It has taken me a while to get around to writing about this hike. It’s not that QiLuZhiKeShan – 耆路知可山 was particularly difficult, but because I attempted it three times. Writing about it feels like I’m going back for a forth try! Wouldn’t you feel the?
Ok, I’m lying. I went out there three times, but only attempted the hike twice. On my second trip I was blocked from accessing the trail head in two places. At the time, the government was working on the new number 9 tunnel. The trail head is right at the west tunnel entrance.
In the second picture (taken on my first trip) you can see a road going up in the middle of the picture. That’s the best way to get down to cross the river. However, on my second trip it was blocked by a large crane holding up the new section of bridge. But no need to fear! There’s another road just a little ways down…that was blocked by ANOTHER crane. Doh!
Well, so much for that. I axed my plans and instead hiked NuRengShan – 女仍山, one of the XiaoBaiYue 小百岳. It was a great hike. I can’t complain.
First Trail Head – Isn’t There Something Better!?
On my first attempt, I dutifully followed the GPX track I found on the Internet. But I was met with frustration and delay.
The gate wasn’t locked. But I didn’t feel much like “trespassing”. (maybe it was the barking dogs that made me think twice)
It seemed to me that this was a public road, but I wasn’t about to argue the point…with nobody. LOL So I asked my wife to call the number for me. That did not work at all. It accomplished nothing but pissing off my wife. The person answered, heard about five words from my wife, and hung up on her. She called back a few times. Then the person must have turned of their phone.
My only option was to park down by the road, walk up to this spot, and cut up to the next switchback. Yeah, I made my own trail.
It wasn’t pretty, but I made it up to the next road.
Following this old road will take you up past these coveted sightseeing relics.
There’s also some sort of little transmission tower or something along the way. I didn’t get a picture.
The road will take you to this messy intersection.
From here you can go up…
Obviously you want to go up. The road going down comes from the other trail head.
A Better Route?
First, I must apologize. In order for me to get into this second trail head, I feel I must explain to you how I found it. Otherwise you might be asking, “Why in the hell didn’t you take that trail from the beginning you idiot!?” And I wouldn’t blame you. So here goes.
On my way down on my first failed attempt I came to the junction above. I knew I would have to come back and I didn’t much want to have to go through that “new” trail I made. And as decent as that road going down in the picture above looked, I thought that it must go SOMEWHERE…ultimately leading to the main road below.
I wasn’t wrong, but I made a series of wrong turns along the way that prolonged the whole trip. But whatever…I had time.
The yellow lines are the first trip. The red lines the last, successful trip.
As you can see, the road does go back down to the main road, but it’s quite a bit longer. And see that little jumble of yellow at the top that goes nowhere? Yeah, those are the culmination of all of my bad decisions. Jeesh!
Though they weren’t without reward. Here are some of the ‘cool’ stuff I saw along the way.
A garbage heap!
A sketchy homemade bridge!
A random ladder!
A metal structure!
And a shitload (and I mean A LOT) of these plants, which appear to be 山蘇 –or Bird-nest fern–a common vegetable here in Taiwan. Someone is definitely taking advantage of growing them up here.
Yeah, it was a heckuva detour no doubt!
But eventually I found the correct road down and made it out before dark.
Two Trail Heads – Choose Your Poison
Which route would I recommend? That’s entirely dependent on what mode of transportation you took to get there. If you’re on foot (you took a bus or begged someone for a ride) then you’re stuck with the first route. Maybe you can try your luck with crossing the gate and pray the dogs are chained and the owner isn’t around. Or do what I did and make your own path up the mountain to the next switchback.
Drove a car? Probably the first route, but possibly the second route. You can drive a good ways up the second route, but you’ll have to park somewhere along the way before the junction. It all depends on how adventurous you are.
Motorcycle or scooter? Definitely take the second route. It’ll save you lots of time and effort.
Honestly though, anyone can take the second route if you wanted to hike up from the main road. It took me just over an hour to hike DOWN from the junction (minus the ridiculous detour). So maybe an hour and a half or so to hike up? It’ll take half that time hiking up the first route though, so…
Have you chosen your poison? Great! Whichever route you choose, you’ll end up at the junction. Here it is again.