賽德克族的古獵場 ──能高越嶺道

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2012 / 1月

文‧葉品妤╱滕淑芬 圖‧林務局黃信富提供


「台灣有這麼多條古道,能高越嶺道最特別!」這是81歲山岳探險家楊南郡以3年時間完成《能高越嶺道.穿越時空之旅》一書後的心得。

能高越嶺道是台灣最具國際知名度的古道,在電影《賽德克.巴萊》引發熱潮後,這個霧社事件發生地,充滿歷史故事的古道,更值得我們來一探究竟。


遙遠的中央山脈,接近濁水溪的源頭,數百年前原住民族的泰雅族、賽德克族在此建立家園。

幾代之後,子孫繁衍,為了擴大生存空間,有一部分人從霧社翻越中央山脈,經過合歡山、大禹嶺、白楊、綠水等地,來到花蓮立霧溪太魯閣一帶定居;橫跨如今南投縣仁愛鄉與花蓮秀林鄉的能高越嶺道,就是早年原住民遷徙和交通貿易的通路,原來分居在中央山脈東西兩側的族人,本屬同源,後來因爭奪獵區和耕地,形成敵對狀態。

最具現代化的高山道路

這條原住民族生活的路徑,海拔高度落差達一千公尺,崎嶇難行,後來日本人為了「理蕃」大肆整建,可說是近代台灣最具現代化的一條高山道路。

1914年,日人覬覦台灣山區豐富的樟腦和天然檜木林,也為了征服不受控制的原住民族,發動「太魯閣征伐戰役」,日軍在花蓮及霧社集結,分東、西兩路進擊,能高越嶺就是日軍攻擊太魯閣族的路線之一。當時賽德克和太魯閣族的戰士僅有2,300人,他們以簡陋的弓箭獵槍對抗配備精良槍砲的兩萬日軍,激戰3個月不敵,血染大地後,才開始日治時代。

為了開發山區,1917年日人動員近六萬名警力、泰雅族人和挑夫,興築警備道,1918年完成,命名為「初音奇萊橫斷道路」;不過,這條能高越嶺東段的舊道,和現在的古道有數百公尺高度的落差。

1925年,日人鑒於舊道需翻越海拔3,307公尺的奇萊裡山,冬季深雪行走困難,又重新在能高駐在所旁(今天池山莊),沿著山腹開路至2,808公尺的鞍部,再東下檜林,抵柴田溪、奇萊溪至天長斷崖,就是能高橫斷道路西段,和現在的西段古道幾乎完全一致,完工後,東、西段加起來總長約81.3公里。

同時日人也利用東部豐富的森林資源,以上好的檜木在沿線建造16個駐在所,部分駐在所除了配置警力、辦公室,還有住宿設施,其中尤以「能高駐在所」最負盛名。

這一棟雅緻豪華的日式招待所,有「能高御殿」之稱,設有十間和室房約可容納上百人,以及泡澡的「風呂間」,很難想像,在當時台灣深山中,有如此氣派的駐在所。

霧社事件,悲歌的起義點

楊南郡的調查指出,當時能高越嶺道是日軍「行軍訓練」和「東、西方向部隊緊急調動」的路線,文武將官常來此巡查,也是社會人士熱門的高山健行路線,例如台北第一中學(今建國中學)的師生,曾經組成一個19人登山隊以數天時間橫越全程。

當這群師生來到能高駐在所,看到能高雲瀑的流雲自東方稜線缺口,向西方塔羅灣溪源頭傾瀉,恍如真實的瀑布一般;而夜晚薄霧輕罩,遠處的埔里盆地燈火有如螢火蟲的微光閃爍,又如在仙界。此時高山氣溫驟降,大家躲進榻榻米房間圍著火爐取暖,想起台北7月的炎熱之苦,好像置身在另一個世界。

能高越嶺道的開通,讓霧社成為觀光勝地,但原住民族的生活卻越來越苦;為了應付眾多遊客,埔里的公共建設不斷增加,日人常以低廉工資雇用原住民族參與永無止盡的勞役,荒廢了農耕和狩獵;日警甚至嚴格規定族人搬運木料必須用扛的,無視尖銳的檜木造成族人肩膀流血的傷害,一旦違反就會被毆打,並苛扣工資,種種欺壓埋下族人抗爭起義的遠因。

