Saturday, May 6, 2017

Taroko Gorge | Day Two

Lushui trail in Taroko Gorge

Day Two at Taroko Gorge
As on our first day traveling to the national park, we again took the local bus to park HQ. Only this time, we were clever enough to catch the bus from the bus stop outside our guesthouse, which we only realised stopped there the previous day! This would have saved us a taxi ride to the bus station to catch the bus the day before 😆 They say hindsight is 20/20 right?
Anyway, off we went on the local bus, bumping along the road, and stopping off whenever the locals pressed the stop button to get off at their stop. I actually didn't mind taking the local bus to the gorge; it didn't take that much longer than direct transport, and it was still comfortable. Plus the scenery on the way is beautiful.
We started our day at the Lushui Trail, which is close to Tanxiang village, the last stop on the bus. The trail is quite unique, starting out as an easy walk up a set of stairs, and then moving across a rope bridge over a pretty, rocky stream. On our map of the park, there was a guide to each of the trails, and this one was described as a hiking type, rather than a scenic walk, and there was a special warning to bring a flashlight due to there being a 30m long tunnel in the middle of the trail.

Lushui Trail

At the entrance to the 30m long tunnel on Lushui Trail
When we got to the tunnel we were expecting a big, dark, deep tunnel, however, the walk through the tunnel was a bit anticlimactic and we would have been just fine without a flashlight! After walking through the tunnel, we were faced with the stunning view in the pictures below.

The views from the Lushui Trail

This part of the trail runs parallel to the highway, and the Liwu River. We were basically walking on the side of a steep rocky cliff, with nothing but the road below us, and a fence between it. It may have seemed scary, but I still felt quite safe.

inside the forested trail

In many parts of the Taroko Gorge, there are signs warning walkers on the trails "Beware of rockfalls!" and "Do not linger!". Again, this isn't the most comforting thing to see while you're trying to have a leisurely walk 🙈 but I never felt unsafe on any of the walks that we did. The area is very prone to landslides, which is why there are so many warnings, but thankfully there are also many safe areas where you can stop and linger. You definitely wouldn't want to stop and have a picnic under one of those signs!

Rope bridge near Lushui trail

Don't look down!

At the end of the Lushui trail there is a campground, and close to that is a pagoda, and a suspension rope bridge, above the Liwu River. This was one of the scariest rope bridges that we went on, because you can just see the river rushing past beneath you. I didn't even walk all the way across it! Just stopped in the middle to pose for a picture haha! Luckily Charlotte was sleeping in the carrier so she couldn't try to squirm out!
Walking back along the trail

Start of the Baiyang Trail

Entrance to Baiyang Waterfall trail

The roped off edge of the trail

After walking the Lushui trail, we stopped at a picnic table and ate our lunch, and then we caught the bus to Tanxiang village. This is the last stop on the bus before it loops back around to Hualien. From Tanxiang we walked up the road past the village, and headed for the Baiyang Waterfall Trail. The trail is very scenic and beautiful. It begins with a long, dark tunnel, this one we actually did need a flashlight for!
The trail runs along the river, next to jagged rocks and mountains carpeted in verdant trees. I felt like I was walking in a scene of some fantastic adventure film, so unique was this landscape to me. It is truly breathtaking.

Baiyang Waterfall

Rope bridge at Baiyang Waterfall

At the waterfall, there is another rope suspension bridge to cross over to a lookout. I must say it was a pretty cool bridge, but in my opinion, they should definitely make the netting on the sides higher! Haha
Walking back along the trail
After stopping to take some pictures at the waterfall, we started walking back to Tanxiang so that we could catch the last back of the day back to Hualien. The last bus runs pretty early, around 5pm I think, so it didn't give us much time to get back to the bus stop after our walk. Luckily we made it back just in time.

The view from Tanxiang
When we got back to Hualien, we decided to walk from the bus station to a local restaurant that we had seen in town, which was always full of people whenever we had walked past there. This restaurant is a very simple restaurant, maybe only seven tables, and packed full of steamers, containing the most delicious dumplings. They only make two kinds, pork bun dumplings, and another pork and cabbage type of ravioli dumpling. They were so tasty, especially after a long day of walking. The best part is, I think we only paid about US$1 for about 10 dumplings!

Thanks for reading,
Hannah xx

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