Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monkey Business in Wufeng
Just over a month ago, I checked out some of the walking trails in the Wufeng Ch'ingt'ung Lin Hiking Trail (Wùfēng qīngtóng lín bùdào) 霧峰青桐林步道 area, located in Wufeng (Wùfēng) 霧峰, naturally. At that time the Terminator in me said that I would be back, and it was right, for this afternoon I paid a return visit to the area. This time I started out on a trail that looked easy at first, being a paved walkway that gently wound its way uphill. From time to time there were breaks in the tree cover that provided some views of the nearby mountains:
At one point, a spur trail broke off to right. I followed this up through the forest expecting to find a panoramic view from the top, but all that greeted me was a small stone marker engraved with the characters 三等三角點, denoting some kind of triangulation point, and a cluster of ribbons strung up by various hiking clubs:
It was after returning to the main trail that things became interesting. First, the path itself started narrowing while becoming progressively rougher, until I found myself following what seemed like a dry stream bed. There were plenty of ribbons along the way denoting the path to enlightenment, but it was obvious it had been a few days since the last hiker had come along, for I was constantly having to break up spider webs that had been strung across the trail. At one point I surprised a group of pheasants, which quickly run uphill to find safety, but the best animal encounter was soon to come: a troop of Formosan Macaques 台灣獼猴, which was busy foraging for food in the trees. The monkeys were wary, but made no attempt to run away. I spent a long time listening to them, for they were well-hidden in and among the branches, with only the occasional glimpse coming when they moved from one spot to another. Which makes for a pretty good excuse for my not getting any decent photos, and only these poor-quality videos:
After communing with the macaques, I continued along the trail, which reached a point that required the use of ropes to haul myself up:
At the top of this section, the trail joined up with the main route, which had I walked on my previous visit. However, off to my left I noticed the outlines of another path which was in somewhat rougher condition, and which seemed to run parallel to the regular trail. I opted for the "hidden" route, which turned out to be a section of trail that had been damaged by heavy rain in one section, which probably explained why when I reached the end and joined up with the main route, I had to cross over yellow crime-scene tape meant to keep hikers out!
Covered in sweat and cobwebs, I returned to my parked scooter. Although I hadn't done much actual climbing on this day, I thoroughly enjoyed "roughing it" this afternoon, although I owe a number of spiders a lot of apologies for what I had done to their nests. The signboard by my scooter showed the routes I took this afternoon:
The red box indicating "You are here" (obvious even if you don't Chinese) was where I parked the bike. The red line is the route I started out on, with the short spur trail colored in yellow. The broken parts of the red line are where the route got rough (and where I saw the monkeys), while the first blue line (the one on the left) indicates the now-closed trail that I took to get back.
And, no, I didn't run into any giant rabbits while I was out there.