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A frog goes hiking: 桃山 (Tao shan) and 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 08:32

After weeks of trying we were finally lucky enough to be able to reserve sleeping space in the 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) right near the top of 桃山 (Tao shan). I had previously been to 桃山 (Tao shan) but this meant a two-day hiking trip with the chance for a quick visit to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan), which was the only peak of the 武陵四秀 (Wu ling's four great mountains) I hadn't been yet.

桃山 (Tao shan) is impressive because it has a 360° view and you can see so many famous mountains of the 雪山山脈 (Xue shan mountain range). The fact that the mountain hut is only five minutes from the top also means that there's no better place to take night pictures with less effort.

The first day pretty much consisted of lugging the heavy overnight pack to the top and then enjoying the view until it got dark. On the second day we got up before sunrise to try and catch the sunrise at the peak (it was covered by the sea of clouds) and then separated. Two of us headed to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) with daypacks while the rest started their descent. After returning from 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) we grabbed our overnight packs and headed down as well.

The weather was great almost the whole time and without a single drop of rain. There was a short period where fog and clouds were pulling up but they got blown away by wind and by the time we got to the peak there was a beautiful sea of clouds left, making for amazing views.


Overview

The red track is day 1 from the trail head to 桃山 (Tao shan). The green track is the first half of day 2 from 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) and back.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Elevation chart

Day 1: 武陵農場 (Wuling villa) to 桃山 (Tao shan):


Day 2 (first half): 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan):



GPS track

Day 1: 武陵農場 (Wuling villa) to 桃山 (Tao shan):

Day 2 (first half): 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan):


Hiking log

As always, the altitudes are approximate.

Day 1: 武陵農場 (Wuling villa) to 桃山 (Tao shan):

0850: Departure from 武陵農場 (Wuling villa), 1840 m
0910: 桃山 (Tao shan) trail head, 1945 m
1135: 黑水塘 (Hei shui tang), 2690 m
1200: Lunch break, 2870 m
1230: Continue
1345: 桃山山頂 (Tao shan peak), 3325 m

Day 2 (first half): 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) and back:

0555: Departure from 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut), 3280 m
0600: 桃山山頂 (Tao shan peak), 3325 m
0605: Departure
0705: 詩崙山 (Shi lun shan), 3149 m
0755: 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan), 3133 m
0815: Departure
0900: 詩崙山 (Shi lun shan), 3149 m
1015: 桃山山頂 (Tao shan peak), 3325 m
1020: 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut), 3280 m

Day 2 (second half): 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) to 武陵農場 (Wuling villa):

1055: Departure from 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut)
1105: 桃山山頂 (Tao shan peak), 3325 m
1205: Short lunch break, 2685 m
1225: Continue
1325: 桃山 (Tao shan) trail head
1355: Back at 武陵農場 (Wuling villa)


Photos

Day 1

武陵山莊 (Wu ling villa), conveniently located right next to the trail head.

武陵山莊 (Wu ling villa), conveniently located right next to the trail head.

武陵橋 (Wu ling bridge), the entrance to 桃山瀑布 (Taoshan waterfall) and 武陵四秀, the four great mountains of Wu ling.

武陵橋 (Wu ling bridge), the entrance to 桃山瀑布 (Taoshan waterfall) and 武陵四秀, the four great mountains of Wu ling.

The clear water of 七家灣溪 (Qi jia wan brook).

The clear water of 七家灣溪 (Qi jia wan brook).

The crossroad to the various trail heads. We went straight because it's the fastest, though not the only, way to 桃山 (Tao shan).

The crossroad to the various trail heads. We went straight because it's the fastest, though not the only, way to 桃山 (Tao shan).

Another small waterfall on the way.

Another small waterfall on the way.

The first part of the trail leads through this forest.

The first part of the trail leads through this forest.

After 1-2 kilometers the forest gets lighter and the view gets better.

After 1-2 kilometers the forest gets lighter and the view gets better.

Looking back to 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm).

Looking back to 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm).

