Taiwan: Taroko Gorge

Amazing rock formations!

After the adventures of trekking through Sapa and kayaking around the islands of Halong Bay, Taiwan had a tough act to follow. Taroko Gorge National Park, located on the east coast of the island nation, proved to be equally exciting and beautiful. The name Taroko is derived from “Truku,” the local indigenous word for “human being.” The Park is made up of incredible marble formations, carved into a gorge by the Liwu river. These formations began as sediments on the ocean floor, condensed into limestone under enormous amounts of pressure. Overtime, compression from tectonic plates metamorphosed the limestone into marble, and forced it upwards above sea level.

Enjoying some tree climbing at the park entrance.
Beautiful sights.
I enjoy finding holes and climbing into them.
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Green on grey.
Little island.
Scarlett and Elizabeth on the trail.
Statues at the park entrance.

Although many of the trails were closed due to maintenance and time of year, we had the opportunity to explore both ends of the park. Our first stop was Shakadang Trail, which lead along the river through a half-tunnel blasted into the rock face. Here we were exposed to an endless variety in rock formations, from jagged layers pushing out from the rock beside us, to smooth curves rising out of the cerulean water.

Bridge at the beginning of Shakadang trail.
The Hike begins!
Blasted into the rock.
Nature meets junk.
Ongoing work on the trail.
Looks like dragon scales!
Damn on the trail.
Hideaway on Shakadang Trail.
Adventure plank at the end of the trail.

Our second day in Taroko started with an early morning shuttle through the park, and a hike to Baiyang Falls. To get to the falls, we had to walk through a number of unlit, long, and curving tunnels. I packed my headlamp, but it didn’t illuminate much. Between tunnels, we spotted a couple of monkeys feasting on leaves above us.

“Bright Tunnel”, the entrance to the falls trail.
Baiyang Falls.
Scarlett, Affam, me, Elizabeth at the falls.
Awesome rock formations.
So much green!
Tunnel to the falls. Feels a lot longer than it looks!
Monkeying around on our way back from the falls.

After the hike, we visited the Changchun Shrine, also know as the Eternal Spring Shrine, located near the entrance of the park. The Shrine is dedicated to the 212 veterans killed during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway between 1956 and 1960. Located above the Changchun waterfalls, the Shrine gets its name because the falls never stop running.

Changchun Shrine.
Bridge to the Shrine.
Sign post at the shrine.
Spiderweb on sign post at the shrine.

Our last stop before heading back to Taipei was Qixintan Beach. Rather than sand, the beach is made up of piles of fist-sized smooth rocks against the bluest water I have ever seen. Though the locals would probably disagree, the water was quite warm and inviting. The waves however, were a little too big to swim safely, so we opted to just get our legs wet in the crashing water. By the time we left, the rain took care of get us wet with a downpour.

Ocean meets mountains.
Elizabeth and Scarlett playing in the water.
Beautiful rocks!
The bluest water I’ve ever seen!
Leaving our Canadian mark on the beach!
xrings on an xrock.
It wasn’t particularly windy, but the trees seem to be permanently swayed by stronger winds.
Structure at the beach.
Elizabeth and me beating the rain.
Awesome improvised cake that Affam put together for my birthday!

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