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A frog goes hiking: 單攻玉山 (Yu shan one-day trip)

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:48

It's been just about a year since my last hike to one of Taiwan's 100 highest mountains.

This time's challenge: Climb Taiwan's highest peak and come back the same day. The trail head starts at an altitude of around 2600 meters and 玉山主峰 (Yu shan or Mt. Jade main peak) stands 3952 meters tall. The distance to the top is about 12 km and the entire trip generally takes around 12 hours.

It's certainly not an easy hike, but very doable, at least if you don't go over the top with packing your backpack like I tend to. We stayed the night in 東埔山莊 (Dong pu mountain lodge), which is conveniently located about 2-3 kilometers from the 塔塔加登山口 (Ta ta jia trail head).

Unfortunately we had rather bad luck with the weather. The first five hours of ascent were largely dry but near the 排雲山莊 (Pai yun mountain lodge) we entered the fog and drizzle set in, which got worse as we hiked up to the peak.

A few hundred meters before the top I decided to leave my backpack at the side of the road and continued with nothing but a bottle of water, a small waterproof camera, and the Swiss and Taiwanese flags that I carry an all these trips. The heavy backpack had really worn me out and with the weight off my shoulders advancing was much easier.

We spent only a few minutes at the top to take the obligatory peak photos. After all, the fog was so thick that there was nothing else to take pictures of unless you're an artist who's heavily into gray shapes on gray background. Besides, it was too cold for eating, so we postponed lunch for a few hours half-way down.

Finally at the bottom, exactly 12 hours after we had started, we sprung for the shuttle back to the parking lot and headed home to recover our sore muscles and aching joints.

On the way home a strange feeling befell me: It just didn't feel like I had just been to the highest mountain in Taiwan. Hiking without a view is just not the same for the brain. Conquering the physical challenge was great but I'll definitely have to go back for the view and the feeling!


GPS track


Hiking log

(The altitudes may be a little off as I hadn't calibrated my altimeter.)

0300: Get up, eat breakfast
0330: Set out by car to the parking lot close by
0345: Start hiking from the 新中橫公路北側平面停車場 (New central traversal highway north side parking lot), 2595 m
0427: 塔塔加登山口 (Ta ta jia trail head), 2598 m
0503: 孟祿亭 (Meng lu pavilion), 2783 m
0633: 西峰觀景台 West peak view pavilon, 2988 m
0810: 排雲山莊 (Pai yun mountain lodge), 3406 m
1033: 玉山主峰 (Yu shan main peak), 3952 m
1040: Descent
1156: 排雲山莊 (Pai yun mountain lodge)
1330: 西峰觀景台 West peak view pavilon, lunch
1400: Continue descent
1545: 塔塔加登山口 (Ta ta jia trail head)
1556: Shuttle back to the parking lot


Photos

The 塔塔加登山口 (Ta ta jia trail head), the most commonly chosen trail for climbers of 玉山 (Yu shan).

The 塔塔加登山口 (Ta ta jia trail head), the most commonly chosen trail for climbers of 玉山 (Yu shan).

View southwest from the 玉山群峰步道 (Yu shan many peak trail). There are no particularly well-known mountains visible, but since I went to the trouble to look them up: The tallest one of the four round peaks about a third from the left is 南面山 (Nan mian shan). The one in the middle in the far back is 新望嶺 (Xin wang ling). And, peaking into the view on the right side, is 棚機山 (Peng ji shan).

View southwest from the 玉山群峰步道 (Yu shan many peak trail). There are no particularly well-known mountains visible, but since I went to the trouble to look them up: The tallest one of the four round peaks about a third from the left is 南面山 (Nan mian shan). The one in the middle in the far back is 新望嶺 (Xin wang ling). And, peaking into the view on the right side, is 棚機山 (Peng ji shan).

One of the few short sections of the 玉山群峰步道 (Yu shan many peak trail) where you need to watch your step.

One of the few short sections of the 玉山群峰步道 (Yu shan many peak trail) where you need to watch your step.

Most of the trail is in the forest and leads over solid ground ...

Most of the trail is in the forest and leads over solid ground ...

