Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cycle Taiwan Day 18 Another Day in Taroko

After a simple breakfast at Liwu Hotel we checked out and moved to Hong Ying B&B next door to join the others for another night in Taroko. Thank you Liwu for your lovely hospitality.
Hong Ying B&B in the morning of our second day in Taroko.
The weather was absolutely different from yesterday. It has a clear and blue sky such a wonderful weather for Day 2. Jo has just visited 7-11 to buy some food stuff for the day's outing.
The plan was to to hike a few trails in Taroko and travelling to this places by bus. We were ready to hike and the bicycles can have a good rest at Hong Ying.
While waiting for the bus to come, a cute cat came entertaining us.
The first trail was to tackle Shakadang Trail located at GPS : 24.162066, 121.613737 where I was standing on Shakadang Bridge which is part of the Central Cross-Island Highway.
At the entrance of Shakadang Trail where we have to walk down a staircase to the trail.
The estimated distance of the trail we was 1.5km one way and coming back on the same route.
The Shakadang Trail (砂卡噹步道) is also known as “Mysterious Valley Trail”. 
Shakadang Bridge with red painted arch and concrete balutrade railing with small cute guardian lions on top.
It has crystal clear turquoise water with scattered broken boulders on the bed. The view is awesome.
This trail is easy and is suitable for all ages and once should try to visit it.
Another view of the crystal clear Shakadang River as you can feel the wind blowing through the marble canyons and boulder strewed at the riverbed.
How nice if we could get closer to the water and dip our legs in it.
Though it is an easy walk taking about 2 hours round trip with a little elevation but make sure to watch your head when passing under overhanging rock surfaces.
The total length of Shakadang Trail is about 4.4km which we were only doing one length of it from Shakadang Bridge.
Looking closer to the marble formation with distinguish strata layers on the canyon wall and the crystal clear blue water. 
A few stalls opened for visitors to sample some of their aboriginal food and buy some of their produce. This was the end of our walk we turned back from here as it was closed beyond it. The tribe here is known as Truku.
I noted a cave opening where the river water runs into it.
The entire trail is protected with a railing, though you cannot see any guards around but one has to be careful when walking in the trail. During wet season the rocks on the ground can be slippery.
We jumped into another bus for our second trail and it was Swallow Grotto Trail 燕子口步道. Located at GPS : 24.173167, 121.565868
A picture with Jhuilu Suspended Bridge, the one in green in colour at Swallow Grotto Trail Entrance.
The platform is connected to a suspension bridge across the gorge, aptly named Jhuilu Suspension Bridge (錐麓吊桥). Only 20 persons are allowed on the bridge at any one time. You can have some great views of the narrow Taroko Gorge from the suspension bridge.
The trail is safe to visit of about half kilometre and vehicular traffic is careful with visitors and have to move very slowly if they are using this old road.
Due to erosion and natural disaster the gorge has transformed and caused pot holes found at the walls with spring water gushing out of the holes.
It's truly amazing, walking at the edges of the cliff and enjoying the magnificent views of the gorge.
Hard hats are provided by the authority and visitors are advised to be cautious of falling rocks whenever visiting the trail. We were not aware of such hard hat provision while we were there. Work improvement of the railing was in progress at this part of Swallow Grotto Trail.
One has to slowly walk the trail and carefully observe the various features found in the place. I missed the Indian Head.
We met two Brommies from Hong Kong enjoying their visit with their folding bicycles.
Long long time ago during the ancient time these tunnels were dug by hands to form part of the trail and today it's a marvel we could still use it.
Following the trail at Yanzikou (Swallow Grotto Trail) we could see more rock cliffs of the Liwu River with the river water flowing swiftly between the narrow gorge walls.
Concrete structure of such are seen to strengthen the cliff and provide safety to visitors.
Lushui Trail (綠水步道) was the third and last trail for the day where we hopped onto a bus to Lushuiguanli Station 綠水管理站 to get to the entrance. There is a Geological Exhibition Center at the station where you can learn about the natural forces which created Taroko Gorge.
Jo was about to enter a dark tunnel of Lushui Trail (綠水步道).
The dark and narrow tunnel. It was only a short spell of total darkness if not one has to carry a torch.
Lushui Trail (綠水步道) is a well maintained and easy to hike which is suitable for all ages.
 It takes around one hour to finish the 2km trail. This scenic path features forests, cliffs, a variety of plant species, and traces of the Japanese occupation period.
Lushui Trail was part of the Old Cross-Hehuan Mountain Road during the Japanese colonial era.
Our last visit of the day at Tianxiang Village located further west of the East West Highway where we took a bus there. The village has a information center and a few restaurants near the bus station.
We took our lunch at a restauraunt for a simple meal of economy rice "chap fun" immediately when we alighted from the bus.
The area has been populated since ancient times as it is one of the few spots in Taroko to have level terrain suitable for development. Tianxiang contains two multi-level terraces, one side containing the general recreation area, service station, plum garden, church, youth hostel, Silks Palace Hotel, while across the river and Pudu Bridge is the Xiangde Temple.Tiansiang. Photo credit : Anne Cheong.
We ended the day with our dinner at Hong Ying B&B with their home cooked meal. The food was good and delicious. Good night Taroko. Photo Credit : Anne Cheong.

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