Mt. Ergeshan and Mt. Bijia Ridge
“Kaya, do you want to go for a hike tomorrow? The weather is supposed to be great.” Yes, she’d love to. The timing works. And she fires off suggestions. “How do you feel about an 8km hike if I carry everything? I want to train with a pack.” “Sure, whatever you think is best… I’m game.” Mt. Ergeshan and Mt. Bijia Cross Ridge it is.
She picks me up, or rather we meet around the corner at ‘Zen Cafe’ (another vegan spot in the neighbourhood), and off we go on her scooter. It’s about a 45 minute ride south. I’m just along for the ride and the surprises ahead. Didn’t read the trail descriptions she sent… so who got me into this? Yep, I did.
That’s the great thing about not knowing, isn’t it?! Get’s us into situations we might have avoided otherwise and that grow us, expand horizons and capacities. There are some exciting moments (see above, even my phone decided to capture the moment), some challenging ones when the legs get tired, that’s for sure, but all in all it is very doable and loads of fun. Luckily I’m not afraid of heights. Just not sure of what I can demand from this body at times. Come along… into the lush mountains…
We’re on a ridge hike with optional peaks to scramble up, which of course need to be included. It’s actually really fabulous. If you want to, you can pack camping gear and take off indefinitely as you follow the myriads of paths and stairs (built or carved from the rocks) up and down hills and mountains, traversing the island north to south and east to west – and every other direction. Not sure how long it would take you… Anyways, we just go up Mt. Ergeshan and then down to Mt. Bijia Cross Ridge trail which takes us along a ridge of ever surprising ledges… and up the south and north peak. They’re not particularly high, but the constant up and down sure makes it seem like it. Plus the vertical drops on either side! 🙂
Locals of all ages enjoying the trails. The older people we meet in the mountains are so fit – it’s inspiring! Though we don’t meet too many on the climbing bits…
Eventually, we follow a trail we think will lead us back to the road, alas instead keeps going further and further, along even more challenging ledges where a rope is your lifeline… After a bit, I hear “Oops, I’m so sorry, but we’re heading the wrong way… this will just keep on going to the next ridge and beyond…” We turn around, get to do all the fun ledges over again in reverse – a different experience, right?! Luckily, we don’t have to climb Mt. Ergeshan a second time, but can follow a shortcut down to the road.
What a relief to just walk on a flat surface. The narrow paths lead up and down, across roots and rocks, boulders and walls, sometimes steep drops on both sides, sometimes slippery, with fantastic views to enjoy here and there when we can lift our eyes from the path. It is great fun and exercise and I am glad when it’s over. I wouldn’t want to miss a minute of it and certainly experienced my boundaries around what I can and cannot do with ease. My girl cheered me on which reminded me of instances twenty years ago when roles were reversed. “Yes, you can do it. We’re almost there. Not much longer. Do you need a little whining moment? Look, we’re almost there… really… You did it! Look at you go, mum! Well done!”
Two weeks quarantine sitting on my butt a lot doesn’t do much for cardio or strength. I’ve been walking and biking lots, and am getting there folks! Got my own fitness coach cheering me on now. She is absolutely adorable. And LOL, mum, what did you expect with a rock-climbing daughter??? A walk through the fields and woods at a leisurely pace? (Yeah, kinda…) Let’s not forget, she is training for her Mt. Yushan hike at the end of November. Now that’s a hike up a real mountain! Mt. Yushan or Jade Mountain is topping all of Taiwan’s mountains at 3949 metre. And no, I won’t be joining this hike, at least not this time around. This adventure, plus Alishan are planned for the the last week of November.
Would a sign like the above stop you? Killer bees… we certainly saw some very big bumble bees (the size of humming birds!) and some giant hornet-like looking things which might have been the said killer bees. Nothing landed on us (though on one of the friendly hikers who fed us with refreshing fruit). We gently shooed it away. No vipers; some bugs like the beautiful beetle above (about a couple of inches long); other insects buzzing and chirring. Butterflies and birds.
We return to Taipei enjoying the golden light hour; stop at a vegetarian buffet for a healthy feast; rest my tired feet, looking forward to a long, hot shower. Life is good and getting better all the time!
Side note: Besides sharing the beauty and fun with all of you, I’m writing this blog as a travel diary for myself – please excuse my overuse of photos, though I hope you enjoy them. 🙂
Glad to have you all along!