... or simply over rocks.

... or simply over rocks.

This probably would have looked better against a blue sky background, but the barren trees with their interesting shapes make for good views.

This probably would have looked better against a blue sky background, but the barren trees with their interesting shapes make for good views.

Dramatic clouds over 嘉義 (Jia yi) and 台南 (Tai nan). Not surprisingly we did get a little taste of their load later on.

Dramatic clouds over 嘉義 (Jia yi) and 台南 (Tai nan). Not surprisingly we did get a little taste of their load later on.

The trail is constantly subject to landslides and other dangers.

The trail is constantly subject to landslides and other dangers.

Because there was fog further up this section was really all the mountain view we saw that day. Nice, but not exactly why you go hiking the tallest mountain of the island!

Because there was fog further up this section was really all the mountain view we saw that day. Nice, but not exactly why you go hiking the tallest mountain of the island!

The famous 大峭壁 (Big cliff). It is very impressive when you look up but fortunately the hiking trail runs safely at the bottom of it.

The famous 大峭壁 (Big cliff). It is very impressive when you look up but fortunately the hiking trail runs safely at the bottom of it.

The 排雲山莊 (Pai yun mountain lodge), which is currently being renovated and expanded and should be finished around July 2011. Until then the only options are camping somewhere in the area or doing a one-day trip like we did. At least this way the amount of people at the top stays reasonable. In normal times you don't want to be there when a few dozen people are fighting for the best place to see and photograph the sunrise.

The 排雲山莊 (Pai yun mountain lodge), which is currently being renovated and expanded and should be finished around July 2011. Until then the only options are camping somewhere in the area or doing a one-day trip like we did. At least this way the amount of people at the top stays reasonable. In normal times you don't want to be there when a few dozen people are fighting for the best place to see and photograph the sunrise.

The other way of being virtually alone is going up when the wind is strong, the fog thick, and the view zero. Apparently I'll have to come back another day to take the photos I was hoping for.

The other way of being virtually alone is going up when the wind is strong, the fog thick, and the view zero. Apparently I'll have to come back another day to take the photos I was hoping for.

Update (2011-05-14): I've uploaded the GPS track to GPSies: 單攻玉山 (Yu shan one-day trip)


中正山 (Zhong zheng shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 15:02

I love to use Google Earth to find the destination of my next hiking or biking trip. It's not that there are not enough places to go without having to resort to the Internet, but quickly jumping there to see whether the view is good and what the road or path looks like can filter out the disappointing ones and save the precious weekends. :-)

A few weeks ago I was trying to find a good spot that had a view of Taipei but was still easily reachable by public transportation. 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park) has plenty of nice hills and mountains but most of them are poorly connected to bus or metro.

One of the closer ones immediately stood out: 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). It promised to have a good view of the whole city, all the way down to Taipei 101:

So, we did a little research, found how to go there and off we went, armed with my trusted GPS logger, the camera, and way too little water.

Just so you get an idea where our hike took us, here's the bird's eye view:

The yellow arrow is 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), our main destination. The red one is 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak), the place we figured we could go if we had enough energy left (which we did).

The green arrow is hovering over 七星山 (Qi xing shan), the highest mountain in Taipei. And, finally, the blue arrow is pointing at 大屯山 (Da tun shan), which is said to have one of the nicest sunsets in Northern Taiwan, something we had been able to confirm on a previous trip.

There you go, so much for the maps. Lean back and enjoy the photos. (But don't lean back too far, otherwise you won't be able to reach your mouse. ;-)


The entrance to the entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail). The real entrance comes a little later, this is a sort of pre-hiking trail that saves you from taking the car or scooter because it's easily reachable with public transportation from the 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT station.

The entrance to the entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail). The real entrance comes a little later, this is a sort of pre-hiking trail that saves you from taking the car or scooter because it's easily reachable with public transportation from the 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT station.

A map of the entire hiking trail and its closer surroundings. (Click here for a bigger version.)

A map of the entire hiking trail and its closer surroundings. ([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-112618_MR3231_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

Another reference photo, but a useful one ... This map shows the distances between the points, not only to 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), but also to other mountains such as 大屯山 (Da tun shan).
(Click here for a bigger version.)

