are a compelling reminder of the strength and enduring qualities of the outside world, as well as the fragility of humanity and the fleeting nature of our influence and our constructs.