July 5th, 2005

Taroko Gorge

I am now staying in a village at the mouth of Taroko Gorge. Obviously I am able to get Internet access from this place or this would not have been written. There is this little cyber games place with coin operated PC for 10NT per 30 minutes.

The absence of the handphone had impacted on some of the plans I had for Taroko. First of which was the previous update necessitated by my having to get into Internet at Hualien to write email to Joy to relay to Yu as well as the shop I hired the bike from.

Without the handphone as a safety line to call for help, I cut back on some of the places I wanted to go to in Taroko. I was thinking how quaint it was when I read accounts of guys who got lost in Borneo and Thailand who called back to UK which then organised help for them. Must have been easier for them to call back home to mummy or wife than to try to speak Thai or Malay. Even if they did, they would not know what number to call to. Mum and wife or gf would be at least one of those stored on memory.

Speaking of which since all the numbers I knew were in that phone, I could not even have a number to call.

I left Hualien yesterday morning to get into Taroko.

In the village at the mouth of Taroko Gorge, I bought a pack lunch to eat in one of my favourite spot in the TG. That was near the Frog rock (which was claimed to look like a frog) with a pavilion with red tiles was build. Another pavilion was near there with green tiles. That was where a side valley joined the main Taroko Gorge valley. I came out via this valley from one of my walks up high on the side of TG and I thought of going inside a bit. Saw a warning sign that I ignored but the rockfalls further in were massive sealing off that valley. Without the handphone, I decided not to try to go past those rockfalls and had my lunch in that green pavilion. A big crow landed on the tree near me. Took a lot of shots of it hoping to fix if that was a big crow or a raven, not that I am that sure where one ends and the other start.

I stayed in one of those minshuo or local guest house about 3 km after Tiensian. That WenShan hotspring was one of my favourite place. The entry at the road was sealed off with a line of red flags and a warning. I pulled up that line of flags and got on the path. From that path, I could see the hotspring located by the river side about 150 meters down on so. The two big new pools were now empty. There was a big rock in one of the pool that was not there before. The inn keeper told me about two months ago, that rock came down and killed a bather there and injured a few more. He said that he and other locals had warned them not to enlarge the original hotspring (which I went about 15 to 10 years ago) to the current size because of rock falls they knew in the past.


Then there was yet another line of red flags and warning further down the path. But 200 meters later, the path was truely blocked. The path entered a short tunnel and there was this steel gate bolted and padlocked as well. So the old hotspring was sealed off now as well. I was enchanted by the lovely whistling sounds, the sound of the Formosan whistling thrush. Now that this part was sealed off, perhaps the local wildlife made a come back in the peace and quiet left behind.


Found in Tiensian internet access. But at 10NT for every 5 minutes (as against 10NT for 30 minutes here and 15NT/hour in Chiayi and Hualien), I did not use that for long.

On the morning of 5th July, rode the bike slowly up. If any of you ever make a visit to Taroko Gorge, be sure to continue at least 6-7 km beyond Tiensian. Most people turned around after Tiensian town. By going just that bit further up the road, you get to a point to see Tiensian and the mountains around it spread out below you. What you thought were mountains at Tiensian would be hills in comparision to the mountains that you find yourself to be on just a few km further on.

Rode up further just feasting my mind and sight on the forests and mountains of the central range here.

The day earlier, met an old mountain climbing friend Dongdong was was the manager at an upscale resort and had agreed to see him later in the afternoon. That hotel was in the Pulowan area and I would have stayed there if Joy was with me.

Since I wanted to stay higher up on Wednesday, and would be starting off early in the day, I thought it was not much point to stay in that resort when I would be spending so little time in it. But if any of you folks be in Taroko Gorge, you will be delighted just how beautiful that resort is even if the the name 'Leader Village Taroko' do not have that ring to it.

Sorry that is all in CHinese, but there are some nice photos of TG in it.

I declined his repeated wishes that I be his guest and left him after coffee and a nice chat. After I refused a very very hefty discount from him, I was then asked to stay free.

Hospitality from taiwanese friends can be overwhelming. Kind of embarassing.

That is why I am now in the village at the mouth of Taroko Gorge now, in a simple room in a humble guest house when I could be wallowing in luxury.