Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Hikes

Finally got some details of a couple hikes taking place around Christmas. The first is a vigorous 5-day rivertrace December 24-28, and the 2 day is also a not-for-the-lazy ascent of the not very famous Sinwangling Dec 29&30. Details at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No dumping

Would prefer not to get into publishing this kind of stuff... Shiny new signs above the toilets in at Pai-yun Lodge. If you don't understand why I have posted this here forget you saw it.

A plea

This is for everyone, but especially those that live in The South (Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chaiyi) and should know better!

When planning your big road-trip to the East coast, please, please do not confuse the incredibly scenic highway 20 ('nan-heng') with the foul boring no 9 ('nan-hwei') further south. The no 9 may be quicker (that's why it's full of trucks) but no 20 is one of the major pluses of living in the South. Make a full day of it - better still 2 or 3 days and stay at the top/middle at Yakoo. Easy hiking/stunning clear views first thing in the morning. Prepare for the cold.

Even newer images!

My least favorite plant to encounter while hiking in Taiwan the...oops its common name escapes me, Daemonorops margaritae ('yellow rattan' in Chinese). Its rear-pointing barbs, helping it climb, grow all along its stems/tendons/sub-tendons. When caught in it careful extraction is essential - moving onwards will shred clothes and skin. It grows in in damp, shaded areas in the mid-lower mountains, and is sometimes harvested for use in furniture manufacture and for eating - supposedly lowering blood pressure. Avoid. Repeat: AVOID. Another sunrise from Bei-da-wu. This morning we had clouds all around us up to 1600m. More images at Stu's blog.
Nets have been provided for those that go mad (that's you Roger) and try to run at the rising sun.
And every growing Canadian boy has to celebrate summiting with his favorite part of a chicken.
Tough bugger, Enrique, didn't really need to stay the night here (or pose either - I insisted) but the rain fell that night on more than the plains of Spain... The lodge recently got a new address, everyone insists the 101 number was an accident, I doubt it, and suspect was chosen with a tall Taipei building in mind. Mirroring Taipei 101's diminished status, this is not the highest occupied building in Taiwan, the weather station on the North peak sits at 3856meters.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The power or Omni.

Recentish snaps

The steps laid into the path on the way up Kuan-shan (also leading to Ku-ha-nuo-hsin) can make your head spin. The walk down is notorious among some hikers for inducing some very sore calf muscles in the days after - 'Kuan-shan Leg Syndrome' Two. Two wheels this has. Twice I fell of. And peace of course - on the Southern Cross.
One of the many small bridge-like structures on the way up to Yushan. The trail is one of the best maintained in Taiwan and poses few difficulties for most - even with a bit of vertigo.
Long-fong waterfall, at the end of the San-ming valley, feeling long and strong this day - just like Jon!
The meaning of clouds dawning on Dave on the summit of Yushan. This was one of those mornings (there have been more than one) that most hikers at Pai-yun Lodge gave up at the sign of rainclouds, we bounded upwards and were rewarded with a stunning sunrise and empty summit.

Yes, it's the big Jade-less rock face.
Jung-yang-jan peeps out as seen from the east ridge of Snow. Living in Taipei does have one advantage - fairly easy access to the mountains on the eastern flanks of the Snow mountain range and the Lan-yang valley. I must get up Nan-hu-da this decade....
Is it the Snow mountain beast, or that English writer in chase of a Laughing thrush?

Public transport to Wuling Farm/Snow Mountain

Some people have asked about public bus services to Wuling Farm - the base for hiking the main peak of Snow Mountain. From Yilan City: buses leave at 7am and 12:40 and take about 3 hours. From Taichung (remember a major part of the Central Cross Island highway is still impassable): Fengyuan bus company has a bus leaving at 8am arriving at Wuling at 4:30. A long ride but traveling the highest road in Taiwan.

