相遇在雲的故鄉

騎行新竹林業軌跡
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2018 / 6月

文‧鄧慧純 圖‧莊坤儒


美國文豪海明威曾說:「騎單車翻山越嶺、揮汗寸土踏查,是瞭解一個國家風土民情最好的方式。」

台灣幅員不大,但海拔落差逾三千公尺,從高山到溪谷,從海岸到小鎮,每個季節都是好日子,適合一覽島內風光。搭配單車可快可慢,適應各種路段地形,翻山、越嶺、涉水都不成問題。

想來一趟踩踏之旅嗎?不妨來聽聽《光華》「騎行台灣」的提案吧!


位居新竹縣地理中心的竹東鎮,舊稱「樹杞林」,有縣道122貫穿,是此趟「騎行台灣」的起點。

鎮上有數個雅致的景點,充滿竹縣人的記憶。位在三民街上的蕭如松藝術園區是紅磚外牆、黑瓦檜木的日式宿舍建築。蕭如松是台灣美術史上重要的水彩畫家,在新竹地區任教近四十年。只有高中學歷的他,不曾出國留學,靠著自修苦學、揣摩各類西洋畫派風格,內化成自己的畫風,獲國內各大美展肯定。他的故居則被保存下來,成為鎮上的風景。鄰近800公尺處,還有由原「林務局新竹林區管理處竹東工作站」改建為「竹東林業展示館」。竹東昔日與東勢、羅東為台灣三大林業的集散地,但隨著1992年全面禁伐天然林,曾經商賈往來、人車絡繹的林業小鎮,失了優勢,林業的痕跡幾乎在鎮上消失;所幸還有「竹東林業展示館」用文物述說林業的故事,讓林場的歷史繼續為人所知。

彩繪軟橋,生態有機

車行到122縣道26K處,兩旁景致除了鬱綠的山景和田園風光,還添一分色彩和童趣。電線桿上彩繪了逗人的財神,民居的牆面畫了半露丁字褲、模樣討喜的客家村姑,軟橋彩繪村的名聲,在122縣道上傳開了。

社區規劃師彭松舉解釋,當初為了防治小黑蚊,把社區住屋牆腳的青苔刮除、刷白,軟橋女婿吳尊賢發揮創意,在社區各處空白的牆上畫下客家農村生活的樣貌,老丈人家門口繁複的千人彩繪,更富含人生百態與警世名言,儼然「現代浮世繪」。

彩繪讓這個靜謐的小鎮突然多了許多遊客,連我們也好奇地在此地停下腳步。但彭松舉說:「彩繪只是社區營造的一部分,軟橋社區更大的魅力在於豐富的有機生態和人文景觀。」

經營「生活田莊」餐廳的黎許傳,在三十多年前辭了台北的教職,返鄉照顧父母,他解釋:「這邊是上坪溪的沖積平原;擷取上坪溪水源的竹東圳,也是今天台灣經濟命脈新竹科學園區的水源之地。」

12年前,軟橋社區已推展有機農法、友善土地,是農糧署輔導的北區生態聚落之一,「這邊約有300種鳥類」彭松舉說,他種了如青剛櫟、楊梅等樹種,吸引鳥兒來築巢,「生態不須很用力去執行,就是放任它,回歸大自然就好。」

行經122縣道時,建議可在軟橋社區稍作停留,沿著小路欣賞彩繪聚落,或繞騎田區一周,品賞山景水色,或吃一頓黎許傳用心栽培、烹煮的有機客家菜,體驗客家在地的小鎮風情。

原住民與少帥相遇

單車繼續在上坡道奮鬥著,來到122線道48K岔路處的張學良故居。

1936年震驚中外的「西安事變」,停頓了張學良所有的生命歷程,這位自述「我的事情只到36歲,以後就沒有了」的東北少帥,此後的生命多在管束中度過。1946年,與趙一荻(人稱「趙四小姐」)被秘密送到台灣來後,新竹的上井溫泉(清泉部落)是他們停駐約13年的地方,也意外跟泰雅族人譜出一段相遇的緣分。

