Drive from Taipei 台北 to Nanao 南澳
Bruce, Wendy and Tammy join us for the first day of our trip. We thought we would avoid traffic on the first day of the new year, but the drive from Taipei 台北 to Nanao 南澳 takes us about four hours.
Nanao trail 南澳古道
The recently opened official section of the Nanao trail 南澳古道 continues beyond the end of 宜57 in Ilan county, after driving through the villages of 金洋村 and 仲岳岳. Nanao trail 南澳古道 is also known as 比亞毫古道 and 舊武塔古道. The trail connected numerous Atayal villages that previously flourished in the Nanao mountains, including 比亞毫 and 武塔 Butuseysya. The officially reopened part of the trail is only the first 3.8 k.
Nanzi Police Station 楠梓警官駐在所
Nanzi Police Station 楠梓警官駐在所 is near the head of the Nanao trail 南澳古道 right after crossing the Heliu stream confluence 合流溪. Continuing on the Futaishan garrison trail 富太山警備道, there are remains of 15 Atayal villages ranging in altitude from 700 to 1100 meters. During the Japanese occupation, the colonial government gradually established control in the Nanao area by repurposing the paths originally connecting the communities as garrison trails with police stations. Between 1913 and 1964, first under Japanese rule, then continuing under KMT rule, the government forced the populations of these 15 Atayal villages down the paths to resettle to the plains of Nanao where their traditional life was severely transformed. Today tribal youth and village elders living in the new Atayal villages of Jinyue 金岳, Jinyang 金洋 and Bihou 碧候 in the Nanao plains have started making trips up into the mountains to rediscover their roots. The work of restoring the paths and stations is ongoing.
Day 1 - Nanzi Police Station 楠梓警官駐在所 to Tabihan village 塔壁罕社
Our goal for day one was to hike from the beginning of the Nanao trail and over into the Heping River 和平溪 watershed down Buxiaowan stream 布蕭丸溪 to the confluence with Liuxing stream 流興溪, but our delay due to heavy New Years' traffic on the roads has pushed our schedule back. We walked 8.24 km gaining 966 m in altitude. We are pleased to find a nice camp site just at dusk at Tabihan village 塔壁罕社 ruins above Wuta village 武塔社 with running water and we anticipate getting to Liuxing stream by midday the next day.
Day 2 - Tabihan village 塔壁罕社 to Mount Futai 富太山
At 1:30 in the afternoon we come across a fresh landslide just a few hundred meters from Futai mountain 富太山 and the saddle point that will allow us down into the Heping River 和平溪 watershed and Buxiaowan stream 布蕭丸溪. The landslide is fresh and steep with no anchors for ropes. Philip crosses without pack and has trouble getting back. We double back and spend some time looking for a way past the landslide along the ridge but can't get through. We decide to turn around and look for other trails toward the south on our way down. We get down to an aborigine hunters' camp that we had crossed in the morning at dusk just in time to pitch camp. We have walked 7.11 km.
Day 3 - Futai mountain 富太山 to Wuta 武塔
Walking out, we carefully look and try several trails going southward, but none are promising. We get down to the official trail at dusk and start walking on the road back toward the train station in Wuta. There are few people out on the road and we walk nearly all the way out until we meet a friendly Atayal man who takes us to the train station. We walked 18.70 km dropping 795 m in altitude. Though our walk diverged from our original plan we are satisfied with an interesting walk, good campsites and perfect weather. We have not seen anyone for two days. We are determined to find a way back to the Mohen river and hot springs we tried to reach a year ago.
We hear many barking deer through the first day and through the first night, but much less afterward. We see both the male and female gray-chinned minivet 灰喉山椒鳥 (huī hóu shān jiāo niǎo) Pericrocotus solaris, crested serpent eagle 大冠鷲 (dà guān jiù) Spilornis cheela, Bronzed Drongo 小卷尾 (xiǎo juàn wěi) Dicrurus aeneus, large-billed Crow 巨嘴鴉 (jù zuǐ yā) Corvus macrorhynchos, white-eared Sibia 白耳畫眉 (bái ěr huà méi) Heterophasia auricularis, Swinhoe's Pheasant 藍腹鷴 (lán fù xián) Lophura swinhoii, scimitar babbler 大彎嘴 (dà wān zuǐ) Pomatorhinus erythrogenys, dusky fulvetta 褐頂雀鶥 (hè dǐng què méi) Schoeniparus brunnea, Taiwan Bamboo Partridge 竹雞(zhú jī) Bambusicola thoracicus sonorivox, Taiwan Laughing Thrush 金翼白眉 (jīn yì báiméi) Garrulax morrisonianus and Formosan blue magpie 臺灣藍鵲 (tái wān lán què) Urocissa caerulea. We hear one gun shot in the late morning of the third day. We get leaches mostly the first day and come back with some chigger bites that do not develop into scrub typhus.
Locations: Nanao, 南澳
Dates: 2019:02:05 - 2019:02:07