Driving from Taipei only takes about 3 hours through the 13km Hsuehshan (Snow Mountain) tunnel via Yilan. For those of us in the South/Center the journey is torcherous; whether we travel the shortest windiest way via Puli/Hehuan shan, across the almost as bendy and foggy North Cross Island Highway, or just stick to the long boring freeway via Taipei and Yilan.

Long time no update!

Really, who wants to be blogging when there are mountains and valleys to be traveled...lame excuse???

Over the winter months (November-March) we are running trips to the Purple Butterfly Valley. This is a fantastic area to visit for light hiking/scenery even if you are not taken in by the thousands of butterflies - and other wildlife, that make this their home over the winter months.

Christmas-New Year Hike
We are still putting together the details of a 4/5 day hike up a valley in the foothills of Jade mountain (Yushan) in the days between Christmas and New Year. This will essentially follow the valley where Highway 21 stops in Kaohsiung County and restarts near Alishan. Riverbeds and hunters' trails. More details in a week or so.

Scheduled Yushan hikes
January 8/9th Some flexibility on dates, books asap.
February 12/13 Post Chinese New Year

Remember, trips can be organized for all destinations at other times - contact us if you have a group with a good idea. Again, if at all possible avoid planning to climb Yushan at the weekend, if that's not possible then at least take one day of work and aim to be in Pai-yun hut on Friday or Sunday night.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Fill this!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

October/November hikes

This weekend (Sept 22-25, leave Tainan Friday evening, back Tue
evening) there are a couple places left on a Chia-ming Meteor lake
hike - pictured on the cover of
the Taipei Times and China Post today! We may spend some of Saturday
exploring sights on the way up to the trailhead. Suitable for the
reasonably fit, Contact me asap.

Other hikes coming up:

Sept 29/30 (leave 28th evening) 'Combo'

October 2/3 North Dawu

October 6/7/8 Meteor Lake

October 10 (leave previous evening, and squeeze in as much as possible
in 26 hrs) Southern 3 stars

October 16/17/18 Meteor lake

October 23/24/25 Snow Mountain

October 27/28 (leave 26th evening) Yushan Time is running out to get permits,
contact me immediately.

October 31/Nov 1 (leaving 30th evening) Yushan. Contact me right away
for a chance of securing permits.

November 2/3/4 Meteor lake

November 6/7 Yushan (provisional)

November 10/11 'Combo'

November 12/13 North Dawu

November 17/18 Yushan

November 21-25 Snow Mountain

November 27/28 Yushan

November 30-December 2 Snow Mountain

December 3-5 Meteor Lake

December 8/9 Yushan

December 11/12 'Combo'

Of course some of these dates may change, we welcome groups coming
looking for custom dates/itineraries.
Don't forget we can get you out paddling around the mangroves if you
give is a day's notice.

Martens, Rosefinches and Knotweed

Last week we were pleased to encounter three Yellow-troated Martens near Paiyun Lodge, on Yushan. These beautiful and inquisitive animals, related to wolverines, minks and weasels, can can be a meter in length from nose to tail tip.

Thanks to Steve for identifying the Flamecrest and Vinaceous Rosefinch on the way up Snow mountain. Amazing how we always seemed to be in the midst of birds on that hike.

Photographer Lief has put together a valuable account of the flowers on Yushan's slopes.

Norman and Lief do their thing with the rising sun. Lief, here on the summit of the South peak, capturing the Main peak (left) and East peak (right).

Monday, August 20, 2007

September Hikes - Without Typhoon Fun!

We have a few trips coming up in the next few weeks. The weather will
thankfully be becoming DRIER and cooler as the fall approaches...could
it get wetter?!?

September 1-3. Snow Mountain. Contact me immediately as time for
permits is short.

September 5-6 (leave 4th evening). Yushan.

September 8-9 (leave 7th evening). ‘Combo weekend’

September 10-12. Snow Mountain.

