Climbing Flame Mountain

Every time we drive south on the highway we pass a series of cliffs and ridges formed of orange soil, that are commonly called Flame Mountain. Recently Yini found out there is a walking trail there so last weekend we went to check it out. Since my scooter has been feeling tired and slow lately I bought a new one on Friday and to test it out we went there by scooter. It was more or less just a long slog on boring roads but thanks to the new scooter it felt effortless.

The trail itself starts a few paces into the forest, right under a highway overpass, and you’re actually supposed to register with some kind of park ranger but there was no one there so we went in any way. The trail is quite steep and unlike most walking trails there are no wooden steps or railings, just a narrow, badly kept path. It was hard walking and a hot day so it didn’t take long before I was drenched in sweat. Whenever we stopped to rest did however get some early glimpse of the flame like orange cliffs, which was nice.

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First rest stop

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Yini on the lower part of the trail

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Second rest stop

Some parts of the trail were so steep and full of loose rocks that there were ropes strung up along the sides for you to drag yourself up with. This of course made it feel considerably more adventurous. After trudging upwards for a while we came to a clearing with a really good view.

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Flame cliffs

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The steep trail and a rope on the side

We clambered upwards a little bit more,until we came to an even better view point.

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Nice view

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Panorama

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Of course a bit of posing

This was the view we had initially come up here for and it was just as spectacular as I has hoped. We could have turned around here, but the trail was said to go in a big circle so we continued. As we kept waking, we left the flame like cliffs behind until it was just the normal forest clad mountains around us. We trudged upwards along several steep rises getting more and more tired until we at last came out of the forest onto a small plateau which must have been one of the highest points of the range.

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Yini on the top

There was a higher peak a little bit further on but by now we felt rather satisfied with mountaineering, and we were running out of water besides. So, we skipped the final peak and instead took the trail that went round and back to the parking lot. It was a slightly wider trail through a dark, damp forest, so strewn with rocks it was more like a dried river bed than a trail. We stumbled along, all the time surrounded by millions cicadas, their combined shrieking reaching near rock concert sound levels at times, it felt fairly miserable. Coming back to the parking lot some three hours after we set out felt really good.

Now, there are plenty of good mountain roads in Taiwan, so if you want you can take in some spectacular views in the complete comfort of your car. However, if you want to add a sense of adventure and achievement to that view, something like this is really recommended; yes it was tiring, yes it was uncomfortable at times, but it was still very much worth it.

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