Hiking at Mount Baimao in Taiwan 谷關七雄之白毛山
This weekend I went hiking at Mount Baimao in Taiwan, one of the Seven Hereos of Guguan. These are the seven mountains in the Guguan region ranging from 1300 to 2500m above sea level. Mount Baimao is 1522m high, making it the sixth tallest (or second lowest) of the Seven Heroes. Although it’s one of the lowest mountains, it offers fantastic views on the way up to the summit.
這個週末去了谷關的白毛山爬山。 白毛山是谷關七雄之中的老六，有1522米高。 它是較矮的一座山峰，但沿途上去可以眺望谷關附近的遠景。
GETTING TO MOUNT BAIMAO TRAIL HEAD
Guguan is over an hour away from Taichung city and is most famous for its hot springs. I arrived here at 8.30 in the morning, and parked next to this iron bridge. From here, there is a 2.1 km walk to the trailhead.
谷關離開台中市約一小時車程。我們早上八時半到達，把車子停在這道摃橋旁邊。從這裏到登山徑口要步行2.1公里。 一開始我充滿活力地向前走， 不到半小時已開始喘氣。結果2.1公里的路走了1個小時。
This section of the walk is all concrete path and you can actually drive part way or ride your scooter all the way to the trailhead. That will save yourself a bit of walk but it would be no fun and make it a really short walk especially for those who are looking for a challenge.
It was actually quite hard work walking along this path as parts of it was quite steep. Little did I know that this was nothing compared to what was to come. Furthermore, I made the classic rookey mistake of marching along as soon as I started. Within half an hour I was panting already. It took me another half an hour to get to the trailhead.
HIKING AT MOUNT BAIMAO – THE DIFFICULT PART
Hiking at Mount Baimao is no easy task. From the trailhead to the summit is only 2.2km, but the ascend is 720m. It can be split into two parts. From the trail head (2.7 km mark in the map below), the ascend is roughly 340m over 700m distance. That’s a 45 degree gradient!!! It was the most strenuous part of the whole hike for me, and I was totally not prepared for it! The second part is a bit milder, 380km ascend across 1.5km. When I get to this stage I’m over 1000m above sea level already, very scary yet rewarding at the same time.
從登山徑口到白毛山峰有 2.2公里 ， 一共攀升720米 。 這段路大概可以分開兩部分。 前面的700米步道會攀升340米，後半截1.5公里再攀升380米。 開始時的步道還好，有石梯級。慢慢石梯級不見了，取而代之有兩旁的繩索子。 這個時候我要靠拉繩子才能慢慢向上爬，不時還要抓著樹根和地上的石頭幫忙。 真的沒有預料到會這樣的吃力!
I made a video of my hike which shows clips of me going up all the way to the summit and back down again. This is at the end of this post. But, let me talk a bit about the hike first.
We’re walking through the forest and it is typical to find bamboo in the forest in Taiwan. These here seem to be a lot thicker than the ones I normally see on the other hikes. It was very quiet in the forest, and often I could hear the long strong bamboos creak as they move in the wind. Contrary to when you hear doors creaking in horror movies, I found this quite soothing.
There wasn’t much other interesting plantation around, but I’m not much of a horticulture expert so wouldn’t know even if I saw something valuable. One thing that did catch my eye was a 90 degrees tree trunk.
The path starts off pretty mild and there are stairs for a good part of the way. Sadly these easy times don’t last long, and pretty soon the hard work started. Ropes started to appear on both sides of the trail and I used them to hurl myself up. At times I was scrambling, grabbing on to tree trunks and rocks for that extra leverage.
The ordeal finally ended – momentarily, though I didn’t know that at that time. After that gruesome climb I was rewarded with my first magnificent viewpoint. Mount Dongmao is the 5th of the Seven Heroes of Guguan and the most easily recognisable with its pointed summit like a pyramid. Although it towers at 1690m, Mount Dongmao is relatively easy to hike as it has zig zag routes all the way up. Maybe I shall try that another day.
HIKING AT MOUNT BAIMAO – THE EASY PART
After the steep climb upwards, I turned right and continued the ascend. This part was a a bit more relaxing with only small sections to climb. Perhaps it was because I had got used to the gruesome climbing, or perhaps I kept on thinking it’s the end, it’s the end, and that made things a lot easier. All the hikers coming back down from the hike told me they same thing. I believed their kind words of encouragement “You’re nearly there!” only to find the next person telling me the same thing 20 minutes later.
後半截步道比較好走，大部分都是平路只有一小段還要拉繩子往上爬。 好不容易終於見到白毛山峰近在咫尺。 前面還有一段小山嶺要走過。 這裏的風景是整條步道最開陽，最美麗也是最驚險。 辛苦了大概三個半小時， 終於到達1522米高的白毛山主峰。 真的要對平時沒做運動的我，說一聲:讚!
Finally, was the moment when I knew I was going to reach the summit for real. The Mount Baimao summit was starring ahead at me. On the other three sides the clouds were about the same level as me. Mount Dongmao, whom I had seen earlier on didn’t look so mighty now. There was a range of mountains in the background.
HIKING AT MOUNT BAIMAO – THE SCARY PART
I was out in the open, 1500 meters above sea level, standing on a narrow knife ridge. I looked down on both sides of the ridge, there was nothing there. It was a straight drop a few hundred meters down. Now all I had to do was to conquer the ridge. That was the scariest yet most challenging and rewarding part. Step by step, I inched slowly forward, holding onto the ropes on both sides for my dear life.
After nearly three and a half hours, I made it to the summit, 1522 meters above sea level. The height in itself wasn’t that significant as I’ve been higher before at Machu Picchu. It was how I got here, that was a personal challenge for me. Sometimes in life, it’s the journey that matters most and not the destination. This was one of those times.
HEADING BACK DOWN
After a short break at the summit, it was time to head back down again. This was a different kind of challenge. Knowing what lies ahead might make it a bit easier, but you still have to face the difficulties. And this time there is no turning back. Just like in life.
小休片刻後，又是要下山的時候。 下山比上山辛苦， 結果爬完白毛山後，雙腿酸軟了兩天! 文章尾部有我當天爬白毛山的視頻，希望大家喜歡。