Jiang Chang, WuLai Hiking

I met this little fellow on my last hike. I saw more life than I ever have before. Usually I’m lucky to see a butterfly or two besides the mosquitoes that follow me. This time I saw two turtles, three tiny frogs and one big petrified frog. It was just sitting on a rock like nothing with it’s head up, but stone dry. I was hiking in Jiang Chang again. Click here for the Google Earth .kmz file showing where I got to that day.
The trail begins behind the village and goes along the spine of the mountain making a smooth, though steep, climb. The trail goes on to a 1119 meter peak, but I stopped after the first 500+ m peak, about a third of the way there. That was the only good place to get off the trail without turning completely around. I took a side trail that wound around the mountain fairly level. The trail was very narrow and sometimes fell away almost entirely making it hard to travel. In other places it followed a wide path and I could make good time.
The end, however, was treacherous. There was a steep, slippery decent. The soil in this region of Taiwan is all clay, and being sub-tropical the forests are always wet, even when it hasn’t been raining. The first time I came through here I had a nasty tumble. I put my foot in the wrong place and went head over heals downhill. One cool thing is that in some straight stretches I could squat down on one leg and hold the other foot out to steer and then slide down like a toboggan. Once I reached the end the trail let out onto a broad, flat trail. This was a popular walking trail, so the hard part was over. I was congratulating myself on making it all the way without any problems, when I turned to the river to go wash to filth off I put my foot right off the trail and fell straight down. If it hadn’t been for a nearby water pipe I might not have caught myself. I couldn’t believe that after coming all that way I’d almost got hurt in the safest place.
It planned to go hiking again this weekend since yesterday was so nice, but it started raining at about 9pm and has ever since.

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