For a couple of reasons (which I shall go into later) I am staying in Taiwan until the 7th of February. Having done a loop of the island already I needed something to fill my time constructively, as I am not one to be able to sit on a beach for days on end. Luckily Taiwan has its mountains that I had mentioned previously, and this was the perfect opportunity to see them up close and personal. In Taiwan, however, going into the mountains is not simply a question of turning up at a trailhead and setting off at random. Perhaps it is a way of ensuring safety by knowing who is on the mountain should anything unfortunate happen, perhaps it is an environmentally-friendly way of limiting the human impact on a fragile ecosystem, or perhaps it is just the Taiwanese love of officialdom, but anyone heading to the higher mountains needs to get a permit. Sometimes two. The process is Byzantine, requires numerous forms to be filled out in triplicate, and, for the more popular trails (such as Yu Shan - Jade mountain), needs to be done several months in advance. Luckily through my host in Taipei I was able to find a group of people who were heading off on a 5-day hike and was able to join up with them.
|View of the snowy peaks of Yu Shan (Jade Mountain), Taiwan's highest mountain.|