Saturday, July 6, 2013


Outdoorsy day today! Absolutely love these days, when we can explore Taiwan's unique landscape, scenes you can't really see anywhere else. So today we spent the day in Taroko National Park!
After a quick video introduction to the national park, we headed out for Shakadang Trail. The trail was super cool! It followed the river, which had a very strong looking current that smashed into all of the big boulders/rock formations, making the water so dynamic!  I had to watch my head though, curse my tallness... because the trail kind of cut into the side of the cliff, so the top of the rocks were directly overhead. I think they made the height of the rock ceiling specifically for people who live here; I tower over a lot of people wherever we go. Haha I kind of poke my head out of the crowds when we are walking around the street :) But anyways we came to a spot where it was easier to climb down to the water's edge. The water is so crystal clear, very light/robin's egg blue.  We weren't technically allowed to go into the water... but breaking the rules with Jack's (our program coordinator) permission, I guess was alright! Everyone took off their sneakers and dipped their toes and feet into the current. Many boulders lined the water's edge so many of us tried climbing them  The water was cold at first!, but soooo nice! We were all in our regular clothes (swimsuits weren't allowed in the park, to discourage swimming haha), but Jessica and Me desperately wanted to dunk our heads into the water and actually swim! So we fell back into the water and more people joined in; including Kim, Randy and Kylee! We swam (actually crawled in the shallow water) up a little ways so then we could plop down in the water and let the current take us down the river to our group's "camp".  Jessica and I actually tried the 'flip your hair' approach in order to get a funky picture. It was so chill by the water's edge, I keep forgetting this is me earning college credits, but I'm sure once our small group project/research time comes along it will be more serious.
Our next adventure was to travel to the Swallow Grotto and Nine Turn Trails (still in Taroko Park). For this trail, we all needed to wear helmets, just incase of falling rocks. We ventured into many tunnels, but the tunnels weren't very secluded and all "nature" because there was a road that cut through the tunnel as well, so the occasional car went by. But throughout the tunnel, there were many cut outs, where we could see the outside, which looked out onto literally a vertical cliff which had many holes and nooks on the side. Because it was raining the creatures that usually are active and inhabit these were no where to be seen, but Jack said that the swallow birds usually are seen swooping all around here. It was neat to explore these areas, and see the shear cliffs and mountain formations, pictures you absolutely don't see in Indiana! 
At the end of the day we finally checked into our home for the night, the Tienhsiang Youth Center. What was really cool was that once we set all our luggage down in our rooms and looked outside for the view, two little monkeys were playing in the trees right outside our window! They were just enjoying the little drizzle, and jumping from branch to branch.
The trail was right along the edge; made for some awesome pictures

Me and Kevin enjoying the water!

I just loved the unique rocks that were throughout the area!
The rest of the pics are from the Swallow Grotto and Nine Turn Trails!

The cliffs were sooooooo steep!

Kim and I showing off the fashionable helmets. Poor Hulda whose helmet fell over the cliff when she bent over the railing to look...

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