故居的導覽員、泰雅族的秀菊雅外解說,當年張學良被護送到清泉時,出入皆有侍衛隊荷槍實彈戒備,部落耆老只知道有位大人物入住,並不知真實身分。張學良與原住民的接觸則起因於1947年的「228事件」,當時情勢警戒,波及全台,山區因交通封鎖,有斷糧之虞。秀菊雅外轉述,當時耆老見張的住處多日未見炊煙,趨近詢問侍衛隊,才發現補給的糧食進不來,耆老因此募集許多地瓜贈予少帥,才度過難關。自此張學良要求,此後糧食三分之二由在地供應,幫助部落的經濟,與泰雅族人有進一步的交流。部落的婦女也與趙四小姐親近,留下的寫真相片記錄了跨越族群的緣分。

再折回122縣道,這條為了運送檜木,在日據時代即開通的道路(時稱「井上道路」),對原住民的生計也影響很大。林業的興盛提供原住民工作機會,運材的卡車也充當部落對外的交通車;秀菊雅外從媽媽口中得知,族人會算準卡車出車的時間,在路口等著,付一點零錢,搭上往山區或竹東的便車,而這又是另一段因林業衍生的故事。

從伐木到護林

單車接續往山裡踩踏,經過土場部落後,正式進入大鹿林道的範圍。大鹿林道是國民政府來台後為運送林木而闢建的。此前日據時代伐木多以流籠、台車索道集運木材,因為交通不便,故只選擇經濟價值較高的木料才砍伐,稱為「擇伐」。

但到了1960年代,台灣林業發生重大的變革,引進動力機具,進入了全面皆伐的時代。再加上大鹿林道開通,大量珍貴樹材經此再通122縣道,運送到竹東集散、加工,成就了竹東林業小鎮的繁榮。

「1990年代,國家的林業政策方向轉向全面禁伐天然林,對山林的態度也從『經濟使用』轉向著重『公益效益』。」林務局新竹林區管理處竹東工作站主任朱劍鳴說。他1990年進入林務局,公務生涯正好見證了林業的轉型。1995年,「觀霧國家森林遊樂園」成立,轉由從生態旅遊、環境教育等面相引導人們親近山林;在現有的步道上還可見昔日伐木的木馬道、台車軌道的遺跡,榛山步道還留有當年吊掛運輸段木的牽引機具。晚近幾年,再加入原住民權益的討論,這片山林原是泰雅、賽夏族的傳統領域,多年來透過溝通協調,今年年初林務局與賽夏族簽署了夥伴關係,未來在園區內還會設立泰雅廣場,尊重原住民曾在此山林生活的歷史。「遊樂園不光只是保育動、植物的資源,少了『人』就缺了多元。」朱劍鳴闡述林務局任務工作的轉變。

永續山林,與自然共生

大鹿林道的終點是觀霧山莊,車行至此,里程已近56公里。

觀霧山莊原為林務局的員工宿舍,2004年歷艾利風災後重創,時隔13年,今年初重新開幕。山莊門口兩側,一株年近百歲的霧社櫻,每年3月開花,另一側台灣檫樹是第三季冰河孑遺植物,也是台灣特有種,2月是它的花期,金黃色的花朵襯著藍天,是走過、路過不能錯過的美景。

翌日,我們放倒腳踏車,改以步行探索觀霧。

志工林玉琴和技術士李聲銘是我們此行的嚮導,我們擇檜山巨木群步道一探。已有三十多年志工經歷的林玉琴,她細心地教我們分辨同屬檜木屬的紅檜和扁柏,扁柏的樹型是一路直通往上生長,紅檜在成樹時易有分叉,而且因常受真菌侵蝕,靠近樹根處會中空。她說台灣中海拔的林相大概差不多,但是觀霧國家森林遊樂區是台灣最容易遠眺「聖稜線」的所在,不需負重翻山行軍數天數夜,在樂山林道3~4K沿線即可看到遠處由大霸尖山、小霸尖山到雪山綿延的聖稜線,看了讓人心嚮往之。而且想要一次看足棣慕華鳳仙花、黃花鳳仙花、紫花鳳仙花,也只在觀霧地區限定。這邊也是觀霧山椒魚的發現地,這個喜好生活在潮濕陰暗石頭下的兩棲類,是冰河時期孑遺物種,也是推測台灣早期氣候的例證。

