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2018-07-16

2018年7月14日 烏來下阿玉山 一日だけ賑わいの不人気山登山

林道から見る下阿玉山
先月苦労した烏來落鳳山登山の際に桶後溪の向こうにみた下阿玉山は、標高は1089mとそこそこあるが、まったく展望もなく人気の山ではない。ネット上の記録も少ない。最近のものもない。落鳳山のようにあまり道の状態が良くないことを想定していったところ、草が刈られていて道筋も一部が草に埋もれていた以外には、かなりはっきりしていた。5月に発生した阿玉山の遭難で、レスキューチームがこの道筋から捜索にあたり、その際に道を整備したのかもしれない。枯れた刺藤などみると時期的にはそのようなものに見えた。

孝義から下阿玉山を往復
往復なので左右対称な歩行高度
阿玉山(標高1420m)は、烏來と宜蘭とを隔てる山塊のうちで主要な山である。桶後溪と南勢溪との間の山々の元締め的な位置にある。実は阿玉と名がつく山は、この下阿玉山だけでなく、中、東、西とそれぞれ頭に抱いているピークが取り巻いている。更に阿玉溪山もある。これをいれると全部で六座の阿玉山があることになる。これらの山々は、けっこう深い。筆者が過去が登ったのは、波露山のみだ。一昨年の台風で烏來は壊滅的な被害を受けた。その後烏來の山には行っていなかった。今後は、この地域の山を登ることがあるだろう。
下阿玉山山頂のメンバー(CT Chenさん撮影)
烏來バスターミナルでタクシーに乗る
烏來へは台北駅近くから849番バスが頻繁に往復している。今回も公館に7時半に集合し、バスで向かう。休日の今日は、MRT新店駅に着く前に満席だ。さらにかなりの乗客が新店駅でのりバスは満員になる。先週の水曜日に通り過ぎた瑪麗亞台風のあと、好天が続いている。谷あいから望む空は青い。8時35分に終点烏來バスターミナルに到着。その少し前で待っているタクシーに分乗する。最初は400元といっていたが、先月は300元だったのでそれを主張し300元となる。台湾のタクシーは台北などの大都市ではメーターで走るが、こうした郊外だと値段交渉が必要である。三台の車で孝義の桶後林道入口へ向かう。

林道入口
はらわたの飛び出た青蛇
乗車20分足らずで、9時前に林道入口前に着く。自家用車でやってきた数名のメンバーと合流する。今日は、19名と不人気山としては予想外の大人数だ。林務局管理下の桶後林道は、以前は申請すれば自家用車で入ることができた。2年前の台風で寸断され現在は復旧工事中で、一般車両は進入制限されている。9時過ぎ歩き始めてすぐ、道端の管理所で名前を登録し進む。道の真ん中に全身緑の青蛇が押しつぶさ内臓が飛び出た状態で横たわっている。まだ死んではいない。生命力がとても強いようだ。道は右に西坑林道を分け、下っていく。大きく左に曲がり、阿玉溪の橋を渡る。

登山口前で撮影、右のピークは大保克山
急坂が続く
橋を渡ってすぐ右の石積のところに、登山口がある。マーカーリボンが取り付けられている。9時20分過ぎ、登り始める。道の状態は不人気の道としては普通だ。沢沿いにトラバースしていき、そのうち山腹を登り始める。登山口から山頂までの高度差は約800ⅿぐらいだが、片道2㎞強なので距離が短いので勾配がきつい。道がジグザグになっていればまだしも、斜面を直線的に登っていくのでこのような勾配である。道筋は、思っていたよりよい。さらに草も刈られている。最近別の登山者が入ってきたようだ。雑木林の間に杉もある。人工的に植えられたものだ。最後にロープが取り付けられている急坂を登り切る。標高400M少しの地点で尾根上にでる。少し休憩をとる。

古い道標
杉林の急坂を登る
狭い岩の尾根を行く
尾根上の道も相変わらず等高線がつまった急坂が続く。杉林と雑木林が交互に現れる。10時48分、1997年と記された古い道標を見る。阿玉山にいくつかのルートから登ってそこで落ち合う活動(會師登山)が行われたようだ。その少し先で、わずかに坂がなだらかになるが、また急坂が続く。11時過ぎ、標高700Mを過ぎるあたりで、尾根が狭まり岩が現れる。下草もあまりなく、すっきりした尾根だ。左に樹木の向こうに落鳳山が見える。尾根がまた広くなり、下草も現れる中を登る。11時20分、標高830Mあたり少し開けた平らな場所に来る。ここで休憩を取る。