Another reference photo, but a useful one ... This map shows the distances between the points, not only to 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), but also to other mountains such as [local:/gallery/albums/da-tuen-shan 大屯山 (Da tun shan)].
([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-112703_MR3232_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

The initial section of the hiking trail is rather flat with the occasional flight of stairs (and mosquito).

The initial section of the hiking trail is rather flat with the occasional flight of stairs (and mosquito).

Now, this is the real entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) on 登山路 (Deng shan road). Luckily, as it should be for any decent hiking trail entrance, it is fully equipped with a convenience store. :-)

Now, this is the real entrance to the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) on 登山路 (Deng shan road). Luckily, as it should be for any decent hiking trail entrance, it is fully equipped with a convenience store. :-)

The second part of the trail is pretty steep and mostly stairs. It really takes it out of you on a hot day, especially since the forest somehow doesn't make the air feel cooler.

The second part of the trail is pretty steep and mostly stairs. It really takes it out of you on a hot day, especially since the forest somehow doesn't make the air feel cooler.

In this hut people used to burn timber to produce coal.

In this hut people used to burn timber to produce coal.

Taking a rest in the shade.

Taking a rest in the shade.

One of the many interesting butterflies in the area.

One of the many interesting butterflies in the area.

The beautiful panoramic view from the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). At the far right you can recognize 淡水 (Dan shui) and the mountain on the left is 觀音山 (Guan yin shan).

The beautiful panoramic view from the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). At the far right you can recognize 淡水 (Dan shui) and the mountain on the left is [local:/gallery/albums/guan-yin-shan 觀音山 (Guan yin shan)].

On a clear day you can see the whole city of Taipei including Taipei 101.

On a clear day you can see the whole city of Taipei including Taipei 101.

七星山 (Qi xing shan), literally translated "Seven star mountain", is the highest mountain in of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). We had climbed it before and had a hard time seeing something. Apparently clouds hanging around its peak are a common phenomenon.

七星山 (Qi xing shan), literally translated "Seven star mountain", is the highest mountain in of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). We had climbed it before and had a hard time seeing something. Apparently clouds hanging around its peak are a common phenomenon.

Luckily there's a two-story lookout platform on the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), otherwise it would be hard to see something because of all the trees.

Luckily there's a two-story lookout platform on the top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan), otherwise it would be hard to see something because of all the trees.

Ivy on top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). If you look closely you can even see Taipei 101 in the background.

Ivy on top of 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan). If you look closely you can even see Taipei 101 in the background.

When we arrived and while we were taking a break we saw a lot of people coming and going. We thought that was odd since we had only encountered three people on the whole way up. What's more, none of them seemed to be working up a sweat.

The solution to this little puzzle was this sign at the top of the mountain. Apparently, for lazy people, the peak is also reachable by way of a 500 meter walk from the parking lot!

When we arrived and while we were taking a break we saw a lot of people coming and going. We thought that was odd since we had only encountered three people on the whole way up. What's more, none of them seemed to be working up a sweat.

The solution to this little puzzle was this sign at the top of the mountain. Apparently, for lazy people, the peak is also reachable by way of a 500 meter walk from the parking lot!

With plenty of time but limited water supplies we wanted to explore the area a little more, so we turned to this map of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). (Click here for a bigger version.)

With plenty of time but limited water supplies we wanted to explore the area a little more, so we turned to this map of the 陽明山國家公園 (Yang Ming Shan National Park). ([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-141017_MR3297_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

Two 大鳳蝶 (Great Mormons) hanging on a branch over the hiking trail couldn't be bothered by the camera ...

Two 大鳳蝶 (Great Mormons) hanging on a branch over the hiking trail couldn't be bothered by the camera ...

This is where we left the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) and took the small trail to 大屯西跟南峰 (Da tun shan west and south peaks).

This is where we left the 中正山親山步道 (Zhong zheng shan hiking trail) and took the small trail to 大屯西跟南峰 (Da tun shan west and south peaks).

