back when i was young and stupid and living in Taiwan, i went with some friends to stay at one of the friend's cousins place up in the mountains - turns out they lived just a bit away from the foot of Li-Shan (Pear Mountain), I think the 2nd highest in taiwan & a bit over 10K ft. i think it was spring time & there was still snow up on the highest part of the mt.
we walked through some trees to a trail that led to the base of the mountain and up to a waterfall partway up it - there we had lunch. my friend then said we'd be heading back - i thought the plan was to climb the mountain & stated my surprise, followed by an announcement that i would climb the thing. this was met with much skepticism, but a young visitor from korea (some kind of army exchange program) agreed to go with me.
we were practically running up the thing & it was steep (they prefer steps to switchbacks in taiwan, apparently). on the way up, a few folk asked us where we were going and our answer always elicited "bu crei-i" ("impossible"). by the looks of the people saying this, with their full backpacking kits, the late hour, and the long way we'd come, i was beginning to believe them. turns out it was at least 10 kilometers to the top, but we did make it to a false peak on the north flank, affording sweeping views of the mountains and valleys surrounding LiShan (and the sun pretty low in the sky).
We raced down: now we really were running. it was crazy - us in shorts and tshirts if memory serves. no food, no water. fortunately, one of the backpackers we'd seen on the way up was alongside the trail, with hot soup HE PREPARED IN ANTICIPATION OF OUR NEED ON THE WAY DOWN. he forced us to stop and have the soup before he let us continue on.
as we got to lower elevation and the pines gave way to bamboos, we were using the grasses and bamboos to slow our running descent, grapping them on either side of the trail as we plummeted - on turns, we'd use bamboos as pivots, grabbing them and swinging around.
as we got to the valley floor and began our way up the trail back towards the farm, the sun set, and i began to feel a deeper anxiety: it was getting very cold very fast, we had no food, light, water, clothing or shelter, and how the hell were we going to find the place in the trail to head back through the trees to the farm?
fortunately, our friends were experiencing anxiety as well - they were out calling for us.
they had prepared a feast, which we enjoyed after taking our turns bathing in 30" diameter, 6" deep bowl of hot water. it was still an incredible bath!
and that cup of soup up on LiShan will always be one of the best meals of my life.