開けた場所で休憩を取る
墜落した軽飛行機の残骸
山頂前の杉林、道筋があまりはっきりしない
休憩後、最後の登りを行く。十数分で坂が緩やかになってくる。尾根上に出た後はいままで風があったが、ここまでくるとさらに強く吹いてきて、全身汗まみれのところに気持ちがよい。気温は28度ほどだ。12時4分、左に墜落した軽飛行機の残骸を見る。緩やかになった広い尾根は、杉の倒木をくぐってすぐ左に折れて進む。この辺りは草が道を覆い隠している。杉林の中を過ぎ、12時17分すぐ左に思いがけなく山頂が現れた。三角点が埋められている頂上はそれほど広くない。周囲は樹木で、展望はない。ここで休憩し食事をとる。

下阿玉山山頂
ゆるかな山頂近くの下り
数人がビールを携えてきたので、開けてみんなでいただく。本来はゆっくりするつもりであったが、20分ほどするとスズメバチがやってきた。偵察ハチのようで様子を見ながら飛んでいる。メンバーはじっとしてハチが立ち去るのを待つ。ハチを脅かすようなことはしなかったので、敵意なしと判断したのかもしれないが、安全をとってすぐに頂上を立ちさる。台湾の山々は、夏から秋にかけてスズメバチが多く現れ、襲われることもしばしばだ。

急坂を下る
道筋ははっきりしている
12時52分、往路を下り始める。頂上近くの緩い坂を過ぎると、きつい登りは急な下り坂となる。下から知人の四名ハイカーが登ってきてすれ違う。今日はこの不人気山は、突然にぎやかだ。13時35分、上りで休んだ広場で休憩を長めにとる。休憩後さらに下る。相変わらず坂は急だ。40分ほどで、標高400M強の尾根に上がる部分に着く。ここで全員が下ってくるのを待ち、最後の山腹の下りを行く。沢音が大きくなると、みちは右に山腹をトラバースし、14時57分登山口に降り立つ。橋脇の日陰で最後のビールを開け、全員が降りるのを待つ。15時15分、林道を登り始める。林道からは右に上った下阿玉山がどっしり構えている。15時28分林道終点に着く。車でやってきたメンバーの車に便乗し、帰途についた。

登山口についた
登り約3時間、下り約2時間である。ほとんど展望もない山で、何が楽しいのかと聞かれれば答えにつまる。しかし、山をひとつ登ったことは満足感がある。今回は、一つだけの、それも往復とも同じ道という単純な登山だ。あまり登山者に注目されない、この山は前回落鳳山に行かなければ、筆者のリストにも登らなかったかもしれない。現在の道の状態であれば、困難度はルート、体力ともにクラス3である。

2018-07-12

2018年7月7日~9日 南二段嘉明湖 Second visit to Jaminghu lake

Jiaminghu lake (嘉明湖) with Mt. Bulakesang (布拉克桑山) behind
台湾は日本と同じように台風が多く訪れる。去年はとても少なかったが、今年は空梅雨のあと南部を中心に豪雨、そして7月初旬に発生した瑪麗亞(マリア、日本では台風8号)台風が台湾北部海上を通過した。台湾の高山にある山道は、多くは林務局や国家公園の管理下にあり、台風による警報がでると閉鎖される。もともとは、向陽山から秀姑巒山までの中央山脈南二段を八日かけて縦走する予定であった。ところが、入山初日7月8日に、向陽管理所で台風による閉鎖が予想されるということ、台風の経路も当初より南よりになり台湾にやってくる可能性が高い。三叉山から一旦縦走を始めてしまうと逃げ道がない。そうしたことで、予定を変更嘉明湖を往復し下山することにした。

