Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bijia Shan: A Ridge Walk from Maokong to Shiding


Back on the trails after a month riding around in the back of a Land Cruiser. The destination: Bijia Shan, part of a long ridge system that runs from Xindian in Taipei County pretty much to the east coast around Jiufen. The most famous section is called Huangdi Dian (after the butcherous first emperor of China), but among the cognoscenti (which includes a former Taiwanese premier) Bijia Shan is the best.


Bijia Shan means Penrack Mountain is Chinese which gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect: rolls and dips and undulations. It's a full body workout involving a lot of rope climbs and rock scambling. The ridge is narrow, as usual, but the trees and vegetation grow up from the slopes so you don't feel exposed in most places. This allows you to enjoy the great sweep of foothills in all directions (obviously better on a clear day).


Unfortunately, though Saturday began with promise it soon turned overcast. No inspiring views, just a good 6 hour workout and plenty of time to chat with some friends I haven't seen for a while.


We began the hike in Maokong and went west to east, opposite of our usual routine. I think Shiding to Maokong is best. I prefer finishing with just a short walk remaining down to Maokong (which I consider home), as opposed to a 30 minute bus ride back to town.

As I wrote, it was a day to catch up with friends. Here are some that caught up with me:


Nasty little creatures. I was in the lead and scored about 20. How many can you count on the one gator? Where's Leech-o anyone?

Practicalities:

To get to the trailhead in Shiding, take the 666 bus (the bus of the beast) from Muzha Rd, just down from the Muzha MRT exit. Get off in Shiding (a 30 minute ride) and cross the road. At the bridge you'll see English signs for the Bijia Shan trail. Follow them. Along the ridge signs tell you how much further you have to go. We usually take about 6 hours.

On the other side, just after climbing down a metal staircase, you'll reach a junction of trails. Be careful not to head up Ergeshan. Just keep heading down in the direction you were going in. In 20 minutes or so you will reach a road. Keep heading down until you reach another larger road. You can catch a bus here back to Muzha, or if you keep walking you will reach some teahouses.

For my dear Dutch readers, I hear British Airways has sales to Taipei via Manila. Once in Taiwan take a high-speed rail to Taipei Main Station, then catch the MRT to Muzha.

More pics here.

11 comments:

cfimages said...

I really love that first photo.

Chris in Asia said...

Nice pictures and description.

DSD said...

Great trekking!
Except maybe, for those leaches...
DSD

ichbinjenny said...

ditto what cjimages said...plus a few "wow"s.

Dezhong said...

That first picture looks really terrific!

Scott said...

Great article in the newspaper today, Robert. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2008/11/04/2003427776

It's good to see you getting some well-deserved recognition in the local paper.

Alman said...

in my country, we call those sanguiverous creatures limatik. great hikes and very useful information. i am alman, an avid outdoorsman. i have done many hikes and climbs in my own native philippines, and although i know it's not appropriate, we usually refer to ourselves as mountaineers. i will be going to taiwan from 12-16 june 2009. if you have any special hikes during any of those days, i would love to tag along. if not. i would appreciate a suggestion. so far, based on what i've read, i'd like to do bijia shan (never mind the leeches) or huangdi dian. please do check out my blog and my hikes if you have time. thanks.

min said...

i came across these photos while i was serching Maokong where i would like to go next visit to taipei late oct. I wonder if there is any direct bus from Taipei station to Maokong.

Trevor said...

You got me interested...

However, if you can lend a guy a hand with some info on the trail access that would be awsome!

A few weeks ago we went to HuangDi Dian and had an extrodinarily difficult time simply getting to Shiding. The 666 bus (from MuZha stn) took us to the middle of nowhere (about 1/2 way) and then turned around. We got off, and waited through abour 5 more 666 buses to come, turn around and go back to Tapie. Apparently on some of the 666 buses go all the way to Shiding? Do you have any info on this? We got to the hike (ended up taking a taxi) and loved the area, so we want to go back to this hike. But...if there is a more direct way (we are coming from Hualien so perhaps starting in Ruifang is better...). Any info would be awsome

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DoubleA said...

Thanks for the great post. It's 730 in the morning here and Sunny for a change. I'm off to hike BiJia now.