Neil and I revisited the Nenggao Historic Trail this weekend taking a group of 7 people with us. This was a first go at guiding people on an over-nighter and we were lucky enough to have great company, weather and some fabulous views near the top of the Cilai South Peak. It was a great weekend out away from the cities and into nature.
Some information about the Nenggao Trail and its origins;
The Nenggao Cross-ridge Historic Trail runs east-west over the main ridge of the Central Mountain Range, between the Cilai and Nenggao mountain systems. It was originally used by the Seediq branch of the Atayal tribe for migration and trading purposed. When the Japanese mounted the Taroko campaign in 1914, their troops used this trail to attack the rebellious Taroko people from the east and west. In 1917-1918 the Japanese expanded the original pathway into a garrison trail to better control the local tribes.
In 1925 the Hualien Harbor and Nantou government offices rebuilt the trail along its entire length…. Several garrisons were set up along the trail, along with 5 hostels….. most famous was the cypress built Nenggao Garrison, which was known as “Nenggao Cypress Palace”. When the Taiwan Power Company built the east-west power line in 1950-1953, the tranmission line generally followed the Nenggao Cross-ridge Historic Trail
The trail is now open to hikers and cyclists giving people easy access to the central spine of Taiwan. The old Japanese Cypress Palace was burned down during the Wushe Incident of 1930 when the local tribes people rebelled against Japanese rule.
The last time we did this hike there was a horrible looking corrugated iron shack there. That has now been pulled down and a new cabin, by far the largest I’ve seen in Taiwan, is being constructed. I would guess it’ll have enough space for 200 people. However at the moment the cabin area is a disaster zone and it so we decided to camp up on the ridge by the Tianchi Pond.
It proved to be a good decision. We saw a rainbow, seas of clouds pouring over the mountains, a lightning show way off to the west which thankful never came near us and millions of stars. It was a truly spectacular evening to be camping in the mountains. Deer even visited us during the night, though no-one was alive enough to get up and see them!
The next morning we were up early and tried to get to the top of Cilai South Peak for sunrise, but the clouds rolled in and we missed it. Still, the views of the Central Mountain Range just before were superb.
A big thanks to everyone who came on the hike. Our jobs were made so much easier by everyone helping each other and I hope we can all get out together again in the near future.
For practicalities see my original Nenggao post