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2016-09-26

2016年9月25日 萬里瑪瑣山 Mt. Masoushan and dinner of Wanli crabs

海岸に面した断崖から海を臨む、右奥は野柳、下は台二号線(濱海公路)
台湾の北海岸にある萬里は、近年カニで有名だ。秋になると萬里はカニを求めて訪れる遊楽客が多い。実は、筆者も去年の同じころ、やはり萬里の山を登り帰りにカニを食して帰った。今回はそのうちの一つ瑪瑣山を登るものだ。下山後はカニを食べて帰った。瑪瑣山は、昨年春に道が整備され、一時期は多くの登山者が訪れたが、一年たった今はほとんど歩かれていない。昨年は、まだましだった草やぶはすっかりもと通りの密生となり、かなりの藪漕ぎを強いられた。本来は、短時間で終わる気楽なハイキングのつもりが、このため少しきつくなった。一度訪れた場所であること、今回のメンバーには英国人が二名いることで、英語で記述します。

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Peak of Mt. Masoushan viewed from near Wanli town
Mt. Masoushan (瑪瑣山), an unimpressive small peak with an elevation of 234 meters standing along the north coast of Taiwan near Wanli (萬里), all the sudden became popular last year. Some volunteer hikers came in and cut out thick and tall grasses and cleared its paths early last year. The peak offers a good view of the ocean upon the cliff of its ridge along the coast and near the summit. So flocks of hikers rushed in and walked along the cleared paths. When I hiked over this mountain in October last year, the paths were clear except the second half of the route. Just like the other unpopular peaks around the Taipei area, however, once hikers' appetite for new routes was satisfied, the peak was forgotten and the vegetation claimed back its original territory.

From the southern end to the north
Elevation profile
Three-star crab of Wanli
I decided to visit this mountain again for a rather easy hike and the taste of crabs of Wanli afterwords, which became well known in the recent years. I expected that the section of tall grasses would be tough as there are very few reports of hikes there recently on the net and that the grasses would have grown back. Footpaths can stay as footpaths only while people continue to walk on. Once nobody walks, shrubs and grasses grow back very quickly on this warm and fertile land of Taiwan.When we were there, it turned out be true and we had to crawl through grasses for two sections. Besides the nasty grasses, there were a bunch of fallen trees and branches, apparently blown down by the recent typhoons, obstructed our passage and added more hardship. Luckily however, the last section of our hike over the cliff along the coast was a clear path, which was cut out again lately by the same volunteers. That was a great help, otherwise we would have had a hard time struggling through tall grasses on our way down.

Meeting point for the hike
We started from a gate for former landfill area on the old national road #2 (舊二號省道), and walked on the abandoned paved road to the trail head. The trail started with thick and tall grasses, looking almost impenetrable. We struggled through it and got on a ridge to the summit. From the summit we followed the grassy path again to the another abandoned road. We then followed another ridge route to the cliff overlooking the ocean. After we came down to the coastal highway (濱海公路), we walked along the sea-coast walkway to the town of Wanli and had a crab dinner. The hike itself lasted four hours for the hill hike and another forty minutes for the walk along the coast to Wanli. The dinner of sea food over beer was of course wonderful and however hard the hike was to some members, it marked a good end of the day.

We enter the right gate for the trail head
Abandoned road
We have 16 members today. A few new faces are among them while some people have not come to my hike for a while. Many of us gathered at Taipei West bus terminal (台北西站) A building to get a #1815 bus. When I came to the gate of the bus, several friends were already there in line. I joined them and got on a bus just before 8:30. The bus stopped by another bus terminal near City Government (市府轉運站) for more passengers. We came to the city limit bus stop (新北市界站) a little after 9:30 and walked back to the Wanli word limit monument. A few people did not catch the same bus with us and took a later one, but they arrived earlier than us. Their bus did not go through the City Government terminal. All members met around 10:15 at last.

Trail head in the thick grasses
We crawl through this jangle
We start off by passing the side of the closed gate and onto the paved road. The road looks not being traveled by any car for a long period and weeds grow here and there. Up a grade for about ten minutes or so, we come to the trail head. If I had never been here before, it would be very difficult to identify the grass wall is the way to go in. I spread the grasses, step in for a few steps and then find a marker ribbon is tied to a stem of grass. This is indeed a trail. We go through grasses for twenty minutes and get to the end of this messy section where I have gotten a lot of scratches on my legs while going through.

We got onto the ridge

We have a little more of grassy section on the ridge and the path goes into clean woods of thin trees where we can see through. We come to the summit at 11:12. In terms of the distance and height, the walk up to here is an easy one, but the bad trails added difficulties. There is a vantage point just behind the summit where the triangulation marker is placed. People go out onto the big stone and take pictures in turn. We continue on the trail and go down. We pass another grassy section and at 11:50 come to a kind of  unclear junction of another abandoned paved road. The big rock on the side has fallen off and blocks the road. We have a break here for 15 minutes or so.

A view from the summit
Another grassy section
At the junction of an abandoned road
Stone of Wantan fault line
The trail leads to our left and goes onto a ridge. We pass by two stones on which the words of Wantan Fault Line is inscribed. The trail leaves the ridge and goes down the hill for a while, then onto another ridge. Fortunately this section is under scarce woods and it is easy to walk through, though fallen down tree trunks and branches are obstructive and countless web nets are pain in the neck.

Going through troublesome fallen trees and branches
Viewing from the top of cliff
At 13:00 we come to the top of the cliff ridge at last. To my surprise the grasses were cut out very cleanly. The cleared area looks going all the way down to the coastal highway at the bottom. I later found out that the volunteer hikes like Mr. Paul Lee had indeed came in with his friends and worked on the section. I am happy to see this not only because it gives us a clean view of the ocean below but it saves our energy to go through grasses otherwise.

Climbing down the steep descent with a rope






The walk on the cliff edge needs attention, but unless you get to too close to it, you are OK. Some sections of the downhill is pretty steep and new ropes are affixed to aid our decent. The weather is cloudy. It is very clear and we can see Yeliu (野柳)  island over in the distance. It is better this way than sunny sky, under which the strong sun ray gets very warm. We finally get down on the bottom and onto the highway at 14:00. Decent on steep grade with ropes are new to some members and they take a great care for it.

Almost at the bottom of the downhill trail, Yelou is visible in the back
We were up on the cliff a while ago
The rest of our activity is pretty easy. We stop by the resting area of the walkway and continue on the coastal walkway. We come to the town by 15:00 and enter a seafood restaurant by the highway. We had three-star crabs as well as other delicacies over beer and some whisky. That was a good end of the day. We walk to the bus stop behind he restaurant and get on a bus to Taipei.

Walked all the way to Wanli


This hike was intended to be an easy and welcome activity to new members. It proved a rather rough one because of thick grasses on the passage, and steep descents but I trust that the people enjoyed the activity after all. The route itself is class four as it stands now. Good news is that the volunteers will keep working on the footpath from the cliff to the summit and the another path to the south, but not the section from the summit to the abandoned road that we took. If the work is completed the route becomes class two. Physically it is just three or four hour hike and should be class two. If you are interested in, I recommend you to pay attention for the clearing work of the volunteers and visit after the work is completed.

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