Puli's Mu Ji Lan Creek
By Niang Chen Translated by Ann Lee
Mu Ji Lan Creek is located in a town called Zhen Yu Chih near Puli. You can get to this scenic spot by taking the ascending road at the fork near ShihFoGong (the stone Buddha) Temple. After a few minutes, you'll reach Xiangtianzun, an outlet of Mu Ji Lan Creek, where the water is crystal clear and the air is ripe for a barbecue. The uphill road is surrounded by fields and small farms. A short walk through a betel nut grove—make sure you stay to the right!—will land you at Mu Ji Lan Creek. The creek's usual visitors either the people who work within the area, like rangers and caretakers, or local residents who come to collect wild bamboo shoots and other edibles for their kitchens. Every once in a while, you'll even see wild animals like macaque monkeys and boars.
The gentle sloping landscape that supports this sterling creek is filled with abundant plant life and the nature that is so sought after in our busy city lives. The creek is also an ideal spot for stream trekking and hiking. In the spring, bushes of cheerful lillies greet the morning and hosts of fireflies reflect among the trunks and leaves just as dusk begins to fall. June is passion fruit season, so you can come to the area and pick fruit, and search for mock strawberries, black fungi, and wild bamboo shoots.
Walking along the stream will take about 40 minutes each way and the grand finale at the path's close is a towering waterfall. On the way towards the waterfall, you'll see a few translucent, shallow inlets. If you feel adventurous or get tired of wading, then take the plunge and start swimming with the catfish. Unfortunately for us humans but wonderful for the area's fauna, the region often gets thundershowers in the afternoons, so heed the weather and its rapid changes as you plan your trip. Light foods and snacks are available on YuChih Road if you get hungry. Also, don't forget to wear proper footwear like hiking boots or waterproof sandals.
Spending all of your weekend time en route to somewhere else is never fun, so finding a place that is close to Taichung is the best way to make the most of your down-time. Whether you plan to hang out with family or friends, spending a little time along this creek is good, clean fun and, without doubt, one of the best ways to reconnect with nature.
Directions: From Taichung, head towards Nantou. Look for Route 131 on the green signs. After you pass DongGuang Bridge, continue on to Nantou's Route 69, and make a left at Route 69-3. Overall, it will take about 10 or 20 minutes to get into the Puli area.