The Xiang Bi hike that keeps going upwards
Yesterday I went hiking at Tai An Township at Miaoli County. Tai An is the only mountain indegenious township in Miaoli where two thirds of the population are the Atayal indegenious group. The start of my hike was at Xiang Bi suspension bridge.
I will be hiking through the mountain ahead of me, the Qian Liang Mountain. The highest summit is around 1200m, low by Taiwan standards, but by no means an easy feat as you will see in a minute.
The Xiang Bi suspension bridge is 672m above sea level, 300m long and 100m above the Da An River. There wasn’t anyone else around when we arrived and we had the entire bridge to ourselves.
泰雅族是高山部落，古時候吊橋是他們對外的唯一通道。 族人遷到山下後，原本的吊橋已荒廢，現在只剩下兩個石墩。 我們今天走的吊橋是近年新建，用作遊覽景點。
The Atayal tribe are a mountainous tribe, and in the old days, the bridge was the only access for them to the outside world. The original bridge fell to derelict years ago after the Atayals moved away from the mountain, but parts of it still remains. This new bridge was built in recent years as a tourist attraction.
走過了吊橋， 是步道的起點。 沿途上有很多竹林。
The hike starts after I cross the Xiang Bi suspension bridge and up through a bamboo forest. Bamboo was in abundance here and could be found all along the trail.
After a little while, the trail was less friendly and the path disappeared. Fell trees lie ahead and I had to squeeze through, crawl under or climb over them. This was the ancient trail that the Atayals used to take and not many hikers come nowadays, hence it is not as well maintained as other more popular trails.
Here’s a 3.2km marker. My friend told me that we’re actually walking the opposite direction. That means we only have 3.2km to go. Or so I thought.
The next hurdle was scrambling uphill using ropes, I had experienced this before previously. These slopes doesn’t look as steep as they really are, and I didn’t have my gloves with me! Since it was still quite early in the hike, I had plenty of energy in me and quickly heaved myself up. Here’s my husband coming up after me. There were about three or four of these sections.
大概兩小時後我已到達1090米的山峰。 能夠以這個速度完成一段我認為頗艱苦的路程， 我為自己感到很自豪。期待開始下山輕鬆的旅程。噢！原來又想錯了！
I reached the first summit after two hours hike. The height here is around 1090m. I was feeling really pleased with myself to reach the summit so soon as it wasn’t an easy path coming up. I was looking forward to the downhill climb now. Little did I know how wrong I was!
在這裏休息一陣子， 蚊子朋友逐漸多。想必是很高興見到有罕有的新鮮食物送上門。 我們就決定快趕快起步離開。 之後這段路其實蠻好走，風景又美。只不過，為何我們仍是繼續往上走呢？
After a short rest and in the growing company of mosquitoes who were probably very pleased to see a fresh supply of food, we decided to move on quickly. This part of the path was very pleasant, both to walk and to view. What surprised me was that we were continuing to go upwards.
And soon we came to a small bamboo forest plateau. I think this must be another summit because after I came home and did a bit more research, other bloggers says there are three summits on Qian Liang Mountain.
進入又高又深的森林裏，大自然環境也變得多采多姿。 聽說血藤花一年只有幾天才會開花， 能夠碰上這大自然美景真不枉此行。
Being higher up the natural habitat was more varied and interesting. In particular I saw some rusty leaf mucuna flowers. Apparently they only flower for a very short period each year. Must have been my lucky day.
從這裏開始，步道變得更加複雜。 不單止未有下山的跡象，前路更迂迴曲折， 有點像人生一樣。 有時候前路很明顯，有時會有些阻礙。有時更加完全沒頭緒，應該怎樣走才對呢？
From here, the path became a bit eratic, just like life. Sometimes, there was a clear open path ahead, sometimes it was a bit obscure. And sometimes you just have to take a plunge, guess and hope you’ve chosen the right path.
後半段路雖然不用攀山拉繩子，但也不比前半段好走。 古道沒維修，人煙稀少只能靠之前登山隊留下零碎的標記走。 好不容易見到前面有拍油路，終於走出森林啦！
This latter section after the first summit was the most difficult. There were no more ropes climbs but I was still going uphill. I trekked through the ancient trail in the forest for nearly two more hours, and finally I saw a tarmac path ahead of me. It was like light at the end of the tunnel!
What to know what happens next during my trek? Stay tuned, but I will give you a teaser 😉