(untitled)
(untitled)
At 2.2 km the forest clearing makes for a nice hike but sadly the blue sky ahead was already turning gray.

At 2.2 km the forest clearing makes for a nice hike but sadly the blue sky ahead was already turning gray.

Benches along the way just before the trail reenters the forest.

Benches along the way just before the trail reenters the forest.

黑水塘 (Hei shui tang or "Black water pond").

黑水塘 (Hei shui tang or "Black water pond").

Looking ahead the top of 桃山 (Tao shan) was already shrouded in clouds.

Looking ahead the top of 桃山 (Tao shan) was already shrouded in clouds.

Another look back where the weather looks better.

Another look back where the weather looks better.

A helicopter landing spot along the way.

A helicopter landing spot along the way.

Beautiful view of Wu ling valley.

Beautiful view of Wu ling valley.

The upper and steeper part of the trail where the forest has made way to smaller shrubs.

The upper and steeper part of the trail where the forest has made way to smaller shrubs.

(untitled)
Finally, the peak of 桃山 (Tao shan) in sight!

Finally, the peak of 桃山 (Tao shan) in sight!

The bluish-black cones of a Taiwan fir.

The bluish-black cones of a Taiwan fir.

A final patch of forest before the ascent to the peak.

A final patch of forest before the ascent to the peak.

The last meters up to the foggy peak.

The last meters up to the foggy peak.

The peak of 桃山 (Tao shan).

The peak of 桃山 (Tao shan).

The peak has a number of stones and panels. Ironically the tall triangulation stone on the left is mobile and doubles as a make-shift tripod at night. :-)

The peak has a number of stones and panels. Ironically the tall triangulation stone on the left is mobile and doubles as a make-shift tripod at night. :-)

桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) is towards the left, just a few minutes down the mountain. Towards the right is the trail to ...

桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) is towards the left, just a few minutes down the mountain. Towards the right is the trail to ...

喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) where we would head the next morning. Note the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_spectre Brocken spectre] (觀音圈) on the lower right, the halo-like appearance surrounding my shadow. This phenomenon can sometimes be observed if the sun is directly behind one's back shining at the fog.

喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) where we would head the next morning. Note the Brocken spectre (觀音圈) on the lower right, the halo-like appearance surrounding my shadow. This phenomenon can sometimes be observed if the sun is directly behind one's back shining at the fog.

The view towards 雪山 (Xue shan), Taiwan's second tallest peak, on the far left. The remarkable peak on the right is 品田山 (Pin tian shan), which is also one of Wu ling's great four mountains.

The view towards 雪山 (Xue shan), Taiwan's second tallest peak, on the far left. The remarkable peak on the right is 品田山 (Pin tian shan), which is also one of Wu ling's great four mountains.

Because we were staying at the mountain hut there was plenty of time to pass on the peak as the sky opened up and revealed the sun.

Because we were staying at the mountain hut there was plenty of time to pass on the peak as the sky opened up and revealed the sun.

The short trail from the peak to the mountain hut.

The short trail from the peak to the mountain hut.

A small patch of forest separates the peak from the mountain hut.

A small patch of forest separates the peak from the mountain hut.

桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) at last with 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the background peeking out of the clouds.

桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) at last with 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the background peeking out of the clouds.

Close-up of 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

Close-up of 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

After dinner we headed back to the peak to take some night shots like this one towards Taiwan's east coast.

After dinner we headed back to the peak to take some night shots like this one towards Taiwan's east coast.

Night view of 南湖大山 (Nan hu da shan) slightly left of center and 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan). At 3742 and 3705 meters above sea level they are both among Taiwan's ten tallest peaks.

Night view of 南湖大山 (Nan hu da shan) slightly left of center and 中央尖山 (Zhong yang jian shan). At 3742 and 3705 meters above sea level they are both among Taiwan's ten tallest peaks.

Starry sky above 雪山 (Xue shan) and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao), the twin peaks on the left, 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak), slightly right of center, and 品田山 (Pin tian shan) further on the right.

