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A frog goes hiking: 雪山 (Xue shan) (Day 2)

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:35

The second day started with three hours of hiking in the dark. There's an obsession in Taiwan with watching the sunrise on mountain tops that I can't quite comprehend. For me the whole point of hiking is to enjoy the scenery while doing some slightly challenging exercise. Hiking at night takes that most important part away from that. Be that as it may, thanks to a final ten minute sprint we just made it to the top in time to see the red sun rise above the horizon.

Even the rising sun didn't help much with the temperature, though. It was rather cold at the top and I was seriously considering unpacking my down jacket. But the view could almost make you forget about the cold. The three-sixty view at the top is very impressive and you can even spot Taiwan's highest mountain, 玉山 (Yu shan) in the distance.

On the way down it got warm pretty quickly and by the first rest stop it was high time to put on sunscreen again.

Back at the 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) we had an early lunch before we switched the light daypacks for our heavy backpacks again and started heading down. The weather held up very well the entire time and just like on the way up we could see the sea of clouds above the flatlands.

This post covers day 2. Back to day 1.


Overview

The red track is the first day, the green track is the first half of day two before returning along the red track.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Altitude graph


(Click the image for a larger version.)

GPS track

Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0130: Wake up (no, the time is not a typo ...)
0240: Departure from 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut), 3140 m
0525: 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), 3886 m
0610: Descent
0855: Back at 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut), 3140 m
1005: Departure from 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut)
1040: 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak), 3201 m
1110: Arrival at 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform), rest break, 2976 m
1150: Departure from 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform)
1300: Arrival at 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), break, 2506 m
1320: Departure from 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut)
1400: Arrival at trail head, 2139 m


Photos

Question: Is this a sunset or sunrise?

Answer: Okay, it was a trick question. It's neither. This photo was taken at 2 am and the red light are atmospheric reflections of the city lights. :-)

Question: Is this a sunset or sunrise?

Answer: Okay, it was a trick question. It's neither. This photo was taken at 2 am and the red light are atmospheric reflections of the city lights. :-)

北稜角 (Bei leng jiao), 雪山's little step brother. It's only a few meters shorter but didn't get the title of 百岳 ...

北稜角 (Bei leng jiao), 雪山's little step brother. It's only a few meters shorter but didn't get the title of 百岳 ...

雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), 3886 meters above sea level, just before sunset.

雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), 3886 meters above sea level, just before sunset.

Me at the top of 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), raising my usual 百岳 (Taiwan's 100 highest mountains) flag, wearing my usual frog-colored jacket. :-)

Me at the top of 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak), raising my usual 百岳 (Taiwan's 100 highest mountains) flag, wearing my usual frog-colored jacket. :-)

大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the distance, but still clearer than [local:/blog/2012/06/01/a-frog-goes-hiking-big-failure-mountain-day-2/ when I actually went there last year].

大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) in the distance, but still clearer than when I actually went there last year.

The peak in the middle is 玉山 (Yu shan) and, ironically, also clearer than [local:/blog/2011/05/05/a-frog-goes-hiking-yu-shan-oneday-trip/ when I went there]!

The peak in the middle is 玉山 (Yu shan) and, ironically, also clearer than when I went there!

The view towards 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) and 品田山 (Pin tian shan).

The view towards 大霸尖山 (Da ba jian shan) and 品田山 (Pin tian shan).

This was quite an interesting sight with the mountains casting shadows at sunrise.

This was quite an interesting sight with the mountains casting shadows at sunrise.

The 樂山 (Le shan) radar station near 觀霧 (Guan wu).

The 樂山 (Le shan) radar station near 觀霧 (Guan wu).

About 50 meters away from the main peak somebody built a little stone heap.

About 50 meters away from the main peak somebody built a little stone heap.

Dead trees on the side of the path on the way down.

Dead trees on the side of the path on the way down.

Another look at 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

Another look at 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

The view back up towards 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak). It's a shame that it doesn't quite look like a peak from this angle.

The view back up towards 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak). It's a shame that it doesn't quite look like a peak from this angle.

Cliffs are visible from the 黑森林 (Black forest).

Cliffs are visible from the 黑森林 (Black forest).

The 黑森林 (Black forest), which is about as black as your run-of-the-mill forest. :-)

The 黑森林 (Black forest), which is about as black as your run-of-the-mill forest. :-)

As soon as you get out of the forest you can spot 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again.

As soon as you get out of the forest you can spot 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again.

This used to be forest many years ago but burned down in a large forest fire.

This used to be forest many years ago but burned down in a large forest fire.

三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) on the way down.

三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) on the way down.

And 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again, a little later from 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak). You can see the windy trail that leads up to the 黑森林 (Black forest) and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak).

And 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) again, a little later from 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak). You can see the windy trail that leads up to the 黑森林 (Black forest) and 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak).

Just like the day before you can see the sea of clouds covering the lower areas.

Just like the day before you can see the sea of clouds covering the lower areas.

The peak on the left is 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) where we had just been a few hours ago. The rocky peak (third one from the left) is 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

The peak on the left is 雪山主峰 (Xue shan main peak) where we had just been a few hours ago. The rocky peak (third one from the left) is 北稜角 (Bei leng jiao).

A few tired but happy members of our hiking group back down at the trail head. This picture was taken by the park ranger.

A few tired but happy members of our hiking group back down at the trail head. This picture was taken by the park ranger.

