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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 霧峰青桐林步道 area, located in Wufeng 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.


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