Nov. 8 is lidong, the day that officially represents the start of winter. Yet temperatures in central Taiwan are still high during the day time, and it hasn’t rained for quite some time. Very few of the leaves on the green maple trees in the Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area, a popular site for people wanting to view the maple leaves, have turned red, and people may have to wait until mid-November to December to view red maple leaf scenery. Due to the lack of rain for a period of time, staff at the Nantou Forest District Office are concerned that if the dry spell continues and the maple leaves do not change color, the leaves will just wilt away.
In another two weeks, we will reach lidong, the 19th of the 24 solar terms, which means we will have already entered winter. Unfortunately, from the beginning of fall, day time temperatures have remained high, reaching 30 degrees Celsius at noon. Even though the cold weather is late in coming, Nature lovers are already rubbing their hands in anticipation and making their plans for the maple leaf viewing trips, and rooms for Saturdays in November for the popular maple leaf viewing spot the Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area have been booked up the minute they have come available online. Visitors are still going to the area to see the red maple leaves.
According to staff at the district office, only a very small number of the leaves on the green maple trees in the park have turned red, as the weather has yet to turn cool. They say that many tourists have been trying to find out when the leaves are expected to change color this year, but the weather is still warm and, going by the experience of previous years, one would normally expect the colors to change on most of the trees between the middle of November and December, when temperatures would usually vary by up to 15 degrees Celsius over the course of the day. If temperatures fall to as low as eight degrees Celsius or colder in one day, the maple leaves will change color; if, however, temperatures fail to drop, the optimal time for maple leaf viewing will be delayed.
Photo courtesy of the Nantou Forest District Office
The office staff added that they are currently more concerned about the continued lack of rainfall. If the dry weather continues, the maple leaves might not actually change color at all, and will just die off.
(Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
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