After he had taken our group shot he asked me if he could borrow my camera for a bit. So he went back to the normally inaccessible area behind the water tank and started shooting a few great pictures like this one. :-)

After he had taken our group shot he asked me if he could borrow my camera for a bit. So he went back to the normally inaccessible area behind the water tank and started shooting a few great pictures like this one. :-)


A frog goes hiking: 雪山 (Xue shan) (Day 1)

posted by Martin Rubli at 14:07

Apparently my 雨神 (rain god) spell has been lifted. This was the second hike in short succession that I had great weather on a multi-day hiking trip! And this wasn't just any mountain - it was 雪山 (Xue shan, or Snow mountain) which had been on my list for quite a while.

After gathering in Taipei on Friday night we drove to 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm) where we stayed in tents for the first night before starting the actual hike the next morning.

This was my first time joining a more organized hiking group. Now, if you know me you know that things can't be too organized for me, but on the mountains that's a whole different story. Hiking single file at snail's pace on a well-established trail isn't exactly exercise, so after a little back and forth with the guide we were finally able to walk at a more natural pace. That has the added benefit of being able to take photos anytime it's worth it without stopping the people behind you dead in their tracks. With the sunny weather and the awesome scenery that was most necessary.

The only goal of day 1 was to get to the 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut) where we would spend the night. On the way, however, you can already climb the first 百岳 (a name given to Taiwan's 100 highest mountains), namely 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak).

We had to get up super early the next morning (ordinarily I would call it "the same night"), so after dinner I went straight to bed to catch as much sleep as possible. If I've learned anything from the last hike it's that sleep is probably the most important thing while hiking, so I was equipped with my trusted inflatable sleeping mat and earplugs. Even the latter ones worked well this time, and while I didn't sleep quite as well as the first night (I blame the lack of a good pillow), I was comparably well-rested the next day.

This post covers day 1. Day 2 is here.


Overview

The red track is the first day, the green track is the first half of day two before returning along the red track.


(Click the image for a larger version.)


Altitude graph


(Click the image for a larger version.)

GPS track

Hiking log

(As always, the altitudes are approximate.)

0600: Wake up
0715: Departure by bus from 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm) to the trail head, coffee break near the campground
0750: Arrival at trail head
0840: Start hiking at trail head, 2139 m
0945: Arrival at 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut), 2506 m
1005: Departure from 七卡山莊 (Qi ka mountain hut)
1135: Arrival at 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform), rest break, 2976 m
1205: Departure from 哭坡觀景台 (Ku po view platform)
1245: 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak), 3201 m
1435: Arrival at 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut), 3140 m


Photos

The night sky over 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm). Well, either that or maybe it's just sensor noise.

The night sky over 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm). Well, either that or maybe it's just sensor noise.

Tearing down our night camp in 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm).

Tearing down our night camp in 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm).

Bears welcoming visitors to the 雪霸國家公園 (Xue Ba National Park). In reality you're much more likely to ...

Bears welcoming visitors to the 雪霸國家公園 (Xue Ba National Park). In reality you're much more likely to ...

... encounter these little creatures.

... encounter these little creatures.

The campground in 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm).

The campground in 武陵農場 (Wu ling farm).

Preparing for the hike in front of the 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head) at 2140 m altitude.

Preparing for the hike in front of the 雪山登山口 (Xue shan trail head) at 2140 m altitude.

The view is already beautiful before you start hiking.

The view is already beautiful before you start hiking.

I actually thought this butterfly was fake but was reassured that it's really just asleep - and that it's a moth, not a butterfly.

I actually thought this butterfly was fake but was reassured that it's really just asleep - and that it's a moth, not a butterfly.

A water tank right at the trail head. This was previously used for watering the plantations in the area and is now one of the campground's water sources.

A water tank right at the trail head. This was previously used for watering the plantations in the area and is now one of the campground's water sources.

It's nice to see the sea of clouds coming in as long as you're on the upper side and not hiking down.

It's nice to see the sea of clouds coming in as long as you're on the upper side and not hiking down.

桃山 (Tao shan), another of Taiwan's highest peaks in the area.

桃山 (Tao shan), another of Taiwan's highest peaks in the area.

(untitled)
The so-called 哭坡 (Ku po), freely translated the "Slope of pain".

The so-called 哭坡 (Ku po), freely translated the "Slope of pain".

But luckily walking up isn't half as bad as the name suggests. I am therefore renaming it the "Slope of slight discomfort".

But luckily walking up isn't half as bad as the name suggests. I am therefore renaming it the "Slope of slight discomfort".

The higher we climbed the better the view got.

The higher we climbed the better the view got.

The view back.

The view back.

雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak) is conveniently located along the trail. All it takes to reach the top is a 20 meter detour!

雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak) is conveniently located along the trail. All it takes to reach the top is a 20 meter detour!

And from the same point you can already see 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut).

And from the same point you can already see 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut).

Raising the Swiss flag at the top of 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak).

Raising the Swiss flag at the top of 雪山東峰 (Xue shan east peak).

But because I like Taiwan at least as much as Switzerland I always bring a Taiwanese flag too! :-)

But because I like Taiwan at least as much as Switzerland I always bring a Taiwanese flag too! :-)

三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut).

三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut).

The interior of 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut). Maybe somebody should carry up a new mirror one of these days, but then again, looks aren't the biggest of your worries when you haven't showered for a day or two.

The interior of 三六九山莊 (San liu jiu mountain hut). Maybe somebody should carry up a new mirror one of these days, but then again, looks aren't the biggest of your worries when you haven't showered for a day or two.

(untitled)