Friday, November 2, 2007

Jiaming Lake: 嘉明湖

Richard at Barking Deer, a southern based adventure company, thinks I have a bit of a curse when it comes to the high mountains. Despite living here in Taiwan for 12 years, I've never been able to reach the top of Yushan, the island's highest peak.

Don't think I haven't tried, but rain, fog, landslides, and life, just keep getting in the way.

A month ago, we tried to climb to Jiaming Lake, that gorgeous jewel you see above. It's the highest alpine lake in Taiwan, and supposedly began existence as a meteorite strike.

When we arrived at the trailhead, the rain came down in buckets. Let's at least make it to the first cabin, we decided, and four hours later arrived, soaked through to the skin.

I must say I was pretty disappointed how fast my Gortext shell jacket let in water. I really need to reseam it and probably give it an iron. My felt water-resistant felt-lined pants held up better. At least they kept me warm.

The cabin was full when we arrived, and we set our tents up on the patio in the back. We all changed clothes and had some warm tea and felt a lot better afterwards. I suppose we might have tried to stick it out for the night and hope for better weather in the morning, but we discovered that our tents were leaking.

That was it, better to call it a day. When you're up at almost 3000m you really shouldn't be stupid about the risks you take.

Anyway, this weekend we were set for a second attempt on Jiaming. But, cursed luck, the weather not only called for rain all weekend, but I came down with a chest cold. Now I'm stuck at home, not even able to head out for a hike in the hills around my apartment.

Good for the blog, I guess.


TrekkingOn said...

You appear to be the authority on hiking in Taiwan. My friend and I have hiked famous treks in Nepal, New Zealand, Italy, Chile, and the USA. Because I have another friend in Taiwan, we are considering hiking the mountains there. We would need a guide. Does the Lonely Planet guidebook have references to professional guide services? Do you have any recommendations?

Fatcat said...

Hello, I came across this entry when I was doing research on Jiaming lake. I was there last week & my situation started off like your's: rained the 1st day & we had to abandoned our plans to camp by the lake. But we got to the cabin early & managed to secure bunk beds before they filled up. Our luck improved the next day & we managed to see Jiaming Lake in all it's glory. Absolutely beautiful. You have to visit soon & do a writeup in the LP guide!

Unknown said...

I'm here for three months in Taiwan, with 4 other French people. We wanted to thank you for the wonderful guide book you wrote about Taiwan. All the information we found in it were very usefull, and helped us find out what's so magical about Taiwan.
And we also went to Jiaming lake, it was awesome!
Thanks again!!!

photobabe2x said...

hi, i came across your site while trying to show my UK friend about this lake which we plan to hike in September. As a Taiwanese myself, it's very gracious and appretiative to see how you introduce all the mountains here to those who are interested in doing the hikes here. thank you! for those who are interested, do come to Taiwan, you won't regret it. i'd love to share my experience with you.

Unknown said...

I saw this post after searching for Jiaming lake. I have always wanted to hike outside of the U.S.. Maybe I will have to procure a copy of one of your guides and head out. If you are ever in Idaho, USA, and need a guide into the beautiful sawtooth mountains let me know.

Unknown said...

I am looking for a guide urgently as my planned one cancelled on me. We're arriving in beginning June so we are desperate. Anyone knows any guides?