Hike To MaBoLaSerShan

Not sure if the above spelling is correct, but it is the next mountain north of HsiuKuLanShan (3,860 meters) which is the fourth highest in Taiwan. MaBoLaserShan is the seventh highest at 3,765 meters. The approach is from Tungpu straight up the old migration route to Patungkuan meadow. I’d been up this way several times before, most recently in April to hike through Dashuiku Pass to Yuli. The path to Patungkuan is somewhat sensitive to erosion since it is hacked out of a steep sided valley. Without the constant maintenance efforts of the National Parks workers, this path would have crumbled into oblivion years ago. As it was,there were two spots near the end of the valley that needed to be detoured around. Ropes had been put in place by previous hikers,so it wasn’t a problem.This area is alpine, lots of pine and fir, and I could see a large mountain deer higher up through the trees bleating at me as the sun began to set. From the meadow to the Central Mountain ridge line, there are three huts. The path follows a stream up river. Initially, the river is well below, but the path meets it at the second hut. Up to this point the path had been level with not much rise in elevation. I was pleased to see the second hut, originally a shabby garden shed sized wreck has now been replaced with a bigger and sturdier building. Although I went from Tungpu to here in one day, probably two days would be better because just before Patungkuan meadow (say one hour before) there is a Forestry Station a ten minute walk down some steps on the left. Of the three buildings there, the middle one is unlocked and used by hikers.I used it on the way back. Nice place with a water source and views across the valley to the abovementioned peaks.
Day Two involved the steeper part of the journey. It took about three hours plodding along to the third hut just below the ridge line at 3,600 meters. At that point I had to fill my canteens with water, about 4 liters, because the rest of the day and most of the next would be without water. The interesting thing about the range here is that it is quite thick with shrubs and juniper compared to the grassy NengKao Shan area several days to the north. The path dips below the ridge line and contours around old landslides while slowly gaining altitude in bursts. The path was tagged, but one needs to be attentive as the track weaves its way through patches of bamboo grass and through clumps of taller juniper forest. On the way, I passed the two seperate turn offs to HsiuKuLan peak. The cliff side towering above the path here is quite rugged and jagged from the years of erosion, but after a steep dip the path came on to the ridge line proper and through the clouds I could see the range zig-zag further north into the distance. One important thing to be noted is that the hut marked on the map boards in the park is not actually at the junction where the route to the MaBoLaSerShan peak leaves the main path. There was only a small clearing sufficient for several tents. At 3,730 meters,this is the highest I’ve camped in Taiwan. The next day, it was just a five minute walk to bag the peak and enjoy a momentary view north through the clouds of what is probably the most remote mountain area on the island. So, where is the hut? It’s another 0.8 km further on the trail. Although cloudy inclement weather meant turning around and heading back the way I came (taking another two days), it also gave me a chance to see Swinhoe’s Pheasant and Civet on the lower part of the track when I made my dawn departure to Tungpu.