辨識植物是李聲銘的專長,他一路上搜尋、掃描著步道旁的植被,告訴我們「這個不可不拍」、「那個難得一見」,像5隻兔子在開會的阿里山繁縷、馬鞭蘭、超少見的鐵線蕨葉人字果、嗩吶草、有個像蠍子尾巴的附地草、台灣堇菜、八角蓮、遇開花季節才冒出土層的阿里山水晶蘭,都難逃其法眼。

在巨木的棧道下,林玉琴撿起直徑約只有5mm紅檜的毬果,撥開鱗片,紅檜的種子比一粒芝麻還小,再看看眼前高達42公尺的巨木,她感概:「這麼一顆小小的種子要熬過多少天災人禍,多少蟲類、黴菌的侵害,才能長成這樣的參天大樹,就知道這有多不容易。」

而另一頭,卻見李聲銘把掉落在棧道上毬果收集裝袋,「它在這邊沒有(生存)機會,我要把它帶到崩塌地去撒。」之後,路行到一片光禿禿的崩塌斜壁,只見他朝斜壁撒了數把紅檜的毬果,「這邊沒有大樹遮蔽,日照充足,有種子發芽所需的陽光。」李聲銘一邊動作,一邊說明。

落在碎石間的毬果,或許夭折,或許長成下個世代的巨木,命運未知,但我在心裡默禱,要好好長大呦!

一趟騎行的旅程,我們一探新竹林業的軌跡,曾經有無數林業的從業人員在這路線上奔走,而這片山林也曾因人類不知節制而重創,所幸我們慢慢地填補了傷口,把樹木種回來,了解與自然共生才是永續的唯一途徑,後代才能享有森林的庇蔭。

騎行在有陽光灑落的林道上,呼吸滿腔的芬多精,兩旁滿眼綠意的森林;剎時雲霧突起,可視距離不到兩尺,又一個轉角,瞥見翻騰的雲海,如浪濤起,「觀霧」果然名實相符。我們何其幸運,能經驗此瞬息萬變的美景,感受風速與陽光的觸擁,這也是單車限定的福利。                      

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近期文章

英文

Encounters in the Clouds

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Scott Williams

American author Ernest Heming­way once wrote: “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”

Though not large, Taiwan ranges across more than 3,000 meters of elevation. Its peaks and valleys, coastlines and villages, and lovely days in every season offer stunning views of its varied landscapes. When touring it on a bicycle, one can travel as quickly or slowly as the terrain demands, and easily work up a sweat climbing up and over the mountains.

Need some ideas for a a cycling trip? Come along with us!


We begin this month’s excursion in Zhu­dong, a town located in the geographic center of Hsin­chu County. Our route will take us up County Road 122, which passes right through the town.

Alongside Dong­shi in Tai­chung and Luo­dong in Yi­lan, Zhu­dong was once one of the three most important centers of Taiwan’s logging industry. But that changed in 1992 when the government banned logging in natural forests. Although the ban cost the town most traces of this once vibrant industry, the Zhu­dong Timber Industry Exhibition Hall remains to pass along its history.

Painted Ruanqiao

The area around County Road 122’s 26-kilo­meter marker is filled with farmlands and deep-green mountain scenery, as well as other bright bits of color and fun that can’t fail to delight one’s inner child. Ruan­qiao Community, known as “Ruan­qiao Painted Village,” boasts highlights that include humorous paintings of the God of Wealth atop a utility pole and a Hakka farm girl flashing the top of a thong.