When we reached this grassy area we were very happy we had long pants and even wished for long sleeves. The trail is mostly grown over since this trail is natural and doesn't see a lot of hikers.

When we reached this grassy area we were very happy we had long pants and even wished for long sleeves. The trail is mostly grown over since this trail is natural and doesn't see a lot of hikers.

Back in the forest without grass to worry about.

Back in the forest without grass to worry about.

At this little crossroads the path to 大屯南峰 (Da tun shan south peak) splits off. It's actually a very short detour but we were short on water, so we decided to save it for another day and head right to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak).

At this little crossroads the path to 大屯南峰 (Da tun shan south peak) splits off. It's actually a very short detour but we were short on water, so we decided to save it for another day and head right to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak).

And off to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) we go ... Shortly after this point the trail becomes very steep.

And off to 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) we go ... Shortly after this point the trail becomes very steep.

But the climb is well worth it. The view back towards the city is very nice.

But the climb is well worth it. The view back towards the city is very nice.

This trail is definitely easier to climb up than down.

This trail is definitely easier to climb up than down.

From the top you can see the grassy area from before.

From the top you can see the grassy area from before.

Just when we got to the top of 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) the fog started wrapping the mountains around us and were already blocking the view eastwards.

Just when we got to the top of 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) the fog started wrapping the mountains around us and were already blocking the view eastwards.

On the way down we came across this shiny dragon fly.

On the way down we came across this shiny dragon fly.

Animals in that area really don't seem to be very shy. Good in case you didn't bring your super tele lens. :-)

Animals in that area really don't seem to be very shy. Good in case you didn't bring your super tele lens. :-)

On one of the maps the way down was given with 90 minutes for something like two kilometers. But when the path kept looking like this and turning into stairs it became obvious that that must have been a mistake. Even with the occasional water or photo break it still took us far less than an hour.

On one of the maps the way down was given with 90 minutes for something like two kilometers. But when the path kept looking like this and turning into stairs it became obvious that that must have been a mistake. Even with the occasional water or photo break it still took us far less than an hour.

On the way down there's a nice view of 觀音山 (Guan yin shan) again.

On the way down there's a nice view of [local:/gallery/albums/guan-yin-shan 觀音山 (Guan yin shan)] again.

We went down just in time to see the sun slowly start to set over the ocean.

We went down just in time to see the sun slowly start to set over the ocean.

觀音山 (Guan yin shan) during sunset.

觀音山 (Guan yin shan) during sunset.

Done at last! After around ten kilometers we had arrived at the 清天宮 (Qing tian temple) exit.

Done at last! After around ten kilometers we had arrived at the 清天宮 (Qing tian temple) exit.

An overview map of the hiking trails. Our trail was the one that is painted in blue; from the 登山路 (Deng shan lu) entrance via 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan) and 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) to 清天宮 (Qing tian temple). (Click here for a bigger version.)

An overview map of the hiking trails. Our trail was the one that is painted in blue; from the 登山路 (Deng shan lu) entrance via 中正山 (Zhong zheng shan) and 大屯西峰 (Da tun shan west peak) to 清天宮 (Qing tian temple). ([local:/gallery/data/zhong-zheng-shan/images/original/20100801-171027_MR3398_D90.jpg Click here for a bigger version].)

清天宮 (Qing tian temple).

清天宮 (Qing tian temple).

When you're tired even tiny plastic chairs are welcome while you're waiting for the bus. :-)

When you're tired even tiny plastic chairs are welcome while you're waiting for the bus. :-)

A picture is worth a thousand pound... I mean ... words.

A picture is worth a thousand pound... I mean ... words.

The colorful 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT line entering the station. Each car has its own theme, e.g. the hot springs for which the area is famous.

The colorful 新北投 (Xin bei tou) MRT line entering the station. Each car has its own theme, e.g. the hot springs for which the area is famous.

We couldn't quite figure out what the theme of this car was but it certainly brightens up the place.

We couldn't quite figure out what the theme of this car was but it certainly brightens up the place.