1930年10月27日,馬赫坡社頭目莫那.魯道率領族人襲擊正在霧社公學校舉行運動會的日本警民,並燒毀越嶺道西段的駐在所和屋舍。日軍緊急調來全台各地的部隊和偵察機進攻,族人抵死奮戰,最後糧彈盡絕,這段步道也成為歷史血淚斑斑的顫慄之路。

霧社事件平息後,日人開始重建霧社,栽種更多櫻花,也在古道上重建新的駐在所,於是遊客與登山客又回來了。

橫越中央山脈的輸電計畫

1942年,日人利用立霧溪、清水溪、銅門溪、木瓜溪來做水力發電,興建發電廠,除了供給東部地區用電,甚至還有餘電可以輸送到西部,當時即規劃了一條東西連絡的輸電線,預計從花蓮吉安拉到南投萬大水庫,也完成了路線勘察工作,此時已是二戰末期,日軍敗相顯露,在美軍進攻日本後全面投降,退出台灣。

據悉,日本人離開台灣前曾說:「我們走了之後,台灣大概就是一片黑暗了吧!」好在國民政府接收後,立即成立台灣電力公司,畢業自哈爾濱大學電機系的孫運璿當時是台電工程處處長,他帶領工作人員,在幾個月內,將全台的電力系統修復。

1950年,在美援經費支持下,台電重新啟動「東電西輸」計畫,設立了埔里東西線工程處和立霧工程處,開始興建從銅門到萬大、橫越能高越嶺道的東西輸電線,因此又稱為「能高保線路」,原先遭廢棄的駐在所房舍,也被整修起來,成為「保線所」。

能高越嶺道從此多了一項功能,成為台電員工巡視電塔的主要道路。每年冬天雪季,工作人員都要冒著酷雪,爬上輸電塔去清除積雪和冰柱,否則這些冰雪的重量,可能會壓垮輸電系統。

在山路崎嶇,地質脆弱的山區架設電塔是一件艱鉅的工程,完成後對台灣的經濟發展功不可沒。為了紀念這項劃時代的建設,當時蔣中正總統親題「光被八表、利溥民生」等字的界碑,矗立在能高山上。

楊南郡指出,能高越嶺道之所以受歡迎,除了風景好,也因身兼「保線路」的功能,步道隨時保持良好的路況,沿線也都有保線所可以借宿,對登山客來說,走完一天山路,有熱水洗澡,簡直就是天堂。

然而,1977年,台電為了開發水力,循著木瓜溪北岸向上游開闢並興建檜溪壩、奇萊壩、小瀧澗壩等7個水壩,以致原本的能高越嶺道被直接拓寬,也有部分被土石掩埋,原來將近80公里的步道僅剩從屯原道奇萊登山口的27公里。

再加上東部用電增加,沒有多餘電力可供輸出,維修工作則可用直昇機快速運送工人與器材,保線路又逐漸沒落。

風華再現的古調新唱

幸而,近年樂活風潮興起,登山健行成為普及的休閒活動,而前後段可以用車接駁上山的能高步道,2天1夜可以走完,滿足多數國人的需求。

2001年,林務局規劃為國家級步道,陸續整修,設置解說牌,進行人文史蹟和生態調查,重現這條歷史古道的風華。

近年由於東段的路線崩塌嚴重,不易通行;登山客多從霧社驅車至屯原啟登,從登山口到天池順登南華山,或至天池山莊後,再循原路折返,已是一條平易近人的路線。

從登山口開始,沿途可見峻峭綿延的雄奇山景、巨木蒼勁的原始森林、崩崖峽谷、遼闊草原,以及變化莫測的雲海流轉。

例如站在接近天池山莊的步道上,一路可瞭望能高群峰,能高主峰海拔3,262公尺,山勢高聳,於日治時期和玉山、雪山,並稱為台灣三高。

又如位於塔羅灣溪上游、夫婦山南麓的三疊瀑布(又稱能高瀑布),瀑布落差200公尺,自高崖下瀉至中斷分歧,有如夫妻並肩而立,磅礡的氣勢被山客譽為高山第一瀑。

當步道緩緩從約2,000公尺的中海拔,到3,000公尺的高海拔,一路緩升穿越不同林帶。原本是蓊鬱的二葉松和台灣鐵杉林,因森林火災導致林木成片死亡,僅留二葉松和台灣鐵杉的軀幹,傲然聳立在箭竹草坡上。而鐵杉林則是從松原到三疊瀑布一帶的林相,屬鐵杉、雲杉林帶,這兩種植物樹型優雅,行走其間彷如走入國畫之間,優美如詩。

