Made in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). Camping.

Sun Moon Lake is a little moody early in the morning. The sky is overcast and there is a light mist hovering over the lake. Clouds obscure the mountain tops in the distance. Lifeless boats and clumps of vegetation bobble on the surface of the lake near the land. It’s an artist-inspiring scene.

It’s quiet on the streets and not many folk are about. I’m up early so I decide to explore the town a little. I’m not at camp which also means I have to look for a hot breakfast somewhere.

 

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As I walk around the town after breakfast, I see a giant signage for … Giant. Obviously, this calls for a visit, even if it’s only to window-shop.

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The impressive store is manned by 2 young Taiwanese, both of whom are very friendly and helpful.

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The impressive hotel I stayed the night in.

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I’m staying another day in Sun Moon Lake; preferably camping by lake … my legs feel like they need a day of doing nothing. After checking out of the hotel, I head towards where I think is a campsite — Cosies.

I’m not in luck. The camp is closed. I call the number listed on the sign and the owner tells me that they’re closed for the low season. Summer, the most popular time for camping, is after all, just over. But the owner was nice enough to tell me to try the campsite just down the road next to the cable car station, although he’s not sure if it’s open.

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Camp Cosies. Closed for the season.

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This campsite is also closed. But, it’s not barricaded and there are no barking dogs around like Cosies. I ride into the empty campsite and see a couple of women at the edge of the grounds by the lake. It’s a refreshments stall, serving tourists walking along the boardwalk constructed over the water. I ride over to them and ask them about camping here and they said the campsite is closed but it should be ok.

I ask how much them how much and they said NT$300 since there won’t be any electricity (seeing as I’m the only camper). But…I’m beginning to suspect that they’re not with the campsite; just refreshments stall operators renting the space from the camp owner. On the other hand, I think to myself… well, I’ve paid for it so that’s that.

I also can’t help thinking that I have the whole place to myself.

Lovely…

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My solitary tent in what seems like the prime spot by the lake’s edge.

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The only downside to this prime spot is that I”m also subject to tourists gawking at me from the boardwalk, but the lovely campsite makes up for this small inconvenience.

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The advantage of this campsite is that the boardwalk, which is accessible from the campsite itself, connects to a small hamlet about 1km away.

 

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Nice toilets. Just bring your own lights

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At dusk, it’s all quiet and still.

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A cool evening in a quiet campsite calls for a warm fire. I’m certain the camp owners wouldn’t have allowed this but … no one’s around, and there are lots of firewood begging to be used.

Tomorrow I head to Puli, the town at the base of Hehuanshan, and where the 45km ride to 3,250m Wuling Pass begins, with an overnight stop at Cingjing, about 25 kilometres from the top.

It’s going to be a long, cold climb.

 

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