This scene was our favorite. Very cute! :-)

This scene was our favorite. Very cute! :-)

鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail)

posted by Martin Rubli at 18:01

This weekend we once again found ourselves with no particular plan and surprisingly good weather - the forecast had predicted rain for two days -, so we tried to find a short hiking trail in the same area as our dinner and shopping plans.

We quickly found something on what by now is one of our favorite hiking blogs. The family who writes it has been to so many places in Hsinchu County that you can always find a good suggestion or directions to a hard-to-find trail.

So, we settled for a rather short but nice little hiking trail near 新豐 (Xin feng), just north of 竹北 (Zhu bei), called 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail). It's only about 3.3 kilometers one way but that coincided well with our habit of getting up (too) late.

The GPSies map ...

... and our photos. Have fun!


The entrance to the 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri mountain hiking trail). Given that the highest point of the trail is at about 135 meters above sea level the "mountain" part may be a little exaggerated, so don't expect any mountains or even snow. :-)

The entrance to the 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri mountain hiking trail). Given that the highest point of the trail is at about 135 meters above sea level the "mountain" part may be a little exaggerated, so don't expect any mountains or even snow. :-)

Near the entrance there's an old M48A3 Patton gun tank of the type that was used in the Vietnam war. It's not entirely obvious why it is where it is but it's still interesting.

Near the entrance there's an old [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M48_Patton#M48A3 M48A3 Patton] gun tank of the type that was used in the Vietnam war. It's not entirely obvious why it is where it is but it's still interesting.

鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail) has recently been (re?)built, so it's very nice to walk. Almost a little too easy ...

鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail) has recently been (re?)built, so it's very nice to walk. Almost a little too easy ...

When the forest lightens up not only can you see Hsinchu's coast and the beautiful ocean ...

When the forest lightens up not only can you see Hsinchu's coast and the beautiful ocean ...

... but also a life-sized Tyrannosaurus from the 小叮噹科學遊樂區 (Little Ding-dong Science Park), a small theme park right next to it.

... but also a life-sized Tyrannosaurus from the [http://www.ding-dong.com.tw/ 小叮噹科學遊樂區 (Little Ding-dong Science Park)], a small theme park right next to it.

Apart from a theme park the trail passes an army tank exercise area and what looks like the remains of a landfill where some people are still treasure hunting.

Apart from a theme park the trail passes an army tank exercise area and what looks like the remains of a landfill where some people are still treasure hunting.

The trail eventually leads to ...

The trail eventually leads to ...

... a little recreational area for children of all ages to play.

... a little recreational area for children of all ages to play.

Army bunkers can be seen all along the way ...

Army bunkers can be seen all along the way ...

... as well as caterpillars and other animals.

... as well as caterpillars and other animals.

The 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail) eventually leads to an open area that has a little shop/café and - cover your ears - a karaoke place where people perform who have been banned from more urban karaoke bars and are now torturing wildlife and nature loving hikers.

The 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail) eventually leads to an open area that has a little shop/café and - cover your ears - a karaoke place where people perform who have been banned from more urban karaoke bars and are now torturing wildlife and nature loving hikers.

Apart from the karaoke background it would be the perfect place to watch a sunset.

Apart from the karaoke background it would be the perfect place to watch a sunset.

Said little shop has prices that can easily compete with your around-the-corner convenience store.

Said little shop has prices that can easily compete with your around-the-corner convenience store.

For a short while the 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail) becomes a little more natural, just the way we like it.

For a short while the 鳳崎落日登山步道 (Feng qi luo ri hiking trail) becomes a little more natural, just the way we like it.

At the end of the trail you'll see the 蓮花寺 (Lotus temple).

At the end of the trail you'll see the 蓮花寺 (Lotus temple).

I always enjoy the warning signs. I've been to 3000+ meter mountains that apparently had fewer dangers. :-) My favorites are the ones about the killer bees and the cliff!

I always enjoy the warning signs. I've been to 3000+ meter mountains that apparently had fewer dangers. :-) My favorites are the ones about the killer bees and the cliff!

A nicely done 3D map of the whole hiking trail. You can even see the tank from the trail head at the lower right!

