Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) Special - Maolan Mountain hiking - sunrise - Sun Moon Lake mist [Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 3 "Dark Knight" - Nov. 7, 2015] | Travel in Asia

Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) Special - Maolan Mountain hiking - sunrise - Sun Moon Lake mist [Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 3 "Dark Knight" - Nov. 7, 2015]


The Sun Moon Lake Ropeway was already closed at 4:00pm. After taking sunset photos I decided to go back to Ita Thao pier to ride the ferry boat going to Shuishe Pier where my hostel is located. Darkness was slowly creeping in the lake and I didn't thought that this darkness will be my worst enemy in all of my travel adventures.

Only the first light rays coming from the sun can beat this darkness and I knew where to find it. At the top of Mt. Maolan is a weather observatory with nice platforms that I can see the sun coming out behind tall mountains. The hiking trail looks very easy in broad daylight but doing it very early when it was still dark was very challenging.

at the entrance of the Maolan Maountain Trail

The entrance of the Maolan Mountain Trail is just along Zhongshan Road of the Shuishe Pier area.

At 4:30am, I was already at the entrance of the trail. I forgot to bring a flashlight and only the light coming out from the screen of my iPod Touch was my only source of light. I looked into the sky and I saw the moon with a few stars. They gazed upon me from the sky as if they were my guardians.

I bravely walked on the dark road. It was really pitch black until it became an abyss of total darkness. It was really scary. I imagine a large dog coming out of the forest and attacking me. Its fangs would pierced into my skin and inject venom. Worst, a monster might come out instead of a dog and slashed me with its pointed nails. Gory scenes were running in my mind as hiked all the way to the peak.

Light coming from a lamp post in the Tea Research and Extension Station broke the silence of the night. One road was leading to the research complex and if allowed to enter will lead to a road which continues the trail. I walked on this road and a locked gated shocked me. How can I continue my hike? Climbing the cemented stairs was the other way but a warning was given to those who attempt to reached the top. There are bees and poisonous snakes that can bite you. I took the risk and climbed the stairs and a forest surprised me at the top.
I thought Maolan hiking trail is just an asphalted road and I didn't expect that there will be a forested path. Since it will be more dangerous to continue, I decided to go back to my hostel. More stars appeared in the sky as if the entire universe was helping me but their light wasn't enough. I already walked a few meters going back to the trail entrance when I saw a beam light on the far end of the road.

The light was not steady and moving in many directions. Could it be that a UFO landed in Taiwan? Two humanoid shadows suddenly appeared and was walking toward my direction. I waved my iPod Touch to let them know of my presence. They walked forward to my direction until the beam of light was in front of me. They can see me but I could not see them. The brightness of the light prevented me from seeing them. A change in the direction of the light beam helped me recognized that I met two Taiwanese who are also going to see the sunrise. 

I joined them and I found out that they came from Tainan. The old man and woman were my guardian angels in a time of crisis. We climbed the cemented stairs and then continued the hike to the forested path. I was not really forested and was very short. It will just lead you to an asphalted road that continues the trail. Japanese cedar trees lined the trail with dangerous cliffs just waiting for careless night hikers. 

We passed by different scenic platforms with explanations that this is a good site for watching the sunrise but we continued the walk until we saw the building of the Central Weather Bureau. We finally reached the top and two scenic platforms showed the mountains around Sun Moon Lake. The sun hasn't come out behind the mountains but I can observed Sun Moon Lake from below. It is covered in mist and just starting to show its beauty. More and more people arrived at 6am and we all climbed near the weather instruments to have a better view.

The Maolan Mountain Trail.  The "You are here" marks the Japanese Dormitory area.

At around 6:30am, the sun eventually came out and defeated the darkness. Some visitors even said “Alishan, Alishan”, when they saw the sunrise. I saw tea plantations as I walked down the mountain and I took an nice photo. I also have nice shots with the Japanese cedar trees and also the with the scenic platforms that me and my guardian angels passed by when it was still dark. 

Shuishe Pier was already alive when I came back from my hike. I explored the pier first and then I boarded the Round-the-Lake bus to Ita Thao. It's time to fly! (To be continued...)

Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 1 "Journey to the Lake"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 2 "The Invisible Line That the Dragon Wrote"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 3 "Dark Knight"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 4 "Rope, Rope and Away"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 5 "Food from the Thao"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 6 "Hello Jiji, Goodbye Tripod"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Part 7 "Ride your life"
Taiwan Day 797to799: Moon Embracing the Sun Finale "The Master's Sun" 

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