2017年10月16日 內湖剪刀石山-碧湖 Mt. Jiandaoshan - Lake Bihu A short escape from hustle and bustle of the city

碧湖 Lake Bihu under autumn sky


Start from MRT Xihu station on west and walk to Wende station
Easy hiking
The hiking route is located on north east of Taipei city
Long rain really depresses me, particularly after two consecutive cancellations of hiking on October 8 and 13. After my trekking trip to the Holy Ridge (聖稜線) of Mt. Silvia (雪山) late last month, I planed to go hiking on Mt. Huandidian (皇帝殿山) in Shiding (石碇) and Mt. Tangsuishan (唐穗山) in Taoyuan(桃園) but I had to cancel because of bad weather. It rained really hard after the Double-Ten long holiday and some devastating floods and land slides  in Eastern Taiwan were reported.

Looking up Mt. Jiandaoshishan on the way to trail head
When I woke up this morning, the outside of my bed room window was bright. I opened the window and found blue sky. I originally had no plan but this was a good chance to enjoy a beautiful autumn day on hills around the metropolitan Taipei. I picked up Mt. Jiandaoshishan (剪刀石山 ) as my destination and decided to go down to Lake Bihu which I had seen from Mt. Jiandaoshishan but never visited. It nestled at a corner of residential buildings and made me curious to visit but there was no chance in the past.

Guidepost and a blue notice of the fire brigade on its post
It is already 10:15 and a little late for hiking if it is a normal one. But this is an easy hike and I am alone, so it does not matter. I will go as I please. I pack water and some snacks in my bag and take MRT Red line and Brown line to Xihu (西湖) station. I start walking from the station at 10:50 and head for the trail head through a residential area. The road goes up in height a little as I get close to the trail head. When I come closer, a fire engine and its crews around it are in front of the trail head, which makes me wonder what is going on. It soon becomes clear as a notice is placed on a trail guidepost. It reads that a drill of the fire brigade will take place here.

First platform
View from the platform
Because today is a weekday, there are no other hikers. I take a left trail at the junction and go up on stone steps. The right trail goes to Zhuyue temple (竹月寺) and it further leads to Mt. Jiandaoshishan from the other side. In just a few minutes I come to a platform at the right side of the trail. I go on to the platform.and take a look. Building are jam-packed along the edge of the hill under my feet and the tall 101 building is standing alone in a distance. The sky is blue and nice breeze is tickling my face. I feel hot summer is leaving and autumn is just around the corner.

Quarry site and its explanatory board on left
I keep going up the stone steps and in a few minutes come to a guidepost which shows an ancient site of quarry. This mountain is made up of sand stone. Old Taipei used stones cut out from this quarry. The stones were building blocks of the wall which once surrounded the ancient Taipei and was demolished in the early days of the Japanese rule. The workers brought down stones to Keelung River at the foot of the mountain and carried them on a boat along the river to the center of Taipei.

A clear view through bare trees
Zhongyangting pavilion
A view from Zhongyangting pavilion platform
The trail is steep and I gain height quickly. Bushes on the right side of the trail have no leaves and I can have a good view through bare trees. I wonder what makes the trees like this. At 11:16 I pass a pavilion on my left. A trail diverges here to left which leads to Mt. Naihu (內湖山). At 11:21 I pass another pavilion on my right, which is named Zhongyangting (重陽亭). From its platform you can have a good command of view over the entire city. Songshang air field (松山機場) is also in sight.

Rock section
Look back for the way I have come. Mt. Guanyinshan is visible on far right conrer beyond Mt. Wenbishan
Rocky section of the trail starts from the pavilion, which is a highlight of this route. Massive rocks stand along the trail and you have to go on them. It is not hard at all to pass by, but they give a fun of rock rambling. Some stones have cut-out steps and you can step on them as you go up. At 11:29 a trail from Zhuyue temple merges from the right side. I arrive at a two-story pavilion Lunjianting (論劍亭) at 11:32. Three aged hikers are just resting nearby. The climb is almost over and the summit is not far. I have a rest for a while. Ice water that I have brought tastes pretty good.