渾然天成的天險氣勢

由屯原登口到天池的14公里路程,沿途歷史遺跡和自然美景輪番上場。

雲海保線所,現為台電維護輸電線的基地,海拔2,386公尺,晨昏之際雲海翻騰,這裏是遊客休憩的主要據點。

松原木炭窯遺址,位於松原駐在所附近,先民用以燒炭取暖,石砌造型仍保持相當完整。

天池,距天池山莊1.1公里,在柔和起伏的箭竹坡中,一窪碧潭倒映著群山美景,晨昏之際霞光映照下更是美如仙境。

能高鞍部,位於中央山脈主脊,是南投縣與花蓮縣的分界線,地勢平緩,草原遼闊,向東可展望連綿疊翠的木瓜溪流域山巒,天氣好時可遠眺太平洋,是欣賞日出雲海的極佳地點。

從最早的賽德克族人遷移的道路、日軍征討路線、日警警備道、東西橫貫公路、台電保線路,到今日絡繹不絕的重裝登山客,能高越嶺道在各個時代展現不同的風貌。

從古至今,先民與今人在變動的路線上,以不同的心情行過蜿蜒的山徑,不變的是壯麗的山容與氣勢萬千的雲海景致,總是讓旅人駐足讚嘆。這一條由先民歷史足跡與自然大地譜寫而成的步道,充滿故事,宛如一首餘音繚繞的樂章,悠揚於天地間。

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近期文章

英文

Old Seediq Hunting Grounds— The Nenggao Historic Trail

Yeh Pin-yu and Teng Sue-feng /photos courtesy of courtesy of Huang Xinfu, Forestry Bureau /tr. by Geof Aberhart

“Taiwan has many historic trails, but the Neng­gao Trail is the most amazing!” So says 81-year-old mountaineer Nelson Young after spending three years on his book A Story of the Neng­gao National Trail.

The Neng­gao Historic Trail is Tai­wan’s most internationally known historic trail, and since the release of the film Seediq Bale, interest in it has risen again. This historical site, where the infamous Wu­she Incident occurred, is certainly one worthy of a closer look.


Centuries ago, in the far reaches of the Central Mountain Range near the head of the Zhuo­shui River, the Ata­yal and See­diq tribes made their homelands.

Over the generations their populations grew, and in need of greater space, a group of people set off from Wu­she to cross the ranges, ultimately settling in the Ta­roko area in what is now Hua­lien County. The Neng­gao Historic Trail, which crosses the mountains between Ren’ai Township in Nan­tou and Hua­lien’s Xiu­lin Township, is the trail these pioneers took, and later became a path used for trading. With this connection, though, came conflict, as peoples of the two sides of the range began to fight over hunting grounds, becoming enemies and eventually being split more than any mountains could have caused.

A historic alpine battleground

This lifeline for the local tribes, a difficult traverse with a height difference of some 1000 meters, later underwent large-scale renovation at the hands of the Japanese as they sought to “pacify” the Aboriginal peoples.

In 1914 the Japanese, lusting for the rich camphor and cypress of Taiwan’s mountainous regions and wanting to finally suppress the resistant Aborigines, launched the Battle of Taroko. Japanese troops assembled in Hualien and Wushe, attacking from both east and west, and the Nenggao Trail was one of the routes by which they launched their attacks on the Truku people. At the time, the warriors of both the Truku and Seediq tribes numbered only some 2,300 and were armed only with simple hunting tools like spears and bows. Pitted against 20,000 Japanese troops with state-of-the-art weapons, they held out through three months of fierce fighting, but ultimately the bloodshed was too great, and effective Japanese rule was extended into the mountains.

Three years later, in 1917, the Japanese sent in 60,000 men, not only military but also support staff and some Atayal, to construct a patrol route for the colonial government to begin exploiting the mountains. Finished in 1918, the trail was named the “Chuyin-Qilai Traverse”; however, there is a difference in height of several hundred meters between this, the “old trail” on the eastern section of the Neng­gao Trail, and today’s Historic Trail.

