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Enjoying beauty and hospitality of Hualien's Sixty-Rock Day-Lily Mountain

By Lishea Cheng
Translated by Yvonne Chen

       What started as an east-coast scouting mission became a discovery of utopia. The Yun-Min region--in the Chu-Tien village of Hualien's Fuli township--was filled, as its name implied, with hazy clouds floating among overlapping hills of golden day-lilies. The kind host at the Mountain King Lodge convinced us to stay for the fun of it.

       There, we enjoyed a festival at the Tsuen-Min Ranch, with torch-lit barbeques and Ami aboriginal dances, which added a primal feeling, like walking back in time to a rural evening in times past. We ordered a late-night snack of minced meat over rice and soup, made of renowned locally-grown day-lily flowers, mushrooms and tasty wild chicken--all for only NT$60. The meal was accompanied by a poignant, blissful night valley view.

       A sunny, bright dawn arrived at 5 a.m. the next day and we feasted on continually-changing clouds for breakfast and, unwillingly, departed for the hillside blossoms at 9 a.m. At the Der-Sen Organic Ranch valley, Moon-Gaze Gazebo was surrounded by day-lilies in full bloom with an azure sky and white clouds in the background. Cameras snapped away at the irrestible scene until the ranch owner urged us on, but only after a sip of rock-sugar day-lily flower tea.

       Flower pickers peppered the roadside, three to a group. The locals harvest half of the flower buds, leaving the rest to form an amazing sea of blossoms. Lured by the striking sight, we stopped at Golden Blossom Gazebo for a glance of the Hualien-Taitung basin, then hurriedly headed to the performance. The program, organized by the Sixty-Rock Mountain-area Ami tribes and Hakka villagers, had begun and we joined in the folk dances.

       Dried day-lily flowers were on display at the Forget-Worries Garden square. Processing procedures vary, depending on variety, region, cultivation, harvest, processing environment and other factors. Safety protocols ensure that residual sulfur dioxide levels remain within limits. With such procedures, the day-lily trade can perhaps progress into a stable and permanent operation.

       The children's drawing contest at the festival provided a free Fuli boxed lunch for every drawing turned in. For a taste that rivaled Chishang boxed meals, we descended the mountain, went south on Provincial Highway 9, and came to the restaurant next to the Fuli Farmers Association rice-husking mill. For NT$49 we gorged, in a spacious comfortable setting, on a wooden boxed meal of fragrant rice and tasty dishes, plus hot day-lily flower soup seasoned to our own liking.

       The clang of a gong at the festival launched the two-month flower season, with waves of day-lily blossoms. For a romantic splash of "summer-sizzling" orange, visit the Forget-Worries Gazebo at to top of the mountain for a view of the entire valley. Other wonderfully spiritual and therapeutic sites on the descent include the Sadness Therapy, Scarlet Thorn, Shiuan Grass, Golden Blossom and Moon-Gaze (the first by the entrance) gazebos.

       This spring, visit Sixty-Rock Mountain and enjoy the picturesque landscape. For instructions on getting there, call any of the following places for guided trips to the poetic Day-Lily Mountain, filled with warm local hospitality.

      Recently, Mountain King Lodge will change a new name which will be Sixty-Rock Mountain Shang Hsing Wu ( Star Seeing House ) and will offer you a place suitable to admire stars.

Travel information:

Forget-Worries Garden (03) 882-1690; Blackfish Manor (03) 883-0318, 882-1658; Chun-Ming Ranch (03) 882-1678; Zhi-Ming Ranch (03) 882-1606, 882-1083; Mountain King Ranch (03) 882-1821, 882-1273; De-Sen Organic Ranch (03) 882-1665; Xiang-Ru Lodge (03) 882-1342; Long-An Tea Factory (03) 882-1743, 886-1142; Ya-She-Xiao-Zhu (03) 882-1054, 882-1866; Yi-Shun Leisure Ranch (03) 882-1513, 882-1123; Iron Shopkeeper Tea House (03) 882-1051, 882-1670; Yi-Ran Leisure Manor (03) 882-1698, 882-1807; Mom Peng's Hakka Eatery (03) 882-1318, 883-0318; Shang-Xuan-Fang Leisure Manor (03) 882-1050, 882-1668

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