Peaks of the South Section Two (南二段山峰) and Mt. Jade (玉山) in far end
筆者は昨年5月に、嘉明湖訪れている。今回七名パーティーのうちの五名はまだであり、台北から数時間をかけてここまでやってきたので、二日だけになっても価値がある。さらに、昨年は雨でほとんど見えなかった南部の山々を望むことができた。南二段縦走は、いずれまた計画を立てて訪れることになるだろう。今回は、二回目の訪問になるので、英語で記述します。
The South Section Two of the Central Mountain Ridge (中央山脈南二段)
Taiwan's backbone, the Central Mountain Range (中央山脈), runs 340 kilometers north-south wise. For trekking purpose the entire range is divided into six sections and hikers usually refer to it when they talk about where they hike. It goes like the North Section One to Three to the middle point and further goes southwards the South Section Three down to One. Our original plan this time was to trek the entire section of the South Section Two, which starts at Mt. Xiugulanshan (秀姑巒山), the highest peak in the entire central mountain range at the north side all the way down to Mt. Guanshanlingshan (關山嶺山), where it meets the South Cross-Island Highway (南橫公路).

The two-day route
Two-day elevation profile of the trip
This strech of tail is controlled and maintained by two separate entities of Taiwan central government, namely Forestry Bureau (林務局) and Yushan National Park (玉山國家公園). When an official typhoon warning is issued, they close the trails regardless of you having permits for entry. We had a hard time to secure bed spaces at Jiaminghu lodge (嘉明湖避難山屋) under Forestry Bureau and other huts under the national park as they are independent and you have to apply for each, which may not match each other. It was really a pain in the neck to get the permits from the two authorities. So we were very disappointed when we found that typhoon Maria was changing its course closer to Taiwan than before our departure from Taipei and the prospect of trail closing is more imminent. The trail of the South Section Two has no escape route once you go past Jiaminghu lake (嘉明湖). When a typhoon hits Taiwan in the middle of our trekking, we will be stranded. We had no choice but change our original plan. Before the typhoon comes closer enough to get the trail closed, we had two days and we just made two-day trip to Jiaminghu Lake, which I visited last year.

All members at Jiaminghu lake
It turned out that the weather was very good and we enjoyed spectacular view of high mountains surrounding Jiaminhu lake, which I did not due to the bad weather on my last visit. We had more food as the original plan was eight-day trek, and left a part of it at our hiking shuttle service car and headed for Jiaminghu. The first day was to cover from the trail head to Jiaminghu lodge, which took us six hours for almost all ascent. On the second day, we made a round trip to Jiaminghu lake in the early morning and descended to the trail head in the afternoon, which totaled 11 hours including rest. An official typhoon warning was issued  in late afternoon of the second day, by which time we were already on our way home.


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Day One July 8: Trail head - Xiangyang lodge (向陽山屋)- Mt. Xiangyang (向陽山) - Jiaminghu lodge (嘉明湖避難山屋)

Hike from the trail head in south to Jiaminghu lodge
Elevation profile of the first day
Going on Suhua highway near Heping (蘇花公路和平段)
We left Taipei on July 7 noon. We hired a shuttle service car and we rode all the way from Taipei to Chishang (池上) near the South Cross-Island Highway, which leads to the trail head, Siangyang Forest Recreation Area (向陽森林遊樂區). We went down via No. 9 highway. As we came closer to our destination, we ran into heavy shower but by the time we had supper at Chishang it subsided. We checked in an inn at 19:45. It costed NT$500 each of us. The latest information about the typhoon shows that it would be more likely to come closer to Taiwan, which made us uneasy.

Passing through a section under road repair
On July 8 we get up at 4:00 to get ready for an early start. We have a breakfast at a nearby small shop where the inn keeper takes us as the meal is included in the cost of accommodation. The sky is clear and promises a good weather. We ride on the car and leave for Xiangyang trail head at 5:25. We get onto the Cross-Island highway after we pass a bridge over a very wide Beinan River (卑南溪). This highway was originally a foot trail of Guanshan Over-Pass Trail (關山越嶺道) built during the Japanese era. It was built to control indigenous Bunun tribes (布農族) living deep in the mountains. Later under Kuomintang regime it was converted to a car road. It goes through many precarious sections on the sides of high mountain where land slides often happen. Typhoon Morakot brought devastating damages to the highway in 2009 and it is still under repair after all those yeas. The section beyond Xiangyang is closed for public access.