Lunjianting pavilion
A stainless steel tank is set besides the pavilion, which collects rain water fallen on the pavilion. If you bring a stove, you can boil water from the tank for drinking. A view from the second level of the pavilion is blocked by tall trees, yet you still can have a look of far distance. A mountain range from Mt. Wufenshan (五分山) from far left to Mt. Ergeshan (二格山) on right are laying beyond the edge of the city.

A northward view from the summit of Mt. Jiandaoshishan
A southward view, Mt. Datunshan(大屯山) is visible over the left shoulder of Mt. Dalunweishan
After good 15 minutes rest, I start for the summit. I go by a junction just above the pavilion and take right for the summit. In a matter of two, three minutes I come to the summit (256m in elevation) where a stamp post is elected. There are big whitish rocks stand here and there in front of me. A group of hikers are taking pictures standing on the rocks. From here, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the city and surrounding mountains beyond, though the height of the summit is not that much. It is really worth coming up here. It takes only an hour or so from the MRT station.

ramble down on rocks, Lake Bihu is visible on upper right corner
If you go back to the junction, you can further go along the ridge to peaks like Mt. Dalunweishan (大崙尾山), Mt. Zhongyongshan (忠勇山), Mt. Jiantanshan (劍潭山) or go down to the National Palace Museum (故宮博物院). At 11:55 I take the opposite path onto Mt. Jinmianshan (金面山) and start descending. I carefully go down as I walk on rocks with no steps. In a couple of minutes I come down onto a dirt trail and keep descending. A big steel tower painted red and white which has no high voltage wires attached yet stands out in the direction of my way. When I first hiked on this section six years ago, there was no tower. Beyond the tower lays the peak of Mt. Jinmianshan and on its right Lake Behu. At 12:08 a guidepost shows up and says the trail on right leads to Zhuyue temple.

A junction to Zhuyue temple on right
Follow the trail on the ridge
Under Taianting pavilion on Mt. Jinmenshan summit
I keep on the path on the ridge, which follows up and down of peaks. Passing on a big rock section again and seeing a trail going down on right, I go up to the peak of Mt. Jinmianshan. At 12:21 I arrive at a pavilion on the summit called Taianting (泰安亭). I take a rest and have some snacks. This pavilion seems to be a gathering place of local people. There are a lot of small things like stoves and things in a hut elected next to the pavilion. Lake Bihu is now very close beneath woods. There is a trail directly goes down from the pavilion to the foot. I still keep a trail on the ridge instead.

Lake Bihu from the trail down from Mt. Jinmianshan
Four-way junction, take right path to go down
Walk on the wide dirt road down to a residential area
The path leads down to a four-way junction in ten minutes or so. There are two paths going down on both sides. I take the one on right. The dirt path comes up with mushy spots one after another because of many rainy days.  It get pretty slippery. I avoid them but my hiking shoes get dirty as I go by them. Through woods I come down on a wide dirt road at 12:54. I take left and walk on the road. It comes down to a residence area and I come out to Huangshan Road (環山路) Sec. 3. I head for the lake. At 13:02 I come to an north west gate of the lake. I go into the lake park and take a path right along the lake. There are benches and I sit on one of them for rest. The sky is high and the green water is tranquil. Red Bishanyan temple (碧山巖) is visible up on the hill beyond the water. After a long rest I leave for MRT Wende station (文德站) and go home.

Lake Bihu, view from near the north east enterance

Lake Bihu from anther point, Bishanyan is visible on the hill next to Mt. Zhongyongshan in the center beyond the water
The short hiking lasted only two and a half hours while I went through rocky sections, had a good view and passed by a nice quiet lake. If you want to escape from stress of the city, this is a nice way to do it. It takes only a few hours and lets you forget stress in the city.I walked some four kilometers and the total ascent was a little more than three hundred meters. It is pretty rewarding to hike here on a sunny autumn day.

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