It is coming close to Christmas, and for many mountain communities a very important time - possibly more important than the Lunar New Year festival.
The stable (meaning dry - a drought is predicted) weather means recovery work has proceeded quicker than predicted, and all major roads damaged by Morakot are now open to traffic. This does not mean all roads are perfect, far from it. Several are still unsurfaced in sections, some are considered dangerous and tourists are strongly discouraged from using them (No 20 between Taoyuan and Lidao, No 24 to Wutai/Ali). Almost all are temporary fixes, at times following new routes along river beds and are very unlikely to survive the next rainy season.
Of course there is lots of argument about the designations being given certain roads, or sections of of roads: 'Category A' (甲) means the target it to have the road properly reconstructed along the original route with a stated timescale of 1 to 2 years. 'Category B' (乙) roads are pending further research on possible routes and will soon be given a target date for reconstruction. The 'Category C' (丙) roads may not be worked on for years, and will probably be very prone to damage for a long time.
The Southern Link rail line from Kaohsiung to Taidung is back to normal. Still no good news on the Alishan Forest Railway.
The main peak of Yushan is 'temporarily' open, but will probably be closed during February. We hope to have Main Peak hikes running as normal from March onwards. No predictions yet on remoter trails in the park.
If planning trips in affected areas this holiday season, phone ahead first for up to date information, and drive with extra caution - there are lots of extra reasons not to drive recklessly.