Peaks of the South Section One are visible over the valley
At the gate of Xiangyang Control post
We soon enter a narrow valley and gain height as the car climbs along the gorge. We pass by a couple sections under repair work. After an hour or so of ride, our car climbs high enough to view peaks of the South Section One of  the Central Mountain range in a near distance. We arrive at Xiangyang a little before 7:00. It was an hour and half ride from Chishang. When we check in at Xiangyang control post (向陽工作站), we learn that we may well be stuck in the midway as Typhoon Maria is expected to approach Taiwan around July 11. After discussion we decide to change the plan and just go as far as Jiaminghu lake and return. We ask the shuttle car to stay until tomorrow for us to ride back to Taipei.

The trail at a junction: we go straight here, the right one leads to trail head too
Little Tiger, the dog at the observation deck
The altitude of Xiangyang is 2330 meters and we need to ascend something like 1100 meters to reach the Jiaminghu lodge today. We produce documents of entry permit to the control post as well as the police station. The thermometer on the wall of the police station shows 18 degree. It is very cool up here. We leave the gate at 7:45 and start our trip. We pass by a visitor center of the Recreation Area which seems to be in no use. I doubt few tourists except hikers like us visit this area to begin with. There are two trails leading up to the hiking trail and we take a left one. It is a wide dirt road and goes gradually up.

The view of the South Section Two from observation deck
Land slide and a detour on its top
Each member carries something like 15 ~ 17 kilograms of stuff on his/her back. Some of food has been removed as we will just stay two days on the mountain, but it still feels heavy. In a little more than twenty minutes of walk, we come to a pavilion and have a short rest. As we go up, the number on the kilopost increases by one hundred meters. At a observation platform by the trail we see peaks of the South Section One stand just across the deep valley. The Island-Cross highway traverses on the side of mountains. A dog named Little Tiger, which we later run into many times during our trip, rests on the platform. She is a slim mountain dog of Taiwan local breed. As we resume our walk, she comes along and stays with us for a while, then goes somewhere away.

Pine needle covered trail at 3K
The trail gains height by a couple times of zigzag. At the kilopost of 2.7K the wide trail ends and meets a narrow hiking trail. To my surprise the end of the wide trail has been flushed away and a narrow detour has been made on the top edge of the land slide. It was intact when I came here last year. After a short rest, we cross a bridge and step onto the hiking trail at 9:07. The trail goes through pine woods and is covered by needles of pine trees. We go up by steep steps and then the trail levels out on the side of hill.

Going up a steep grade with steps








We run into a couple of teams of hikers on their way down. This is indeed a popular route. We descend slightly to a stream and cross it. We finish a short and steep climb at 10:07 and reach Xiangyang lodge, which stands at 4.3K. It took us two hours and fifteen minutes from the trail head at the control post. We find the dog, Little Tiger, is lying flat on the wooden deck of the lodge bathing in the sun. She has outran us and is resting here already!

Xiangyang Lodge
Going through pine woods
Going up endless steps
We resume our hike at 10:17. The trail goes steeply up. Fog is gathering and fills woods. After fifty minutes of struggle we come to a wide open space under trees at 5.5K and have a rest. I remember that there was a camp of workers who repaired the trail above this point, but now there is no camp. Endless steps leads to the ridge above. As we go up, trees by the trail become thin and low and we come onto the ridge at 11:39. Fog prevents any view on the both sides of the ridge, which is now with no high trees and just covered by Yushan cane (玉山箭竹). It is good that there is no rain, though fog is thick. At 11:43 we come to the famous juniper tree (向陽名樹) and have a break. Juniper trees (圓柏) live in very harsh environments and grow very slowly. This tree may be more than hundred years old. Strong wind and cold weather created this shape, which looks like Bonsai. Our members g to the tree and take pictures with it.

Xiangyang Juniper Tree (向陽名樹)
Climb a steep grade on the wide ridge
At 12:09 we come to a sign shows a picture of Xiangyang Cliff (向陽斷崖) and indicates that we are standing on the top of the cliff, but fog is filled in the valley and we cannot appreciate it. Shortly after passing 6.5K, we have a long lunch break at 12:20. When we start for the last leg of the hike, a few rain drops are coming down and fog has thicken. It does not look good. We put on a rain jacket and pants. Luckily rain does not turn heavy. A steep grade lasts twenty minutes or so. The trail then goes around at the left side of a small hill.  We come to the junction to the summit of Mt. Xiangyangshan (向陽山) at 13:24. One member and myself has been to the summit, which seems to have no view under this thick fog, and decide go down to Jiaminghu lodge (嘉明湖山屋) while the rest of the team goes to the summit first.Two of us go down for another kilometer and reach the lodge at 13:55.