Starry sky above 雪山 (Xue shan) and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao), the twin peaks on the left, 雪山北峰 (Xue shan north peak), slightly right of center, and 品田山 (Pin tian shan) further on the right.

Night view towards 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan). On the left you can still recognize the trail leading past the weather station down to the mountain hut.

Night view towards 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan). On the left you can still recognize the trail leading past the weather station down to the mountain hut.

The silhouette of 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

The silhouette of 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan).

Day 2

桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) in the early morning.

桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) in the early morning.

The first rays of sunlight illuminating 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan), shortly before we headed down towards 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan).

The first rays of sunlight illuminating 小霸尖山 (Xiao ba jian shan) and 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan), shortly before we headed down towards 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan).

Looking back to 桃山 (Tao shan).

Looking back to 桃山 (Tao shan).

The peak of 桃山 (Tao shan) in the warm morning sun.

The peak of 桃山 (Tao shan) in the warm morning sun.

The trail to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) leads mostly through the forest but ...

The trail to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) leads mostly through the forest but ...

... every once in a while the trees clear and you're left with beautiful views like these.

... every once in a while the trees clear and you're left with beautiful views like these.

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There are lots of ups and downs on the way which slows down progress quite a bit.

There are lots of ups and downs on the way which slows down progress quite a bit.

(untitled)
Parts of the trail lead through thick bamboo, so waterproof clothing is a must unless you want to get soaked by the morning dew.

Parts of the trail lead through thick bamboo, so waterproof clothing is a must unless you want to get soaked by the morning dew.

詩崙山 (Shi lun shan) is a small peak a little less than half-way to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan). It doesn't have a special status, though, probably because its lack of a clear view makes it unsuitable for triangulation.

詩崙山 (Shi lun shan) is a small peak a little less than half-way to 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan). It doesn't have a special status, though, probably because its lack of a clear view makes it unsuitable for triangulation.

Once the thick forest clears 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) suddenly jumps into view.

Once the thick forest clears 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) suddenly jumps into view.

The view back towards 詩崙山 (Shi lun shan).

The view back towards 詩崙山 (Shi lun shan).

大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) between the trees.

大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) between the trees.

The view back towards 桃山 (Tao shan) and 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) which looks much further away than the 2.3 km of distance would make it seem.

The view back towards 桃山 (Tao shan) and 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) which looks much further away than the 2.3 km of distance would make it seem.

雪山 (Xue shan) and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) in the distance.

雪山 (Xue shan) and 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao) in the distance.

At the top of 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) there's no view, so there isn't much to do but taking a quick photo, eating something, and heading back.

At the top of 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) there's no view, so there isn't much to do but taking a quick photo, eating something, and heading back.

品田山 (Pin tian shan), my favorite mountain in the area. If you look closely you can see the trail leading up to it through the grassy patch in the center.

品田山 (Pin tian shan), my favorite mountain in the area. If you look closely you can see the trail leading up to it through the grassy patch in the center.

On the way back ...

On the way back ...

... with the occasional obstacle to climb over. 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) isn't a very popular mountain, so trail maintenance is rudimentary.

... with the occasional obstacle to climb over. 喀拉業山 (Kelaye shan) isn't a very popular mountain, so trail maintenance is rudimentary.

The sea of clouds towards 桃園 (Tao yuan) on the west coast becomes visible on the way back.

The sea of clouds towards 桃園 (Tao yuan) on the west coast becomes visible on the way back.

By the time we got back to 桃山 (Tao shan) the first tired hikers had made it up from the valley.

By the time we got back to 桃山 (Tao shan) the first tired hikers had made it up from the valley.

Another shot of the ever impressive 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) and its "little brother".

Another shot of the ever impressive 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) and its "little brother".

The 桃山 (Tao shan) weather station.

The 桃山 (Tao shan) weather station.

Taking a last picture of 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) before packing up and heading back to the valley.

Taking a last picture of 桃山山屋 (Tao shan mountain hut) before packing up and heading back to the valley.