Mao Mao Shan (毛毛山) : Lost & Forgotten

Trail Map

A dark sky over Yulong valley peaks.

Mao Mao Shan is the locals' mountain, but no one climbs it. Buried under an ever-growing canopy of foliage, the ruined path to the summit is allusive and wild. After or during rainfall this hike is not advisable as the path becomes incredibly slippery and treacherous.

The trailhead can be found in a friendly elderly lady's vegetable allotment. Make your way through the runner beans and tomatoes and onto a dirt track that leads steeply up Mao Mao Shan.

The villagers appear to have tied rope along the trail to help with the ascent, but ascending is still no easy feat. The trail is steep and often precarious, passing rotting wooden planks and loose cliffside rocks.

Translated directly, Mao Mao Shan could be the furry mountain or the hairy mountain. This is quite suitable if you imagine the many trees and bushes you'll encounter are indeed the mountain's furry hide. It requires a certain amount of determination to beat back the vegetation as you fight your way towards the summit.

The hiking path itself was built during the Japan-China War - the War of Resistance, but has since been abandoned. At the summit is an outpost used to survey the surrounding valley. The Yulong river stretches from horizon to horizon here. It's hard to imagine the land ever having been war-torn.

It's possible to walk the perimeter of the ruined fort, but care is needed as the stones are loose and liable to tumble down the mountainside. In the center of the summit plateau are the remains of abandoned buildings. Simple stone structures devoured by the plants which swarm at their feet.

It's a good place to find quiet and drift into thoughtless daydreams. Who knows what ghosts you share the summit with.

        Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@radventuresofficial) // Summer 2019