The junction to Mt. Xiangyang summit
Going down through rock section
The lodge belongs to Forestry Bureau and run by a company under contract. Unlike many mountain huts belonging to the National Parks, a lodge keeper is stationed here. We produce the document to him and he assigns bed positions. As popular as this route is, the demand for bed positions is pretty high. You have to go through drawing by the authority in advance. If you are lucky to be drawn, you pay NT$400 as a fee in advance. The system is as such and only Taiwanese nationals with ID can apply for it. Foreign hikers have to find a Taiwanese person to do it for them, which is pretty awkward and impractical.

Jiaminghu lodge
Inside the lodge
Each of us cooks supper outside in front of the lodge around 17:30. LED light, which is powered by solar cells on the roof, is turned on between 18:00 and 20:00. We will get up very early tomorrow morning. We go to bed after supper. Chattering of hikers dies down by 19:00 and snoring start coming from here and there. I remember hearing shower outside sometime in the midnight.











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Day Two July 9: Jiaminghu lodge - Mt. Sanchashan (三叉山) - Jiaminghu lake (嘉明湖) - Jiaminghu lodge - Xianghang Lodge - Trail head

Round trip the lake first and go down the mountain
Elevation profile of the second day
Cook breakfast by the lodge
I hear noises of chattering after 1:30 or so. We originally set it to 2:30 to get up, but due to the noise we also get up earlier. After having breakfast, we leave the lodge a 3:14, a little earlier than the original schedule of 3:30. Stars are visible in the clear sky. We will have a long day and we start very early. The thermometer by the front door shows 7 degree. We rely on head light but have no problem as the trail is in good shape. We pass by 9K at 3:33. We see lights in far distance on our right, which should be coming from the east coast towns. We make a steady progress and come to 10.5K (2.5K to the lake) at 4:10. We see a group of hiker down on the ridge in front with their head light on. There is light also on the side of Mt. Sanchashan, who must have left the lodge much earlier than us.

On the way to Mt. Sanchashan, a team is ahead of us
A crescent is up in the sky
We go down to the lowest part on the route and go up again. A crescent hangs above the shadow of Mt. Sanchashan. At 4:47 we reach a junction and we take a left path to Mt. Sanchashan first. The bottom of the night shows meager white light telling dawn is near. As we go up, a spectacular scenery of mountains starts showing up in twilight. Mt. Sanchashan is massive and very flat with no trees, and you can see clearly all around you. On our left Mt. Jade (玉山) stands in far end beyond Mt. Yunfeng (雲峰). We go up a last steep grade and get onto the flat top ridge. The triangulation marker is on the far end of the ridge and we walk over there against cold and strong wind. As we reach the summit with the marker at 5:10, the sun is just climbing over the horizon. It is so cold here that I bring out a jacket form the backpack and put it on.

Walking up on the vast open space of Mt. Sanchasan, then pointing peak of Mt. Xiangyang is behind
Seeing the sun is rising over the horizon at the flat summit
A northward view at dawn from Mt. Sanchashan
A southward view
Mt. Xingkangshan on right in the distance
On the summit a 360-degree view is just there. Peaks of the South Section Two stand one after another and lead to massive Mt. Xiuguluanshan. On your right in bright yellow light stands chunky Mt. Xinkangshan (新康山). If you look back, Mt. Xiangyangshan and the peaks of the South Section One queue towards south with their top in red morning light. I feel really pity that we cannot continue our trek over the South Section Two as the clear peaks are really inviting. Cold wind awakens us that it is the time to go down.

Heading down to the Lake
Four-way junction
We go down to a four-way junction down at the bottom of Mt. Sanchashan. This is where a trail leads to the peaks of the Section Two and a traversing trail on the side of Mt. Sanchashan meet. We take a straight one down to Jiaminghu lake. The lake reveals in the bottom of a depression surrounded by hills. It calmly leis down there, which I hardly made out in thick mist on my last visit. It looks totally different. Over the lake stands Mt. Bulakesangshan (布拉克桑山), one of the Taiwan 100 peaks. We wait for light shines on the lake until 6:04 and commence our way back to the lodge.

