A Fore-test of Mountain-Climbing—Baptism in Jia-lo Lakes

By Chao, Kuo-Yuan, LDP Cycle 4, junior, Dept.of Business Administration

A Fore-test of Mountain-Climbing—Baptism in Jia-lo Lakes

We found how far the destination was after we set out.

The highlight of the course was to climb Nan-hu Mountain in July. To equip us with the necessary knowledge and experiences about mountain-climbing, we were especially arranged to undergo a two-day mountain-climbing training session in Jia-lo Lakes. Jia-lo Lakes are located in Si-ji Village, Da-tung Township, Yilan County. Legend has it that in ancient times, a beautiful goddess broke her mirror on the desk while making up, the fragments of mirror glasses were thus scattered in the mountains around Jia-lo, becoming lots of breathtakingly beautiful lakes. As a result, the fascinating sceneries around Jia-lo Lakes were given the romantic and beautiful name as “the scattered pearls.”

With the courage that comes from inexperience, we a group of students tried to explore the wonders of the “pearls.” However, it was the first time for most of the group members to climb a mountain. Besides, the weather was quite bad in the mountains—it kept raining. The trail became muddy and that made our trip even tougher. Beautiful pearls seemed suddenly a bunch of stubborn boulders, giving us the “baptism of fire”! Finally we came to realize: Alas! Mountain-climbing was not as easy as we thought!

As we stepped in the classroom at the first time, Prof. Chu, Si-Wei warned us once, “This can be the toughest course in NTU.” I felt no fear as I heard his words. Instead, I was thrilled because of the upcoming challenges! After I heard that last year’s students had climbed the Himalayas, I thought to myself arrogantly, “Since others can, it must be no problem to me!” However, I had no experience of mountain-climbing before and my stamina was not outstanding in the group. Further, my stature was somewhat small. Therefore, taking a big and heavy backpack was so energy-consuming. The rain obscured my vision. I climbed in the muddy trail holding the rough tree trunks step by step. On the way, group members never stopped asking “How far is it left?” On the map, sometimes two points may seem very far but the trail can actually be very easy and flat. We, compared with the high mountain trail ahead, seemed like crawling ants. The trail looked easy at first sight, but its twisted part was covered by trees and the terrible slopes were all hidden among rocks.

We found how far the destination was after we set out. Also, we always know more about our capacity after challenges. Those who never move on can never be privileged to the beautiful sceneries along the way.

Enjoy every moment because there is only one chance.

Due to the two days’ bad weather, raincoats became necessary. The sound of the falling rain seemed like the background music on our way. We totally suffered from the non-stop rain while we went mountain climbing for the first time. We had to be careful about every step because of the muddy trail, lest we should slipped and fell. Our clothes went wet because of the counter tide effect of the raincoats. The humidity made us uncomfortable. Besides the bad weather, a variety of bugs showed up. On the second morning, our tents were full of millipedes.

The annoying heavy rain and bugs were just like the buzzing of mosquitoes that appeared while we were about to fall asleep in a still night. However, after a long while, we became gradually used to their company. In the end we found out these, influenced our mood as they might, were just little nuisances. If we kept complaining because of these, we would prevent ourselves from hearing the faraway agreeable chirping of birds. If we frowned on these, we might neglect the adorable flowers, grass and trees on the
way. If we had negative feelings, the memories would be unpleasant. Instead of complaining and regretting later on, I would rather make the most of every moment. I wanted to feel as much as possible no matter how hard it was and how tired I was. Every moment could be unique and invaluable, for time and tide waited for no man.

It rained. So what? We would continue our journey and hum songs all the way.

It takes courage to move forward but wisdom to stop.

Due to our lack of experience and the bad weather, we fell behind our schedule. The sun were about to set, but we wouldn’t be able to reach Jia-lo Lakes as planned before it went dark with the current speed. We were thus faced with a crucial dilemma: “speed up to reach Jia-lo Lakes or give up the goal to reach the top, heading to the Che-tue Lake nearby.”

We dined and loaded ourselves with sufficient water beside Jia-na-fu River. After the break, we studied the map together and discussed about what we should do next. We considered the pros and cons of both alternatives. Finally, we reached an agreement: give up the goal to reach the top and stayed at the Che-tue Lake, for there were quite a few people in our group and our moving speed was hence slower than ordinary. We feared that we couldn’t reach a camping area with water supplement before it went dark.
Besides, moving in the dark was quite risky to such a mountain-climbing group like us. On the night, we laughed and shared our feelings after we filled our stomach. The all-day-long journey had exhausted all of us. Therefore, we fell asleep very soon.

If we want to climb higher, every time we have to adapt ourselves to the environment first, or we may suffer from certain illness, even the altitude sickness. Both moving backward and stopping to rest are wise decisions while we fell ill or exhausted. A team may run into different problems. For a leader, most of the time, it is more difficult to decide when to stop than to decide when to move on. The name of the lake “Che-tue (retreat)” seemed somewhat ironic and appeared to remind us of the failure of being unable to reach the top. However, it reinstated that it was wiser to retreat timely than to bite off more than one can chew.

Though we failed to reach the top and inevitably we felt a little bit regretful. However, safety always comes first. We compromised this time, while we also agreed that some day we would come back to challenge and reach the Jia-lo Lakes successfully, enjoying the dazzling pearls. For this time, stopping at Che-tue Lake was fine!

Be fully prepared and welcome the next tougher journey.

After the two-day baptism of fire at Jia-lo Lakes, we realized mountain-climbing was not as easy as we thought. Even cleaning our equipment, which appeared to be easy at first, took a lot more time and energy than expected. It was not only a fore-test before we went to Nan-hu but also a reminder for us to let us know that we were not well-prepared. In the following two months, we needed to exercise regularly and did more training. Besides, we needed to know the importance of certain equipments such as kneecaps and alpenstocks.

Next time, we would be fully prepared and challenge the Nan-hu Mountains. Regardless of the equipment, stamina or the state of mind, now we all know we would encourage one another and overcome every single difficulty together as a team, so that we would accomplish the journey of teamwork smoothly.