September 15-16 (leave 14th evening). Yushan

September 19-20 (leave 18th evening or earlier). Yushan, plus possible
extension for other peaks/traverse. See Peak Bagging and Extension at

September 22-25 (Mid Autumn Festival) Chia-ming Meteor Lake

September 27-18 (leaving 26th evening) Yushan

Advance notice:
We may have treks to Yushan September 29-30,October 12-15 and October
For US Thanksgiving (November 22-25) we should be up a-still-snow-free
Snow Mountain.

As ever, we are happy to help apply for permits for independent hiking
(without us guiding etc), and arrange private custom-made group trips.

Cooler weather is paddling the mangroves weather. Anytime - we are


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Typhoon Fun!

The approaching typhoon will probably be long gone by this weekend...but should leave behind perfect white-water rafting conditions on the Lao-nung. Of course, if the river is too big, we will stay well clear and find something else to amuse us!

The 'combo weekend' van leaves Friday evening from downtown Tainan. To book a space check out Often after a small typhoon conditions for hiking/biking are even better than usual - cooler air, clearer views.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Email problems

Our email may have been having problems in the last couple days. For the moment please communicate with us via

If you sent anything to us at recently and didn't get a response, now you know why. Send again to thanks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Yushan Permits

Please note: this is an old post. Conditions change, for up to date information please read more recent posts.

We've been asked about getting permits for Yushan. If you have the wherewithal to do the ascent yourself, we can help you tackle this lovely bit of bureaucracy.

What we need is a copy of the data page in your passport/ARC, the dates you want to be where, and your emergency contact numbers. We charge $900 per application (1 person) and $500 for every additional person, this includes accommodation at Paiyun Lodge.

Please Note:
-The number of people allowed to head for Paiyun/summit is restricted, for popular times (most weekends) the park operates a lottery to decide who gets in. Your chances are much better if applying to hike on a weekday.
-Other than during the summer vacation, hikers can not camp outside at Paiyun on weekdays (ie, must apply for a space IN the lodge).
-NO permits are issued for a month around Chinese New Year, this is to give the mountain a chance to 'rest'.
-Dates/names/routes listed on the permits can not be changed after issuance. The park has the right to withdraw permission in the event of typhoons/earthquakes etc.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

White-as-white-water rafting

On this weekend’s (Aug 3-5) ‘Combo’ trip we will make a special effort to fit in white-water rafting on the Lao-nung River. This in addition to the usual activities – camping high up, big sunrise, hike, downhill cycle, mucking around in cool mountain streams (see pics below), tea plantations, etc.

Remember, the price includes everything, and the fitness level required is low!

Other stuff open to all:

The August 21-23 Yushan trip is now full, but we have another one going August 29 (late evening) to August 31. Contact us ASAP.

Meteor Lake. We hope to make it to Chia-ming lake on August 13-15 A bit of fitness needed here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stink and Soak

The summer weather stinks, and we've surely got the best place to be.

The falls, slides and pools may not be Niagara, Disney nor Olympic, but they are up the road from us and we have them all to ourselves usually.

On the 'Combo Weekends' we have been hanging around here a lot. Juvenile behavior is allowed - expected and observed.

Boys will be boys, and the men will be idiots. The girls...well, pretend to be something else altogether.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yushan spaces

A couple of places are still available on an ascent of Yushan August 20-22. If interested contact us as soon as possible at the usual address ...and hope the typhoons stay away.

Hibernation over.

After an early summer break in cooler climes - hibernation, if we may call it that, we are well fed/awake and ready for some trips.

July 27-29 we will have a 'Combo Weekend' open to anyone. As the summer heat is at its most annoying, more time will be set aside for frolicking around in cool river pools and waterfalls. Remember this trip is suitable for anyone fit/unfit.

Early August we're putting together a group for Chai-ming Meteor lake. will have more details soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A message from our mascot.

What better way to launch the new website than with a word or two from our mascot and hero. Click on the speaker icon, and enjoy. It comes from one of those rare government-sponsored sites that make some sense and are useful - Taiwan's Ecological Conservation.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

DIY Trips

To be completed. Temp October 3rd 2011...