A nicely done 3D map of the whole hiking trail. You can even see the tank from the trail head at the lower right!

A 觀音 (Guan yin) statue in front of the 蓮花寺 (Lotus temple).

A 觀音 (Guan yin) statue in front of the 蓮花寺 (Lotus temple).

The view of West Hsinchu and Zhu bei taken from ...

The view of West Hsinchu and Zhu bei taken from ...

... one of the panorama platforms along the trail.

... one of the panorama platforms along the trail.

Jia li shan (加里山)

posted by Martin Rubli at 08:09

Instead of racing a dragon boat or eating rice dumplings we used the recent Dragon boat festival holiday for a hike to the nearby "training mountain", Jia li shan (加里山).

Dragon boat festival also marks the end of the rainy season. This year the sky was right on time and after a few days of relatively heavy rain we had a (mostly) dry day to enjoy our hike.

After seeing a few blog articles and Panoramio photos I had got the impression that it must be a fairly easy hike with maybe one or two short segments that involve pulling yourself up on a rope. Far from it! On the last quarter of the trail your hands are just as busy as your legs.

An elevation of 800 meters on about 4 km length makes it an interesting day hike. Below are the trail record on GPSies and the photos from my gallery. Enjoy!


Getting ready for 加里山 (Jia li shan) ...

Getting ready for 加里山 (Jia li shan) ...

A mushroom "farm" along the way.

A mushroom "farm" along the way.

The first obstacle on the way to 加里山 (Jia li shan) is a creek that has to be crossed. A few hundred meters before this creek we met a young couple who had just turned around because of the high water level. It had indeed rained for a few days before our hike but we didn't want to give up that easily. So, some of us simply took off their shoes ...

The first obstacle on the way to 加里山 (Jia li shan) is a creek that has to be crossed. A few hundred meters before this creek we met a young couple who had just turned around because of the high water level. It had indeed rained for a few days before our hike but we didn't want to give up that easily. So, some of us simply took off their shoes ...

... while others jumped across a bunch of large stones making for an extra adrenaline kick. :-)

... while others jumped across a bunch of large stones making for an extra adrenaline kick. :-)

After a bit of jumping, climbing, and wading everybody made it safely to the middle of the stream.

After a bit of jumping, climbing, and wading everybody made it safely to the middle of the stream.

From the middle the 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) leads across the second half. We're not sure why the bridge's name carries the character 佳 instead of 加, but that's what the sign says, so we're sticking with it. :-)

From the middle the 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) leads across the second half. We're not sure why the bridge's name carries the character 佳 instead of 加, but that's what the sign says, so we're sticking with it. :-)

This morning the 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) was slightly under water but we made it anyway with only minor amounts of water in our shoes.

This morning the 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) was slightly under water but we made it anyway with only minor amounts of water in our shoes.

加里山山屋 (Jia li shan mountain shelter), a little less than half-way to the peak, is a good place to take a quick rest. (Some less congenial people from other hiking groups also seem to think it's a good place to smoke, but the clean air of a hiking trail never is!)

加里山山屋 (Jia li shan mountain shelter), a little less than half-way to the peak, is a good place to take a quick rest. (Some less congenial people from other hiking groups also seem to think it's a good place to smoke, but the clean air of a hiking trail never is!)

Some people have interesting ways of crossing obstacles.

Some people have interesting ways of crossing obstacles.

The last quarter of the hiking trail involves a lot of climbing on ropes and roots, which was a bit of a challenge given the wet floor, but nevertheless a lot of fun.

The last quarter of the hiking trail involves a lot of climbing on ropes and roots, which was a bit of a challenge given the wet floor, but nevertheless a lot of fun.

After roughly 800 meters of ascent we were finally at the top of 加里山 (Jia li shan), 2220 meters above sea level.

After roughly 800 meters of ascent we were finally at the top of 加里山 (Jia li shan), 2220 meters above sea level.

Time for a group photo!

Time for a group photo!

Happy, yet slightly disappointed over the (inexistent) view we took a brief rest and then got ready to descend a few minutes and find a quiet place to cook lunch.