Seeing the difficulty of crossing the 3,307-meter-tall Mt. Qi­laili, particularly in the deep snows of winter, in 1925 the Japanese began opening up a trail near Neng­gao Station (today’s Tian­chi Villa) along the mountainside to the saddle at 2,808 m before heading down and to the east, through Kuai­lin, the Chai­tian River, and the Qi­lai River to the Tian­chang Cliffs. Thus was born the full run of the Neng­gao Trail, running 81.3 kilometers once both the eastern and new western sections of the trail were connected.

At the same time as the trail was being built, the Japanese also made full use of the timber available on the eastern side of the mountains, constructing 16 guard stations along the trail from local cypress. Some of these stations also had police stations, offices, and dormitory facilities, and of them, the Neng­gao Station was the best known.

An elegantly constructed Japanese-style building, it boasted 10 bedrooms capable of accommodating over 100 people, as well as a refined bathing room. It seems almost inconceivable that at that time, far up in the mountains of Taiwan, there could be such a luxurious setup.

The tragedy of Wushe

According to Nelson Young’s research, the Neng­gao Trail served as both a training ground and an emergency access route for troops on both the eastern and western sides. High-ranking military and civil officials would often make inspections here, and the trail was also a popular hiking spot for the general populace. At one point, 19 teachers and students from Tai­hoku First High School (now Tai­pei’s Jian­guo High School) even hiked the whole length of the trail, spending several days on the journey.

Upon reaching the Neng­gao Station and seeing the rolling, thick clouds in the east flowing like a waterfall toward the head of the Ta­luo­wan River to the west, along with the lights of the ­Puli Basin below looking for all the world like fireflies as the night descended, it was as if they’d been whisked into a magical realm. As the temperature dropped into the night, the group huddled around a hibachi in a tatami room, remembering the terrible heat of a Taipei July and feeling as though they had been transported to another world.

With the opening up of the Neng­gao Trail, Wu­she quickly became a major tourist destination, but for the Aboriginal people of the area, life became tougher and tougher. As the number of visitors grew, the Japanese continued to increase the scale of their facilities in ­Puli, making use of the Aborigines as cheap labor, and as they were put to work, their farms and hunting grounds went unattended. The Japanese demanded that the Aborigines shoulder-carry the trees that were cut down, paying no mind to the injuries and bleeding caused by the piercing cypress. If anyone stepped out of line, they would be beaten and have their pay docked. It was these occurrences of mistreatment that eventually led the Aborigines to rebel.

On 27 October, 1930, the chief of the Ma­hebo subtribe of the See­diq, ­Mona Ru­dao, led his men in a vicious attack, striking as the Japanese residents of Wu­she attended the local elementary school’s sports day and burning down the stations along the western part of the trail. The Japanese rapidly brought in reinforcements from throughout Taiwan to counterattack. The Aborigines fought tooth and nail, until they ran out of both food and ammunition, leaving the trail a bloodstained landmark in Taiwanese history.

After the violence that followed what became known as the Wu­she Incident, the Japanese began to rebuild at Wu­she, planting cherry trees and rebuilding the stations along the trail, and eventually the tourists began to return.

Let there be light

In 1942, the Japanese began building hydroelectric power stations, aiming not only to provide power to eastern Taiwan, but also to transmit whatever excess there was across to the west. A plan was made to link up Ji’an in Hua­lien and Wanda Reservoir in Nantou, but as World War II drew to a close and the Japanese surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, the plan was cut short and the Japanese departed from Taiwan.

One Japanese official apparently remarked on leaving Taiwan, “When we leave, we leave Taiwan in darkness!” Fortunately, when the Republican government took charge of Taiwan in the wake of the Japanese departure, they immediately set up the Taiwan Power Company. Tai­power’s engineering department was put in the charge of Sun Yun-suan, a graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Har­bin Institute of Technology. Under Sun’s leadership, within several months all of Tai­wan’s power network was linked up and restored.

In 1950, with the help of US aid, Tai­power restarted the Japanese east-west plan, setting up engineering stations in ­­Puli and ­Liwu, and beginning to build a link from Tong­men to ­Wanda, crossing along the Nenggao Trail. The abandoned Japanese guard stations were rebuilt and repurposed as maintenance posts for the power line.