Community planner Peng ­Songju says that the beautification effort began after the community scraped away the moss at the base of walls to control the population of a biting midge, Forcipomyia taiwana, and then painted the walls white. Wu Zun­xian, a Ruan­qiao resident brought here by marriage, then suggested decorating the walls with images of life in this Hakka farming village.

The paintings caused a sudden upsurge in tourists visiting this once quiet locale. Curious, we too stop in for a look. Peng adds: “The paintings are only a part of what we’ve created here. Our organic ecosystem and cultural landscape are even more charming.”

Li Xu­chuan, who operates the Farm Life Kitchen, tells us that this is the alluvial plain of the Shang­ping River. “The Zhu­dong canal, which captures some of the river’s water, provides the water supply for the Hsin­chu Science Park.”

The Ruan­qiao Community began promoting organic agriculture and ecofriendly land use practices 12 years ago, and has been designated one of the Agricultural and Food Agency’s “Northern Taiwan Eco-Villages.” “The area is home to roughly 300 bird species,” says Peng, whose ring-cupped oak (Quercus glauca) and yang­mei (Myrica rubra) trees are popular nesting places. “Being ecofriendly isn’t a lot of work. You just leave the land alone and let it return to its natural state.”

The Young Marshal and the Aborigines

After visiting Ruan­qiao, we continue to fight our way up the slope to the former residence of the “Young Marshal” ­­Zhang Xue­liang (­Chang ­Hsueh-liang), which stands near a fork in the road at the 48-km marker.

Zhang was a key figure in the 1936 Xi’an Incident, which not only jolted China and the world, but also completely upended his own life. Sent secretly to Taiwan with his mistress and later wife Edith Chao in 1946, Zhang and Chao would spend the next 13 years living in Qing­quan Village, where they developed a connection to the local Ata­yal community.

Xiuju Ya­wai, an Ata­yal woman who works as a guide at the residence, says that when ­Zhang first arrived, armed guards accompanied him everywhere he went. Village elders had no idea who he was, only that he was someone important. The Young Marshal and the Aboriginal community didn’t really meet one another until the February 28 Incident in 1947. The island was under military lockdown and the roads from the plains into the mountains were closed, which gave rise to worries about food shortages. ­Xiuju Ya­wai says that when village elders noticed that there had been no smoke from the residence for several days and approached the guards to ask about the situation, they learned that the residence’s food deliveries hadn’t arrived. The elders responded by gathering up a large number of sweet potatoes and giving them to the Young Marshal to help the household weather the crisis. From that point on, ­Zhang requested that two-thirds of the residence’s food be sourced locally, which brought the residence into closer contact with the village and provided a boost to the latter’s economy.

County Road 122 opened during the period of Japan­ese rule. Originally built to transport Formosan cypress logs, it had a significant impact on the livelihoods of the Aborigines in the area. The rise of the timber industry provided local Aborigines with jobs, and its trucks provided them with transportation out of the mountains. In those days, locals could hitch a ride on a timber truck headed down to Zhu­dong or back into the mountains for the cost of a little pocket change.

From cutting to protecting

Continuing on into the mountains, we cycle through Tu­chang Village (Ruba’) and then pedal onto the Dalu Forest Road, a logging road built by the government and completed in 1964. During the Japanese era, loggers used ropeways to transport timber out of the area, and focused on high-value trees because of the difficulty of getting the logs out of the mountains. Taiwan’s timber industry underwent a revolution in the 1960s when it began introducing power tools and clear-cutting forests.

“In 1990, Taiwan’s forestry policy became one of completely halting the logging of natural forests,” says Zhu Jian­ming, head of the Forestry Bureau’s Zhu­dong Station. “The attitude changed from making economic use of forests to treating them as a public good.”

