Monday, 16 November 2015

A Brilliant Morning In Guguan (谷關), Taichung: Once More At The Tianlun Dam (天輪壩) & The Ma'an Barrage (馬鞍壩)

Yesterday I got up early (4.30am) and got my act together on time to take the first HSR train north to Taichung. I had only one thing in mind: to get into the Dajia river bed at Guguan (谷關) and walk around the bends upstream to see and photograph the downstream face of the Tianlun dam (天輪壩). Although I had previously visited the area and photographed the small reservoir and facilities from the upstream side, the only way to see the downstream face of the dam is from the riverbed directly opposite, and I hadn't had time to do that. This time I had only that in mind, and nothing else.

Timings: Train arrived in Taichung at 7.30am or so, and I was out of there and on the bike in about ten to fifteen minutes. Although I stopped for gas, I still got out of Taichung city surprisingly quickly and got onto the Taichung 99 at about 8.15am and made the switch to the 95 at 8.35am. I was across the river and onto the central cross-island highway (8) by 8.45am (despite getting stuck behind a slow driver). Arrived in Guguan itself at about 9.10am. So that's just over an hour and a half from the train pulling into the station to me parking my motorbike in Guguan, which is not bad at all.

Hotels in Guguan, as seen from the riverbed.
The view upstream with a bridge connecting the two parts of Guguan on either side of the river.
The walk upstream in the riverbed took about thirty minutes until the dam itself came into view. The little stream had to be waded through barefoot; it wasn't deep but it was chilly.
At just before 10am much of the valley was still in the cool shade.
Direct view of the Tianlun dam from the northern side of the riverbed.
A closer view of the dam taken with the 18mm kit lens with a graduated filter attached.
View overlooking the reservoir behind the Tianlun dam. 
Telephoto shot of the upstream side of the dam gates.
Entrapment pen to let water out into another tunnel that runs downstream to the hydroelectric plant.
Water release gate, letting water out into the reservoir from another hydroelectric plant further upstream.
The same release gate viewed head-on from the south.
The hydroelectric plant downstream from the Tianlun dam and just before the Ma'an barrage.
Yet another bend in the Dajia river as it proceeds toward the Ma'an barrage.
The upstream view of the gates of the Ma'an barrage as viewed from behind the reeds on the northern shoreline.
Another view of the Ma'an barrage with a full river.
Downstream face of the Ma'an barrage.
Overall, this was a successful trip; no major problems, everything done on time, fantastic light and weather and a good feeling. Whilst stopping for a break in Guguan to eat and drink, I noticed an SYM SB 300, which I believe is a new bike that wasn't previously on the market. It was a single cylinder engine with a large gas tank, but otherwise the same basic layout as my two bikes; just owner invited me to lunch, but I had to refuse because I wanted to be back in Tainan as quickly as possible to get the dogs out. I got back to Taichung city in good time and caught the 2pm train back to Tainan and got back into the house at just after 3pm. Very pleased with that.

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