|Members at the summit of Mt. Zhulushan|
|Start from Xiongkong and make a round trip|
|Elevation profile of the hike|
|Red car of a fire brigade at the trail head|
The adjacent peak, Mt. Kabaoshan (卡保山), is higher than Mt. Zhulushan by a hundred meters and has a very rare kind of trees, Beech trees on and around its summit. This species is actually spreads over to other southern and taller peaks of the same range and are now under protection of the central government. This kind of trees are said to have survived for millions of years.
|The mountains are still very high up there|
|At the trail head|
We gathered at Xiongkong (熊空) bus stop by three shared cars arriving one after another. While five of us were waiting for the rest of members to come, search and rescue teams came up by fire engines and scooters. They told us that one hiker was missing on the day before near Yunsen water fall (雲森瀑布). After all three cars arrived, we went onto a parking space of Zhongsheng (鐘聲) cabin near the trail head. The parking space is pretty big and can hold probably more than a dozen of cars.
|Passing by a land slide section|
We start at a little after 8:00 after my short briefing about the route. The sky through the tree branches is blue and looks pretty good, which makes us forget that there was a heavy afternoon shower here yesterday, in which the hiker lost her way and still may be somewhere in this area waiting for help. We soon pass a junction where the right trail leads to Yunsen waterfall. A rescue car of the fire brigade is parked here with a few rescue members. They will start a big scale search and rescue effort today. We take left at the junction and go us on a ill-maintained paved road.
|Big stones sitting on the trail|
The incline gets steeper. We see mountains hiker up there on our right where no trees hinder our sight. In about 10 minutes of walk, we come to a corner of the road, where a dirt trail diverges on our right as a red plate placed on the concrete wall shows. There are two trail heads for the mountain, and we go for the other trail head. We continue on the paved road for another few minutes and come to it at 8:18.
|Members at the stone resting place|
The trail starts with a mushy bottom which soon turns dry and then comes across the junction of the other trail which we saw on the paved road. The trail goes on the hillside and pass by a small scale landslide which took place when a typhoon hit very hard in the region last summer. We have a short break at 8:42 at a place where 11 people can stand together for rest. The temperature is already high and I am getting very wet with my own sweat.
|Going up in cider forest|
The trail gets steeper and it finally gets on to a ridge, where we can feel light breeze. We meet a team of three men resting there, who are members of the rescue team. They ask us where we are heading. I answer that we will go to Mt. Kabaoshan then one man ask us to watch out for the missing person on our way. We wonder if that missing person ever would climb from Yunshen waterfall onto such a high place but say OK to do it anyhow. We continue on the steep trail on the ridge and come to a place where a few big blocks of stone sit on the trail, which is very inviting us for a break. We have walked about 30 minutes since the last break and have a rest. On such a steep and continuous uphill trail, it is a good practice to have a break every half an hour or so.
|Going along the small water stream|
|Water flows in the trail|
|Last struggle below the summit|
|Going down on the same trail we came up|
|Descending a steep section|
One of the members shows exhaustion. If we continue on the original plan to Mt. Kabaoshan, it will probably drag a whole progress. So I made up my mind to change the plan and descend on the same trail at 11:50, which actually other members are also happy about. The steep climb means a quick decent on the way down. We come down to the creek less than half an hour and have a rest. It is still early and we are not in rush. We open another cold beer. It feels good.
|Walking in the cider forest|
|At the West peak summit|
|Big land slide|
|Crossing the river for Yunsen water fall|
|All members in front of the water fall|
We did not hike as planed but I believe that it was helpful for the participating members to the Japanese high mountain trip. We have a little more stuff on our back in Japan than this time, but the trails are much better there. The level of trail condition really affects the physical requirement. The better the trail is maintained, the easier the walking can be. On our way back to Taipei by car, poring shower started. We completed our hike without even a drop of rain, which I say we were lucky indeed.
|Going over a detour trail of a land slide section|