The government went on to establish the ­Guanwu National Forest Recreation Area in 1995, and used ecotourism and environmental education to bring visitors to the forest. The recreation area’s trails offer views of the remains of the Japanese-era ropeway conveyor, and its Zhen­shan Trail even passes by remnants of the con­veyor’s drive system. In recent years, the preservation efforts have also taken Aboriginal rights into consideration. Recognizing that the forest is the traditional territory of both the Ata­yal and Sai­si­yat peoples, the Forestry Bureau further transformed its mission by signing a partnership agreement with the Sai­si­yat at the beginning of this year.

Sustainable forests

The Dalu Forest Road reaches its terminus at the ­Guanwu Cabins, some 56 kilometers from where we started our cycling tour.

The cabins were formerly a Forestry Bureau workers’ dormitory. Rebuilt after 2004’s Typhoon Aere, they reopened to the general public just this year.

We spend the next day exploring Guanwu on foot.

Volunteer Lin Yu­qin and technical specialist Lee Shen­ming guide us on our hike, taking us out on the Kuai­shan Big Trees Trail. Lin, a volunteer here for more than 30 years, carefully explains to us the difference between Formosan cypress, which frequently forks, and rail-straight Taiwan hi­noki. She says that while Taiwan’s middle-­elevation forests all look much the same, what makes Guanwu special is the fact that it offers fantastic views of the so-called “Holy Ridge.” Looking out from between the 3- and 4-km markers of the Le­shan Forest Trail, hikers can see the entire ridge ranging from Mts. Da­ba­jian and Xiao­ba­jian all the way to Xue­shan. It is a truly magnificent view. ­Guanwu is also the only place in the world to see the touch-me-not species Impatiens devolii, Impatiens tayemonii and Impatiens uniflora all in one location, and is the site where the Taiwan lesser salamander (Hynobius fuca) was discovered. An amphibian that prefers damp, shaded environments, this salamander is actually a relict species that has been in Taiwan since the last Ice Age.

Lee Shen­ming also shows us how to recognize a number of plants. Searching the vegetation beside the trail, he identifies Ali­shan chickweed (Stellaria arisanensis), whose flowers look like five rabbits having a meeting; the orchid species Cremastra appendiculata; the rarely seen buttercup­-family species Dichocarpum arisanensis; the miterwort species Mitella formosana; Trigonotis formosana, a plant in the borage family with inflorescences that are curled like a scorpion’s tail; Formosan violet (Viola formosana); Chinese mayapple (Dysosma pleiantha); and even false Indian pipe (Cheilotheca macrocarpa), which only breaks through the soil surface in its flowering season. None can escape his keen eye.

Lin picks up a Formosan cypress cone just 5 millimeters in diameter from beneath a boardwalk that passes among the giant trees. She pulls back a scale to reveal a seed even smaller than a sesame seed, then looks again at the 42-meter-tall tree. “How many natural and human disasters, how many bug and mold infestations must such a tiny seed endure to grow into such a skyscraper of a tree?” muses Lin. “You can imagine how hard it must be.”

Lee picks up some more Formosan cypress cones from the walkway and places them in a bag. “They have no chance of survival here. I’ll bring them to where there’s been a landslip.” We continue walking until we reach a spot where the ground has collapsed. Without any large trees, there’s plenty of the sunlight the seeds need to sprout. Lee tosses several cones onto the ground, and I offer a silent prayer for the trees to grow tall and strong!

Our cycling tour explored the remaining traces of Hsin­chu’s timber industry, at times traveling the same roads that its innumerable workers did. Though the industry’s unrestrained exploitation in those days severely damaged the forest, we have since learned that coexisting with Nature is the only sustainable path forward, the only one that allows future generations to enjoy our forests, and have begun slowly replanting trees and healing those old wounds.

Our journey took us along a sun-speckled forest road, breathing in the phytoncides and surrounded by the green of the trees; saw us enveloped by a sudden fog that limited visibility to just a couple of meters and showed ­Guanwu (“observe the fog”) living up to its name; and then, round yet another bend, revealed a surging sea of clouds. We feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to experience ­Guanwu’s wonderfully varied and beautiful scenery, and doubly so for having enjoyed it from our bicycles, wrapped in the gentle embrace of the sun and wind.     

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