It was a very cold night at the nameless shelter where we stayed (see Hiking matters #250); I was especially vulnerable because of a fever that has severely weakened me. Still, I felt that I had enough energy to withstand the last two days of the Holy Ridge hike.
So on Day 5, we proceeded to head up Dabajianshan – the literary end to the Holy Ridge as defined by the Japanese hiker-author who named it as such. Unfortunately, the roped assault up the summit is closed by park authorities. Its companion Xiaobajian, has a very characteristic, and it is actually climbable as a sidetrip — only that I was still sick and decided to forego such ‘add-ons’.
The rest of the day consisted of passing by more slopes and ridges. The target was to reach Jiujiu Hut (’99 Hut’). I actually have little recollection of this part of the hike, except that it was very long and rocky – the tailend of the Holy Ridge.
Finally, we began descending, into some woodlands, until, by 1600H, we finally reached Jiujiu Hut. This establishment, also known as 99 Hut, was truly a good facility, with hot showers, clean toilets, and a well-insulated cabin where we spent the night. The hikers who do the standard Dabajianshan hike use this as base. The food, too, that our guides prepared, was good.
The next day would have been a brisk descent (albeit punishing to the knees) but because of my fever, I had to take it easy. Fortunately, a vehicle went up the trailhead, so we did not have to walk the 15+ kilometer rough road to the highway!
We were treated to a sumptuous lunch at Shei-pa National Park, and then headed to Taipei. Thank you to my hiking companions for assisting me in spite of my illness! This is one of my most memorable and challenging hikes, where I learned a lot of things that are sure to improve my hiking. I will definitely come back to Taiwan for more hikes!
THE HOLY RIDGE (雪山聖稜線) IN TAIWAN
Hiking matters #247: Behold this Holy Ridge!
Hiking matters #248: Day 1-2: From Wuling Farm to 369 Hut
Hiking matters #249: Day 3: Through Snow Mountain to Sumida Shelter
Hiking matters #250: Day 4: The precarious crossing of Mt. Sumida
Hiking matters #251: Day 5-6: Dabajianshan / End of the Holy Ridge