郡大山 Jùn-Da Shan

Outside of Dongpu, north of Alishan, up a rocky 32 kilometer Jun Da Forest road, (the drive just up the forest road took us 2 hours alone) is a small trail marker sign indicating the entrance to Mt. Jyunda. We saw other adventurers on dirt bikes and ATV’s heading even further up the road. The narrow road is lined with beautiful cedar forests, and even a giant tree that looked like a part of Alishan.

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Mt. Jyunda is one of the eight beauties of the Taiwan 100 Peaks, chosen in this category for its easy climb relative to its beautiful view. Most people complete Mt. Jyunda as a day hike, taking only about 5 hours in total, three to ascend, two to descend. We wanted to see the sunrise so the plan was to camp on the peak and watch the sunrise before heading back down.

The hike starts off in the forest, that quickly turns to a thick bamboo path right after reaching the smaller peak of Mt. Wianshang, after a brief openings you are on the ridge line and then delve into another longer stint of thick bamboo forest.

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This high up you could see the foliage starting to turn for the cold season and the brisk air finally made it feel like fall. 906109_10205055699019631_3663748017150718445_oJpeg Jpeg Jpeg Jpeg

Aside from a few areas, there was very little climbing involved. A steady slope all the way to the top.S__21159960

Until, finally, the peak. Because of our beginner companions we took our time and made it to the peak in about 3 and a half hours. Our arrival was rather anticlimactic, the mist was too dense to see any of the surrounding landscape.

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So we found the best spot for our tent and set up for the night.

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After setting up, with a little bit of effort we actually got a fire started! It was my first successful camp fire in Taiwan (not including the beach) because the wood is always so damp it is nearly impossible to get anything to catch. But, this time, we did it!

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Just as we brought our fire to a healthy glow, the view started to clear.

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In the far distance you could see Yushan.

Relieved that we finally got a view, we spent the rest of the evening making dinner and enjoying our successful fire. We even heard a few deer, didn’t see any, but we could hear their strange sneezing sounds.

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It started to rain around 9 PM and continued for the rest of the night, and the next morning. Our plans to see the sunrise were dampened and we hiked through a wet misty bamboo forest in a tediously slow 2 hour descent.

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On the drive back down we spotted a Swinhoe Pheasant (Taiwan Blue Pheasant), we didn’t get a picture but here is what they look like,

I would asses Mt. JunDa as a nice day hike on a day with agreeable weather.  Perhaps we will go back and get a good view in the morning, but for now it feels good to finally get above that 3,000 meter mark again. Another Taiwan 100 to check of the list.

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