Getting to the top of Jade Mountain....just like that! (Part I)
By Josie Wu
Translated by Ann Lee
The only positive way I could convince myself to find the time and right excuse to get outdoors and involved in an actual workout was to announce to my friends and relatives, "I am going to climb to the top of Jade Mountain!" One month then passed and friends started asking me, "Aren't you going hiking?" "Yeah, but, I've been busy!" I'd reply. I knew I was making excuses. Not wanting to become a laughingstock among friends, I started researching online and making calls, while my friend Dalaipi was responsible for finding more climbing buddies.
We initially thought a certain number of people were required to register for this healthy activity, but that turned out to be unnecessary. I was in charge of registration and, since we were both really busy, Dalaipi suggested that we go ahead with the rest of the details. First, we needed to apply for an mountain entry permit for Yushan (Jade Mountain) National Park. When we were trying to arrange for accommodations at Paiyun Mountain Lodge, we unfortunately encountered some problems; reserving several rooms for our group meant using a random, waiting-list method.
Despite my hard efforts to apply for entry permits, difficulties obtaining them meant that another month went by, taking us into the winter season. Because I refuse to hike in frigid weather, I became nervous and desperate, asking people around me what to do. Finally, police officers suggested a quicker, easier solution--making this hiking trip a one-day event! This meant hiking to the top and returning on the same day. Seeing no other option, we finally got our approval for our hike, which took place on November 22, 2008.
Two friends that decided to join our Jade Mountain adventure were "Always Late Bohdan" and "Leify the thief". Always Late Bohdan stressed the fact that he was a licensed mountain climber with experience in the Canadian mountains, although this turned out to be about two decades ago. In the meantime, Leify the thief was originally the designated driver but, just few days prior to our departure, lost his car to a local gangster in Taoyuan. So, we waited until 2 or 3 in the afternoon on the 21st and still didn't have a car. That left the question, "How were we going to be at the entrance of the hiking trail at the right time, and how would we solve this transportation issue?" Thankfully, I had sweet family help and, in the end, were able to find another designated driver to accompany us on the trip. Picking up Leify the thief around 10 p.m., we left Taipei for Jade Mountain!
Halfway through our drive, we stopped at the Cingshuei highway rest stop and stayed there until 1 a.m. before deciding to hit the road again. We arrived at the Dadajia Parking Lot (at an altitude of 2,600 meters) around 4 a.m. Our group stepped out of the car and walked about 2.8 kilometers to the Dadajia hiking trail entrance, getting there around 4:50 a.m. Finally, it was time we truly start our journey! The forest was still pitch-black this early in the morning, meaning we could put our little head-mounted lights to good use. (To be continued next month.)