Happy, yet slightly disappointed over the (inexistent) view we took a brief rest and then got ready to descend a few minutes and find a quiet place to cook lunch.

Our lunch: Noodle soup with vegetables, egg, and meat balls.

Our lunch: Noodle soup with vegetables, egg, and meat balls.

Hiking makes hungry! 吃很大!

Hiking makes hungry! 吃很大!

The descent was almost slower than the way up but certainly entertaining.

The descent was almost slower than the way up but certainly entertaining.

Because there had again been some light showers in the area we were a little afraid at first that the water level might have risen again. Luckily it hadn't and the 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) was already back out of the water - still slightly unstable though as it would dangerously tilt the moment someone stepped on it.

Because there had again been some light showers in the area we were a little afraid at first that the water level might have risen again. Luckily it hadn't and the 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) was already back out of the water - still slightly unstable though as it would dangerously tilt the moment someone stepped on it.

View of the refreshing creek ...

View of the refreshing creek ...

Crossing 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) for the second time.

Crossing 佳里小橋 (Little Jia Li bridge) for the second time.

Done! After a solid day of hiking we came to understand how 加里山 (Jia li shan) got its nickname of "training mountain".

Done! After a solid day of hiking we came to understand how 加里山 (Jia li shan) got its nickname of "training mountain".

比來山 (Bi lai shan)

posted by Martin Rubli at 17:04

Another one of our emergency hikes lead us to 比來山 (Bi lai shan), a small mountain not to far from Hsinchu that had been recommended to us by someone we met on a previous hike.

Since many mountains don't have official hiking trails it can be a little tricky to find the trail entrance and you never know how many different trails there are. We had found a blog post that described a hike to said mountain and decided to try and approach it from the other side - unfortunately with little luck because our road of choice turned out to be a dead end.

Either way, the view was good and the hike was just right to take advantage of another rare sunny Saturday in the middle of the rain season.


This is what we thought (and had been told) is the road up to 比來山 (Bi lai shan). Quite nice to hike because of the shade and the slightly lower temperature than down in the valley.

This is what we thought (and had been told) is the road up to 比來山 (Bi lai shan). Quite nice to hike because of the shade and the slightly lower temperature than down in the valley.

There are plenty of little lizards along the way.

There are plenty of little lizards along the way.

The forest ranges from dense vegetation and bamboo to well organized trees like these. :-)

The forest ranges from dense vegetation and bamboo to well organized trees like these. :-)

The odd shaped mountain is 五指山 (Five finger mountain), one of my favorite (masochistically speaking) bike destinations, but from this angle only three fingers are visible.

The odd shaped mountain is 五指山 (Five finger mountain), one of my favorite (masochistically speaking) bike destinations, but from this angle only three fingers are visible.

Butterflies are also plentiful on 比來山 (Bi lai shan).

Butterflies are also plentiful on 比來山 (Bi lai shan).

Later on the road becomes more narrow with skin-cutting grass growing over the sides, so it's a good idea to wear long pants!

Later on the road becomes more narrow with skin-cutting grass growing over the sides, so it's a good idea to wear long pants!

Again the three fingers of 五指山 (Five finger mountain) in the back.

Again the three fingers of 五指山 (Five finger mountain) in the back.

And finally the disappointing dead-end just a few hundred meters below the peak. Well, nothing left to do but turning around and try a different route next time!

And finally the disappointing dead-end just a few hundred meters below the peak. Well, nothing left to do but turning around and try a different route next time!

A dragon fly along the way.

A dragon fly along the way.

Nothing quite like sitting at a river on a hot summer day, so to cool down from our little hike we stopped by the 頭前溪 (Tou qian river).

Nothing quite like sitting at a river on a hot summer day, so to cool down from our little hike we stopped by the 頭前溪 (Tou qian river).

The 南昌橋 (Nan chang bridge) that leads over the 頭前溪 (Tou qian river).

The 南昌橋 (Nan chang bridge) that leads over the 頭前溪 (Tou qian river).

One of nature's aerodynamic miracles.

One of nature's aerodynamic miracles.

A cute stray dog we saw on the way home.

A cute stray dog we saw on the way home.

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