Distance: 1.4km

Time: about an hour

Difficulty (regular Taiwan hiker): 1.5/10 – steep, but it’s too short to be tiring.

Difficulty (new Taiwan hiker): 5/10 – it’s really short but it’s literally all up and down. There are wooden slats forming steps but a lot are semi decayed and there are plenty of treacherous tree roots to trip you up so it’s a little unstable underfoot.

Water: 0.5L

Shade: mostly shaded, and so high that you’re likely to be in the cloud.

Mobile network: on and off

Enjoyment: I enjoyed the slightly unexplored feel and the ridge climb, but it was a little on the short side for me.

This trail map is actually nowhere near the trail, we found it by accident after driving down. You don’t really need a map for this one though unless you’re planning on going further.

This hike was a somewhat accidental affair after we got side-tracked on the way to a different hike in the area and realised that it would be too late to do the one we’d originally planned to. We stopped in the lay-by here to say hi to a really beautiful street dog and noticed that there was a pretty short hike that was more suitable for a mid-afternoon start. The sign said it was about 0.8km but it’s actually more like 700m – what the sign didn’t say is that it’s 700m up all the way.

This is the street dog we parked to say hi to. She was a very pretty young thing who seemed happy to join us for a walk.

The trail is not well-trodden but it’s clear to see the whole way up, in a few patches we had to push aside ferns and spider webs to make our way up. The mist made it beautifully atmospheric and I spent most of the walk admiring the beautiful softness and subtlety of nature’s colours – lush, water-polished greens, the smudged, misty outlines of distant tree shapes, more browns than I could name, my favourite of which was the rich, rusty colour of the dog’s fur which looked just perfect amongst all the green and mist.

We found this large red mushroom lurking under some leaves to the side of the trail, making the most of all the decaying leaf matter.

In the background you can see the only part of the trail which had fully wooden steps, they were a little slippery underfoot but at least the handrails seemed secure. At every other point the handrails were alarmingly wobbly, I am certain that if you fell onto one of them it would give way and let you fall down the (very, very) steep side of the ridge.

he sign at the top gives some information, the first one is just the name of the mountain, (Lubi mountain). The one with yellow arrows tell you what you can see to either side, to the left is Da Ba Jian mountain/Mount Sylvania and to the right is a view of the Hsinchu coast – we couldn’t see anything though. Under that there’s another sign warning you that you’ve reached the end of the trail and need to return the way you came. The bottom one says that you’re currently standing at 1589m above sea level.

After we’d been resting for a couple of minutes the moisture in the fog began to form beads on our hair.

The stray dog accompanied us all the way to the top, bounding up a short way ahead of us. We shared our rice balls with her as thanks for her guide dog services.

Once we’d all eaten and we started so head down again she went off in front and we found her waiting for us at the bottom.

Here she is having returned to the starting point – almost as if she’s waiting for her next customer. Taiwan’s street dogs and farm dogs have a shockingly casual attitude towards traffic, this dog was sitting right on a sharp bend and on our way down we encountered many more ambling wherever they wished, sharing the roads with cars.

How to get there: 

Car or scooter: google maps address – 魯壁山莊 – this is the name the nearby hostel, we parked on the side of the road just up from here. It’s a little tricky to get a good address you’re looking for a small lay-by on a hairpin bend on road 竹60.

GPS location: N24 39.979 E121 16.760

Public transport: I can’t find a way to do this on public transport.

My new words learnt on this hike were:

  1. 沒/有禮貌 / méi/yǒu lǐ mào / im/polite
  2. 凳子 / dèng zǐ / bench
  3. wān / bend
  4. 有營養 yǒu yíng yǎng / nutritious
  5. 身體 / shēn tǐ / body
  6. 輕鬆 qīng sōng / relaxed
  7. 放鬆 / fàng sōng / relax

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