Most of us know the video game Sims, where you as divine being control the lives of the virtual avatars called Sims. Having a perfect virtual life is boring, I heard, so people tend to let out their inner demons by fucking their avatars up. On our hike to the front peak of the tallest mountain in Taiwan, one – or more – deity was playing Sims with us, but we managed to turn it into an adventure.
Jade Mountain – the English name – is 3952 meters above sea level and the tallest of its kind in Taiwan. Due to the high demand of hikers, we did not get the permit to go to the main peak but instead wander to the front peak at an altitude of 3239.
To get there from Tainan we rented three scooters for six people and off we go on Friday at 5 am – or not. The Capitano of our fellowship of the ring was sleeping in due to study related reasons and we had to force him awake. After hitting the road for one hour, the road hit us back. A semi-silent *puff*, a power slide and we knew Sim-deity stroke again – we got a flat tire. At 6.30 in the morning, our hopes to climb were demolished, but luckily one scooter repair station had already opened so we could continue after patching the tire.
But wait, there is more. Shortly after cruising again, it started to rain – end it did not seem to end.
Rain on the scooter is not so bad when you have a good protection. But with the yellow leaking half-body condoms you can buy at every convenience store, it was like jumping into the pool to prevent getting wet from the rain. A further problem with the steady rain was that not only wet mountain roads are harder to drive, but with the climb of the mountain, it got colder – freezing cold. But that just made us feel more alive and the trip more adventurous.
At the trail entrance two of us managed to reserve us a place we can sleep, so we did not have to camp in a tent, as the original plan was. Then we finally started to hike! Oh Yeah! While the first 40 minutes of hiking was walking on a concrete road, the trail itself was awesomely dangerous. The narrow path provided space for just one person after another and placing a step wrongly will end up in a long “sh**************t”-cry while falling down a few hundred meters. How far we would fall was not visible, as well as anything else due to the magnificent view of 50 shades of grey fog and rain clouds.
At a certain point, the path divided and our motivation increased exponentially when we saw the sign “Yushan Front Peak 0.8 km”. What we did not hear was General Ackbar, telling us, that it was a trap! For every meter we made straight, we had to climb one meter in average up. The best part of the way was when there was no way at all. The remnant of millions of rockslides and an arrow to climb up here was the only hint we got. That was so amazing, yet exhausting because it took forever and every muscle of the body hurt and had been soaked by the rain.
After a total of 2.5 hours of fighting our way up, we eventually reached the top. And recharged our batteries with the tremendous view – it was still grey.
For the way down we had been in a certain rush because we had to be back at the trail entrance at 5 pm. Needing 2.5 hours up our time budget was limited to 1.5 hours to climb the same dangerous way down. We fought bravely but still had been late for almost one hour. We still retrieved our bags we left at the trail entrance and the divine beings played the next trick on us. They made the sun come out! After we finished the hike! Instead of being pissed, we danced in the sunlight and started to dry up – at least a bit – and watched the beautiful sunset.
In the accommodation, we took group showers, ate food and went to bed at 10pm. Everyone was exhausted and thirsty, due to the lack of electrolyte supply in form of beer. The 32-person room was as cold and humid as everything in this mountains, but we rested well. A 12-hour slumber later we packed, put on our wet clothes again and start to head back home.
The road was dry, it was not raining, now and then the sun showed up. It looked like a perfect day. After having lunch our Sim-deity got bored and killed the battery of one of our scooters. With no kick-start lever and no repair station open, we were doomed once more. Until some Taiwanese youngsters came to rescue us via providing ignition aid. After 1 million “thank you” we continue. We managed to avoid the uprising traffic jam and had time to see a temple and suspension bridge on the way.
Due to our scooter rental contract, we had to be back at 6pm and we were good in time. Not even a cat running in front of my scooter could stop us. Fortunately, I missed the cat by 10 centimetres, otherwise, I would write this blog now on the side of the Sim-deity. Still, we had to stop at a certain time, because on backpack opened up and valuable stuff was scattered behind us. After collecting, we moved on, almost breaking speed limitations and somehow we managed to be late, but in an exceptional amount of time.
After coming home, we chilled, cheered life and the adventure we had, the suffering we shared and the divine Sim-player, who failed in hinder us making this weekend to an unforgettable trip.