Taroko Gorge. the pictures I have, truly don't do justice to it. you just don't get the real sense of how massive this place was. you had to crane your neck to see the sky, and the gorge was littered with boulders the size of small houses. the mountains were tall... like Colorado tall. but with the lush greenery of Hawaii. the best way I can think to describe it is a cross between Letchworth State Park [in upstate NY - the "Grand Canyon" of the east] and those floating mountain islands that they fly around in the movie Avatar.
all through the park are statures, temples, and carvings. some are reachable by the main road [though I use the term "road" pretty loosely here] and others you have to hike to get to. a major portion of the trails were closed from typhoon debris, but we managed to visit some incredible places nonetheless.
|the Eternal Spring Shrine - literally built on top of a mountain spring|
|view from the Xiande Buddhist Temple|
|overlooking Taroko Gorge to the east, from the top of the Tianfeng Pagoda|
|we SO wanted to jump in and cool off|
the park is massive. we only drove about 1/3 of the way in, and even with the closed trails had plenty to see. Husband and I want to go back [preferably in the fall when it's not 90F for hiking] and check out some of the rougher trails we missed. they have trails going all the way up the mountains, and more temples and things to discover hidden farther off the beaten track. some trails even go for days... we'll be taking a guide for those.
|matching your pedicure to your hiking sandals is key.|
one last thing - I forgot to charge my camera batteries before leaving. and also forgot to bring my spare battery or my charger with me. so most of my pictures are iPhone. rookie mistake, but one I doubt I will be making again. just one more excuse to go back and explore... until next time, Toroko.