Autumn is the best season for mountaineering in Taiwan, and Shei-Pa attracts many mountaineers at this time of the year. Shei-Pa National Park Headquarters reminds mountaineers that as autumn approaches, bees and wasps are more active. Please keep quiet and calm, and leave quickly by detour if you encounter them. Also, the temperatures fluctuate widely in the mountains during autumn. Please bring enough warm clothes with you.
Enjoy the red maple in the mountains during autumn
Compared to the hot, humid and unstable weather of summer in Taiwan’s mountainous area, the weather is more stable in autumn, with lower rainfall and cooler temperatures. It is the best season for mountaineering. This custom could also be seen on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month in ancient time, as described in Du Fu’s 7-character regulated poem (a.k.a. Lushi) “Ascending Heights”, Wang Wei’s “Thinking of My Brothers on Mountain-climbing Day”, etc. With the cool autumn breeze, deciduous trees begin to decorate the mountains, where Taiwan Mountain Ash dyes the Xueshan (a.k.a. Snow Mountain), and the red maple paints the Qijiawan Creek red. This is the best time to enjoy the sea of clouds from the mountains. However, with the approach of autumn, bees and wasps become more active. There have been cases of mountaineers being stung by hornets at Shei-Pa National Park in recent years; hence, we need to stay alert.
Detour if you encounter a swarm of bees or wasps
Shei-Pa National Park Headquarters reminds the public that there were cases of hornet attacks in Taiwan’s mountain areas every autumn because this is their nesting and mating season, and they are more alert in protecting their nests or hunting for food for the winter. They are also more aggressive towards humans during this time. When stung by a bee/wasp, the symptoms include swelling of the wound, severe pain, vomiting, clouding of consciousness, difficulty in breathing, decrease in blood pressure, blood hypoxia, etc. In more serious cases, there may even be renal dysfunction or danger of death; hence, we have to take extra precaution.
The public are advised to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and hats whose colors which are not too bright when they visit the mountainous area, and should refrain from putting on perfume. Fruit peel and food should be tightly wrapped to prevent the smell from attracting bee/wasp swarms. One should try to detour when encountering a beehive or hornet’s nest. If bees or wasps are hovering nearby, do not provoke or slap them, but keep quiet and walk briskly in the opposite direction from where the hornets are coming, or in an upwind direction. Do not run to avoid being an obvious target. If you’re being attacked by a swarm of bees or wasps, protect your head, neck and hands with a jacket (preferably light color and smooth surface) and leave quickly; do not lie on the ground. Apply an ice pack on the stung wound to reduce swelling and pain. When removing a bee or wasp sting, do not use your hands to squeeze it directly or more venom will be released into the body. You should see a doctor even if there is no obvious symptom.
Pay attention to mountain wind
As autumn approaches, the temperature gradually drops, and the day and night temperatures differ greatly. Shei-Pa National Park Headquarters reminds mountaineers to keep warm during the night and early morning. The warm temperature during the day often makes the mountaineers misjudge the chill of the night. Also, there are still chances of typhoon in the near future, and mountaineers should pay attention to the weather information at all times, and cautiously assess the impact of the weather changes on their mountaineering plans, especially for those planning long distance trips. To enter the ecological reserves of the National Park, one needs to apply for an entry permit for the mountain and the Park. Have a proper plan before the trip, be well- trained physically, and prepare food supplies and an emergency response plan. Remember, a safe return is the most important mission of the trip.