|Looking downstream on the Zhuoshui river bed from the 71 bridge in Wuchieh village. In the distance a concrete arch bridge spans the valley to shoulder the weight of an enormous water pipe delivering water to Sun Moon Lake.|
As usual, I didn't get the early night necessary and so struggled to rise and shine in time, not getting up until just after 5 a.m. which meant that by the time I had necked a cup of coffee, showered, changed, walked all the dogs and got my kit together, it was well after 6 a.m. We arrived in Ershui at about 8.30 a.m. and made it into Shuili just before 9 a.m. Without pausing we drove on up the 131, and eventually got onto the mountain ridge above the Wuchieh valley by 10 a.m. and to the east side of Wuchieh reservoir itself shortly afterward.
Wuchieh reservoir has two dams; one to the north and one to the south, both of which can only be partially seen. The northernmost section of the northern dam, which houses the entrapment pen for the original Japanese tunnel, is hidden from the observer on the opposite shoreline by a convex spur of mountain, and the northern half of the southern dam is entirely obscured by a similar interceding thrust of mountain. The purpose of this trip was to get clear views and photographs of the upstream faces of both dams and, in addition, some photographs of the downstream face of the southern dam (the downstream face of the northern dam is hidden inside the mountain with only sluiceway tunnel mouths visible on the other side).
The problem that had to be solved was perspective; on the shoreline opposite the two dams is a road, the Nantou 83 (which runs south-west through a tunnel out to Wuchieh village and becomes the Nantou 71), from which views toward both dams can be had. However, the views toward the southern dam in particular are partially blocked by trees and rushes, and partially obscured by perspective...
|The northern dam at Wuchieh reservoir, partially obscured by an elbow of trees to the right.|
Unfortunately the road leads straight to a locked gate and fence. On the other side of that gate, there is a grass verge backed up against the mountainside from which it would be impossible to see either dam. However, there was also a dirt track leaving the slip road northward through the reeds. We parked and followed this track on foot; for most of its' length the trees and reeds are more than sufficiently tall to block out all views of the reservoir but after a short while it ends in an open area with a dried-up stream bed which in turn leads down to the reservoir. From there, good views were available across the reservoir to the northern dam and the original entrapment pen, but still only very partial views to the southern dam.
|View westward to the northern dam from where the dried up stream bed reaches the reservoir.|
(What went wrong was the edges; the brightness levels were massively increased out of proportion with the rest of the image and certainly don't match the same areas in the original images).
|Another partially eclipsed view of the gates astride the southern dam taken from the eastern shoreline.|
|View of the southern dam from some distance; I now know that it has six tainter gates rather than the four I had previously supposed.|
|The rickety old wooden suspension bridge spanning the S curve in the Zhuoshui river before Wuchieh village.|
|The downstream face of the southern dam; six tainter gates on top of a spillway slope very similar to the spillway at Mingde reservoir in Miaoli county, if perhaps slightly taller and maybe built at a more abrupt angle.|