From then, the trail began serving another purpose, becoming the main route for Taipower maintenance staff to inspect the lines and pylons. During the snowy winters, the workers had to risk bitterly cold snows to climb the pylons and clear off the ice and snow that would otherwise bring down the power lines.

In honor of the hard work of those men and those who built the system, President Chiang Kai-shek himself produced the calligraphy for a plaque saying “Bringing light to all, benefitting the people,” which stands atop Mt. Nenggao.

Nelson Young points out that the popularity of the Neng­gao Trail was not just due to its natural beauty, but also because, thanks to its use by Tai­power, it was particularly well maintained. All along the trail were maintenance posts that could be used, and for hikers, there is little more heavenly after a long day’s hiking than a nice warm shower.

However, when Tai­power began moving to hydroelectric power generation in 1977 and building dams in the northern stretch of the Mu­gua River (­Kuaixi, Qi­lai, Xiao­long­jian, and four other dams), parts of the Nenggao Trail were left to landslides, reducing the length of the usable trail from its original 80-plus kilometers down to only 27 km from Tun­yuan to the Qi­lai trailhead.

And as demand for power rose in eastern Taiwan, there was little excess to transmit to the west, so maintenance crews were scaled back, helicoptering in when needed. As a result of all of this, the trail gradually began to fall into disrepair.

A return from the brink

Fortunately, with the rise of the ­LOHAS movement in recent years, hiking has come back into vogue. With the beginning and ending sections of the old trail now traversable by car, people can be shuttled to and from the trail and can complete it in two days, making it much more amenable to visitors.

In 2001, the Forestry Bureau began working on the National Trail System project, repairing trails and setting up informational signs. With this work, and the related studies of areas’ historical, cultural, and ecological qualities, new life was breathed into old trails like the Nenggao Trail.

In recent years the eastern section of the trail has been hit by severe landslides, making it difficult going, so most hikers simply get shuttled from Wu­she to Tun­­yuan, start walking at the Tun­­yuan trailhead and head toward Tian­chi and then Mt. Nan­hua, or simply turn back at Tian­chi Villa. In this form, the trail is more than accessible to the ordinary person.

Ranging between heights of 2,000 and 3000 m above sea level, the trail passes through different forest belts, including sections that were once brimming with Taiwan red pine and Taiwan hemlock, but that due to forest fires have been reduced to mere corpses standing over alpine grasslands.

A natural beauty

The 14 km from the Tun­yuan trail­head to Tian­chi runs through many historic ruins and points of natural beauty, including:

The ruins of Ma­tsu­hara Kiln, situated near the Matsuhara guard post. Previous residents used the kiln for warmth, and much of its stone structure remains in good shape today.

The main peak of Mt. Neng­­gao—a trail from Tian­­chi Villa runs straight to a lookout, from which visitors can take in the view of the local mountains, including the soaring 3,262-meter main peak of Mt. Neng­gao; this peak was ranked by the Japanese alongside Yu­shan and Mt. Xue as one of Taiwan’s three greatest peaks.

Tian­chi—located 1.1 km from Tian­chi Villa. The gentle, rolling grasslands here are home to a stunning lake, from which the location takes its name: “Heavenly Lake.” The sky reflects breathtakingly in the lake’s surface, and at dawn and dusk it is particularly otherworldly.

Neng­gao Saddle—situated along the main ridge of the Central Mountain Range, this is the dividing line between Nan­tou and Hua­lien Counties. A sweeping grassland, it offers wonderful views to the east of the Mu­gua River as it winds through the mountains; when the weather is clear, you can see out over the Pacific Ocean, and it is a spectacular spot from which to enjoy a sunrise.

From its earliest days as a migratory trail for the See­diq people, through its use by the Japanese military and later the Taiwan Power Company, to its position today as a superlative hiking route, the Neng­gao Historic Trail has been many things over the years.

Different people in different eras have looked upon this winding mountain trail with different eyes, but what has never changed is the spectacular mountain scenery and amazing natural beauty. Rich with stories, this historic trail has all the twists and turns of a great novel, and can feel for all the world like a Heaven on Earth.

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