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!