This was one of the hardest hikes I’ve done. The sixiu (四秀) is made up of four peaks, Taoshan, Kelayeshan, Chiyoushan and Pintianshan. We planned to visit three of them over two days but the weather conspired against us and we only made it to two.
We drove up to Wuling (武陵) on Thursday afternoon and arrived in the dark. We then spent the night at the Wuling Villa (武陵山莊) which doesn’t much resemble a villa in any way but was a good, cheap place to get acclimatised and rested for the next day.
That was a pretty cold night, an ominous sign of what was to come. When we woke up our motorbikes were covered in frost as was everything else.
We set off for Taoshan (桃山) at around 9am. It was tough going, The trail is only 4.5km but you gain over 1400m in elevation. It goes up and up and up…… The views were spectacular. We could see oceans of clouds hanging above the Yilan plain as well as Xueshan and Dabajianshan.
By the time we made it to the top, the wind was picking up and it made the final ridge hard work. We then set up camp near the Taoshan cabin and cooked some food. There are spots next to the cabin to pitch tents but we headed back towards Taoshan (about 50m) to a small clearing in the trees so that we could escape the worst of the wind.
It was already immensely cold and so we had no choice but to get into our sleeping bags at 6pm. Ice was starting to form everywhere and we spent a long, long night at -5C. I’ve never wanted the sun to come back up so much!
In the morning everyone was agreed that the best thing to would be not to spend another night on the mountain. No one had slept and we couldn’t take another night like it.
So because we weren’t going to spend that long on the mountain, we had a bountiful breakfast of coffee, snickers, coffee, raisins, coffee and biscuits, and then we headed off to Chiyoushan (池有山). It was a great hike! Lots of scrambling up cliffs and crawling over ridges. There was lots of bamboo and Chinese hemlock to see on the way too.
After Chiyoushan we went back down the mountain on a different route and made it back to the start by lunchtime.
It was a shame not to make to Pintianshan but i would have been suicidal if we went through another night at the top….. maybe next time!
Wuling farm is relatively accessible. There are buses that run from Taipei and Taizhong. We drove our motorbikes and scooters from Taipei. The number 7 suffered a fair amount of damage during last years typhoon season, and whilst it is in the process of being fixed, care is still needed when driving on some sections. The trail itself starts at the end of the road next to the Wuling Villa. Follow the trail for Taoshan Waterfall and look for the signs on the right hand side that lead to Taoshan.
Upon entering you pay the entrance fee and then head to the police station (about halfway) to process permits. You need to apply for permits in advance as the cabins/camping spaces are sometimes fully booked. You can apply for permits online (Chinese only).
http://www.barking-deer.com/index.htm – Barking Deer
http://eli.npa.gov.tw:8080/E7WebO/index02.jsp – permits
http://www.wuling-farm.com.tw/english/traffic.htm – transport