Hike to HuYaYuShan 戶亞宇山 in Taiwan

February 25, 2019 — Leave a comment

After a failed attempt that resulted in me being violently pulled down by a snare, motorcycle on top of me for about 40 minutes, I felt it was time to head back to HuYaYuShan 戶亞宇山 for one more try.

HuYaYuShan is located in Laiyi 來義 between and Neihe (佳興 & 內社). After you cross a bridge, you need to make a right at the first road and follow it up the mountain. It’s approximately here: 22.528743, 120.661970. There’s some concrete on the way up, but for the most part it’s dirt.

You do get some decent views on the drive up.

Once you’re towards the top a single track trail in bad condition splits off from the main dirt road. This is where most people will need to park. If you have an off-road capable bike, then you’ll save yourself about a 2 kilometer hike. But I warn you, it gets pretty crappy. Proceed at your own risk.

Also, at a certain point along the single track trail you will find a ribbon draped across the trail. Do take heed!

This is to warn you that there are traps beyond this point. The ones I saw from there to the trail head were all off to the sides of the trail. But I’m sure they are frequently moved to new locations. BE CAREFUL! I read in another blog post about a group hiking this mountain and one of them stepped in a metal leg-hold trap. She ended up being OK, but it could have been much, much worse. As for myself, this happened…

The last time I was here I tried taking the trail all the way up to where it ended. I found a GPX track that showed a possible route. I couldn’t find it and headed back down on my bike. I wasn’t going too fast, but not slow either. I felt something like vines grabbing my right foot – it’s a common occurrence when off-roading here. But this time the “vines” held tight and within a second I was on the ground dazed. I was wearing full offroad armor, so I wasn’t physically hurt. As for my pride…well, I was slightly embarrassed to be pulled down by “vines”. The whole thing just seemed absurd. 

As I tried to pull my leg out from under my bike, nothing happened. I then tried pushing the bike up so I could pull my foot out. Again, nothing. I went back and forth, pulling and pushing, for the next 40 minutes. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t free myself. I even managed to undo most of the straps holding the boot shut but it didn’t help. It was frustrating and I was using up all of my energy. Also, my boots are good but my foot was between the motorcycle frame and the ground. There was a lot of pressure on it and my foot was slowly getting numb. I knew the chances of anyone coming up here were slim to none, so I said fuck it and put my free leg on the seat and pushed as hard as I could while pulling my trapped foot. It hurt, but I felt it come out just a tiny bit. I tried again and again and again until it finally popped out!

I immediately felt the blood rushing back into my top half of my foot. I stood up and crashed back down on the opposite side of my bike for a good 15 to 20 minutes. I was spent!

And for the record, I had no cellphone coverage. This was the incident that prompted me to purchase a satellite phone. I almost always carry it with me now. 

After I regained my energy I picked up my bike and all my confusion was gone. I got snared. I hadn’t noticed the snare because the cable was under my bike and disappeared into the grass. 

The reason I couldn’t pull my boot out was because the snare also grabbed my brake lever.

All that force from the momentum of my bike coming to a complete stop tightened that cable REALLY tight. Thus, cutting off some of the blood to my foot. And with me being tethered to my bike, it was impossible to push the bike up. In retrospect, I think it was fortunate it had grabbed the brake lever. Imagine if it had only grabbed my foot? I would have been pulled in one direction while my bike went off in another. My knee, groin, or other body part could have suffered a bad injury. 

Ok, so all of that is to tell you to watch out. 🙂 

Oh, and I was snared a second time on the way down. But this time I was going really slow and nothing happened.

Now back to HuYaYuShan…

That’s the trail head! It’s no easy start. But it’s not so bad. The beginning of the hike is relatively steep, but it eventually flattens out a bit.

After just under an hour you’ll find yourself at a nice little open area with a good view. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t looking good for pictures. 

Thirty minutes later and I arrived at…a peak I hadn’t known existed!

Turns out its HuYaYuShan Main Peak 戶亞宇山主峰. Cool! A two for one!

Oh, and this marker has some issues.

I found it laying on its side when I arrived. That’s a first.

Other than the elevation gain, it was pretty easy going up to this point. But after this clearing the trail gets more overgrown. You need to follow the ridge from this peak to the next. It drops down and goes back up. Plants cover the descent all over. When I left this peak I ran into the dreaded plant I’ve dubbed “Hell Spikes”. That wasn’t a good sign.

They’re in there somewhere.

Now the good news is, it’s only about an hour to hike to the next peak. And you’ll get a nice breeze and view between the peaks.

I made it to HuYaYuShan without incident.

From here you get a great view of the other side of Laiyi.

As you can see, the weather was getting worse. I really wish I could have came on a clear day. This must be an amazing view. 

After a decently long rest and my usual peak picture…

…I photographed whatever I thought interesting…

…and hiked back.

The return hike went without incident. In a couple spots I got a decent picture opportunity. If I had a better camera these could have turned out much nicer, but they’re not so bad I guess.

You can see Dapeng Bay 大鵬灣 and XiaoLiuQiu island 小琉球 in the distance. 

One last shot…

I made it back to my bike and carefully drove my way out, successfully avoiding any traps. 🙂

I recommend this hike for a day hike if you don’t mind the dangers of the traps. It’s really a nice little hike that didn’t tire me out. Ok, it’s not EASY, but it’s not so hard.

 

Date hiked: 2019 February 15

 

GPX Track for Download

 

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Glenn

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