Drizzle, Drizzle, Taroko Gorge
February 10th-12th, 2017
The days of only kindy class in the morning were coming to an end, and Amanda suggested we double our classes one day and take a long weekend. Our destination: Hualien. Amanda booked a cheap hostel and we bought our train tickets. Friday morning, still sleepy from just waking up, we ventured to the other side of the island.
We found our hostel easily, ate lunch, and then rented a scooter. We were going to try for an easy day in Taroko Gorge. First, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center and then walked along the Shakadang Trail. I wouldn’t really call it a hike because it was so easy. It was so cool out, which made the trail even more enjoyable. Afterward, we drove over to the Changchun Shrine, also known as the Eternal Spring Shrine. You cannot walk along the trail, so we just took pictures and then left. The sun was already starting to go down and we didn’t want to start another trail, so we drove back to Hualien. My oh my! The drive was cold.
Back at the hostel we attempted to warm up while we chatted to another hostel guest from Canada. This is bad of me, I know, but when I am staying at a hostel in Taiwan the other guests usually annoy me. They always assume that I am visiting or that I know nothing about Taiwan so they share new found information that isn’t new to me at all. Then when I do tell them I live in Taiwan they make all these assumptions about me. It can be very frustrating when all I want is some peace and quiet. Eventually, Amanda and I walked towards the big night market in Hualien. There was a park full of lights next to it and inside the market there was a ton of food options. Hualien’s Night Market is one of the more enjoyable night markets I have been to. Once we felt like we had walked around enough we went back to the hostel. We briefing stopped to listen to a string orchestra. There a woman gave us our very own lantern. So nice!
The next morning, we ate a traditional Chinese breakfast and then drove out to Taroko. It was even colder than the previous day. It was also drizzling. We started off by walking the Swallow Grotto Trail and then switched to the Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail.
After awhile it starts to look the same, so we turned around, got back on the scooter, and drove to the next trail, Lushui-Heliu Trail. This was a pleasant trail. There were a few groups on it, but barely enough to bother us.
We had a small lunch after this trail and then drove to the Baiyang Waterfall Trail. The nice thing about Taroko is there is only one road that goes through it, so it is very difficult to get lost. BUT, you have to watch out for the signs for trails because you just might miss them. The Baiyang Waterfall Trail was another beautiful, peaceful walk and the waterfall was a wow factor. As you are walking near the end of the trail you hear rushing water, cross a bridge, and then boom there is the waterfall cascading down two different tiers of the mountain. We sat there for awhile, just resting, then walked back to the scooter.
We wanted to make one last stop before we left Taroko, the Wenshan Hot Spring. This hot spring trail is currently blocked off, but everyone ignores the gates and climbs over. I was a little bit scared toward the bottom because the stairs were falling apart. Once we got to the bottom we rolled up our pants and stuck our feet into the hot water. Pure ahhhh moment. The warm water was reviving my cold fingers and toes while the rushing water from the river flowed right next to us. It was so relaxing and needed after a cold day in the park.
My legs were refusing to move with any energy when we finally got up and started putting our shoes back on. It was like they were demanding to stay put. We walked back to the scooter and bundled up as much as we could for the cold drive back to Hualien. We made it back without turning into popsicles and dropped the scooter off at the rental shop.
Later, we went to dinner with my old co-worker and friend, Conor. It was a delicious pizza dinner and good conversation. Conor and I had both been nervous about going home, so it was fun to swap stories and have a chat about that. We invited him to walk around with us the next day and he said yes. Back in the hostel we huddled under our blankets in attempts to warm-up and go to sleep.
In the morning, we ate breakfast and then started walking around with Conor. We started walking along a river path, stopped to wander around a temple, and eventually reached the ocean shore. It was a slow paced kind of afternoon so we stayed there for awhile. After some time our stomachs started telling us that it was time for lunch. Conor showed us to a buffet style restaurant. You pick what you want to eat, weigh it, and pay the amount. It was all delicious and I filled up. Too soon we had to go pick up our bags from the hostel and then head to the train station. We said goodbye to Conor and got on the train.
Our lovely weekend in Hualien had come to an end. I don’t think I will ever get sick of east coast Taiwan. Until next time.