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FYI SOUTH Magazine, April 2006.


--By Steven Crook Translated by Annie Liu

Chiayi County is full of spectacular mountains. Whether you want an easy ramble, or a challenging two-day hike, you'll find something you'll like within the county. In terms of difficulty, Dahu Jian Mountain does not rate very highly. But in terms of scenery, it's an excellent spot to get to. Even if the weather is overcast, as it was during my visit, you'll be treated to fine views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

The village of Dahu is spread out on both sides of Road 159-Jia, about 25 kilometers east of Chiayi City. Road 159-Jia is a twisting and sometimes narrow route which skirts Renyitan Reservoir before climbing into the hills. To reach the beginning of the trail, drive along 159-Jia through Dahu, then turn left as soon as you cross over the Singlung Bridge, just past kilometer marker 26. A Chinese-language sign points the way to Jian Mountain. It's another 1.8 kilometers to the trailhead. On the way, I passed a great many betel nut palms and some tea plantations. The mountain itself is covered in bamboo, but look closely and you'll notice wildflowers.

According to a hiking booklet I have, the trailhead is 1,000 meters above sea level, while the peak is at an altitude of 1,313 meters. However, when you get to the top, I found a sign stating the mountain's height to be 1,357 meters. The trail is a long stairway, with only one very short flat section. It took less than an hour to reach the top. There are two pavilions en route where hikers can rest and take in the scenery. At the peak there's space to picnic, and by wandering along the ridge in both directions, I got to see several different views.

If you'd like to climb up and down yet more steps, between Dahu Elementary School and kilometer marker 26 on Road 159-Jia there is a sign (on the right as you come from Chiayi City) to Fenghuang Waterfall.



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