SNOW MOUNTAIN - bazancik

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Only a few photos from the hike up the Snow Mountain (雪山;) and back to Wuling farm. Unfortunately, not the most exciting light  and so limited photo opportunities.

As a walk it's relatively easy with well defined path up to the top. No wonder so many people seem to be walking it in complete darkness! Can get busy. Take some earplugs and sleep mask - huts are stupidly noisy (ah, the wonderful noise of plastic bags at 3am...) and most people totally ignore the fact that they are wearing a head torch. Sad but true. 


WOMEN ZOU BA (我们走吧)!

The sunny weather on the day we set off to 'conquer' the Snow Mountain (雪山) provided us with some excellent view straight from the carpark. Hiking in Taiwan is certainly different to Scotland or New Zealand. But the mountains and the view are equally stunning. Also seems that New Zealand is not the only place sporting Long White Clouds :)


Start of the walk
Little bit misty - and mysterious....

Little bit misty(erious)

The sunny and clear weather did not quite follow for the rest of the day. As we ascended, mist shrouded the surrounding peaks, limiting the visibility to a few meters. While we could not admire the promised views, the weather brought some mystery to the hike. Which each step, constantly changing shapes and shadows emerged from the distance. With each step you expected a mysterious creature to emerge. What was that? Is that a tree or is that some animal?


Dinner above the clouds

Dinner above the clouds

We made to the 369 Cabin just in time to get some cooking and sunset action together. Cooking above the clouds is an experience in itself. But it got even better with some seriously nice, freshly prepared (with all fresh ingredients!) ginger chicken noodle offered by a couple of fellow walkers. Forget about light&fast - welcome to 'food first' approach.The cabin can host some 160 people and it gets pretty busy outside when the dinner time comes. Avoiding weekends when walking in Taiwan is a good idea. As are earplugs or good headphones. Maybe even a tent next time...

Nightfall

Nightfall

The night draws in quickly and the temperature drops. Though we were boiling down in the Wuling farm, it's a different story all together up here.

Time to join the snoring-choir and a plastic-bag orchestra of the cabin. And of course the disco lights of head torches that would be shined straight into your face at any random time of the night - or day!

Barren landscape

  • Barren landscape
  • Barren landscape

Nearby the cabin the forest was mostly destroyed by the fire. Although new trees are establishing already, the white, lifeless tree trunks provide a stark reminder of the event.

Sea of gold

Walking in the sea of gold

As you walk the path, the light plays with the surrounding landscape, illuminating some of the native grasses to appear like a blanket of LED lights. Two walkers, heading towards the Snow Mountain main peak, cross sun-bathed field of native grass. The surrounding mountains provide a picturesque backdrop to the walk. In the distance you can see the rather distinctive peak of the Central Range Point (中央尖山) - 3705m high.


Tall trees

Tall trees


The trees that survived the fire grow high and straight. Nothing better than a solitary time in a forest - especially in a country that offers little opportunities for reflective solitude!


Twisted trees

Some of the trees on the way take amazing shapes and forms. They remain standing against the odds and changing times. Their bare branches are like wrinkles of old people: the evidence of passing time and wisdom. Apparently there are some Taiwanese Black Bears living around the track. Well, no sign of these when we walked - but plenty more of interestingly shaped trees...

Little ants

Ants

Like ants, a steady stream of hikers are traversing the ridge. The scale of the Snow Mountain is not always apparent when walking. Focused on the track, we often ignore the sheer size of the task and the mountain. But stop and look at those ahead and you realise how small we are in the face of the nature. Little ants making their way to the peak...

The top

  • Sisters
  • The peak

I am sure that this is just one of the many peaks in Taiwan we will take a photo.

Not the first, not the last one. Done it. Time to head back - after taking in the expansive views and a little scramble up the side pick that is!

Taking the views

The Central Range Point (中央尖山), at 3705m

The Central Range Point (中央尖山), at 3705m high, is one of the most distinctive peaks surrounding around. With the symmetrical, knobby in some ways, shape poking above other mountains in the distance and often surrounded by clouds, it screams to be photographed.

View from the Northern Small Peak - Beilengjiao Peak (北稜角峰)

View from the Northern Small Peak (Beilengjiao Peak) 北角峰 (北稜角峰)

Once reaching the main peak (雪山), there is only one more necessary thing to do: to walk (or scramble) to the nearby Northern Small Peak (Beilengjiao Peak - 北角峰, 北稜角峰) to get a glimpse of the 3886m peak and it's surrounding. It takes only some 15 minutes up the rocky wall - but offers some magnificent views. Including the peak of The Central Range Point (中央尖山) nicely peaking from between the clouds. The zig-zagging path is the main approach to the peak. Magnificent range.

Little busy

  • a little bit busy
  • queue

Weekends can be a little busy up there. Despite a strict control and permits - the path can get a little bit crowded at times... You can actually see nice, orderly queues at times.

One more photo

finishing touches


And of course, being in Taiwan, an obligatory 'end of walking' photo :)


Chrysanthemum tea

  • Chrysanthemum flowers
  • Chrysanthemum flowers
  • Chrysanthemum flowers
  • Chrysanthemum flowers

Chrysanthemum flowers being dried for tea. Grown and hand-picked at the Wulin Farm in the mountains. Using the same drying racks and bamboo trays as in tea making, the flowers are divided by their colour (and flavour) and dried. They produce an aromatic, light tea.

The last glimpse

Last glimpse at the Snow Mountain

Of course the weather got better and clearer once we descended. On the way back, the light was pretty good (considering the previous days) and Hsuehshan looked nice bathed in the morning sun. The contrasty, lush green only added some extra punch to the view. Oh well, guess would need to come back!


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