The lake is in the depression surrounded by hills and no way out
A massive body of Mt. Sanchashan, a traversing trail on its side is visible
Viewing Mt. Xiangyang and its north peak
We go back to the junction and take the traversing trail on our left. It goes along the massive side of Mt. Sanchashan. At 6:27 it joins the trail to Mt. Sanchashan summit which we took earlier. Mt. Xiangyangshan and its north peak stand in full day light and the trail over the rigde is clearly seen. The Jiaminghu lodge is also visible on the side of Mt. Xiangyang. We pass by the bottom of the trail at 6:47 and climb back 200 meters of the gap to the Mt. Xiangyang north peak. On the way up we run into Little Tiger the dog coming down with a hiker. We reach the top of the grade at 7:19 and four of us visit the summit of the North Peak, which takes only a few minutes. From the top we enjoy a wide northward view.

Passing the bottom and climbing back to the north peak
Little Tiger is coming down with a hiker
A panoramic northward view from Mt.Xiangyang north peak
We are almost back at the lodge
Leaving the lodge with a heavy pack
We continue our way back while we enjoy splendid view extending on both sides and reach the lodge at 8:14. The round trip took us 5 hours. After one hour rest, we start for the last leg of our trip with a heavy load. We struggle to go up to the junction to Mt. Xiangyang summit and reach there at 9:52, ascent of a little more than a half hour from the lodge. This is the last long ascent and it makes us happy.  Cloud is already rising from the valley and it obscures the summit of Mt. Xiangyang. If the sky were clear we would go up to the summit for nice view. But this cloud would not allow it and we give up the idea.

Back at the junction to Mt. Xiangyang summit
The right side of the ridge is still without cloud
Mt. Yusuishan (玉穗山)
We resume our way down after a rest. As we cross over the ridge, we are surprised to find that the other side of the mountain is still clear and Mt. Yunfeng and Mt. Yusuishan are visible over the deep valley. Mt. Yusuishan is a kind of obscurity to most of hikers but it is very significant in Taiwan's history. Under the Japanese regime, indigenous tribes resisted the regime and its control. A tribe after tribe gave in particularly after rigorous controls with fire power under the fifth governor Sakuma Samata during his 1906 - 1915 tenure was placed. However one village, Tamaho (玉穗社) of Bunun tribe under the leadership of Lahu Ali moved from Dafun (大分) to the foot of this mountain and kept its own independence. The village was very remote in the valley and it was not easy for the police troops to reach there. After Guanshan over-pass patrol trail (關山越嶺警備道) was built, which made access to the area easy, he surrendered in 1933 ending 18 years of resistance.

Going down on the wide ridge with fog gathering
Porters carrying up food and other stuff
At 10:11 we start a steep descent leaving the all mountain scenery behind. Fog raises over the very wide ridge and prevent us from seeing distant mountains. We pass by the Juniper tree and leave the ridge to the steep descent with countless steps. We run into three porters who carry foods and other stuff to the lodge. They work for a company which offers food and sleeping bags at the lodges, also conduct trips to the lake. This route is very popular and many new hikers are coming, so there is such demand.

The visitor center is just below, we are back
We get down to Xiangyang lodge at 11:27 and have a long rest. While we are resting two young men come down with Little Tiger on leash. She looks very obedient. After a half hour rest we complete our last section of way down and reach the gate at 13:20. We get on the shuttle car, which was waiting for us and leave the gate at 13:50 for a long 8 hours ride home. The total cost for this trip including the shuttle car service, insurance, the lodge and the inn at Chishang was NT$3800 per person.

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Writer on a rock with Mt. Yunfeng and Mt. Jade behind
We are helpless before the mighty power of nature. Typhoon Maria indeed came and passed by Taiwan with a small margin. It left some damage to northern Taiwan though the influence was rather limited. Southern Taiwan was not hit hard and I suppose that damage to the South Section Two was minor if any. If we had stayed one or two days at a hut letting the typhoon pass by, we might have completed our original plan. But safety should come first. Mountains are still there for us to trek if we are healthy. I am already considering when and how to hike the route again.