Favorite thing: The trail cuts through some landscape that is quite varied up around Tali. You will go from farmland to dense forest to bamboo thickets, then finally down to a clear mountain river valley.
Careful in the bamboo groves, though, as I'm told that that's where all the friendly Taiwan snakes like to hang out.
Favorite thing: Heading back down hill to the Shakatang river, you will likely need at least a walking stick for support, as the trail is really lousy, steep, and usually muddy... (We were covered with mud by the time when got down to the river...)
There are a few walk-way bridges along this part of the trail that are all but rotted away, so watch your step....
Favorite thing: This sign lists some of God's creatures in these parts that can bite, sting, annoy, irk , irritate, or eat you. These include wild boar, ten different types of poisonous snakes, poisonous bees, and Taiwan sun bears.. (Bears not likely around here..)
Also included for your entertainment are some of the other mishaps that might befall you on this trail, which include: Falling into a deep crevice, a big boulder to the head, swept away by fierce winds from the north, and the like...
Actually the one that concerns me the most (Besides running out of beer, of course) are the bees... They can be quite aggressive...
Monkeys, Monkeys, Monkeys...
Favorite thing: Though I wasn't able to get clear picture this time around, there are definately monkeys up in these here hills...
Shortly after we passed through the village of Tali and went back into thick forest, you could here them up in the trees, shaking branches and shrieking as they are prone to do..
The local monkey here is called a Formosa Rock Monkey, which is similar to a Macaque.
Favorite thing: The local tribe that inhabited the rough terrain of this area was the Atayals... They were famous for three things: (1) Weaving, (2) Facial and body Tattoos and (3) Headhunting...
The picture shown here depicts a local Aboriginal warrior sporting all three fashion trends: The facial tattoo, the nicely woven cherry red blazer, and the matching head trophy.. (the tattoos were historically a awarded for prowess in relieving enemies of their heads...)
Favorite thing: Park at the Taroko Gorge Visitor Center. Walk back down to Highway 9, and follow this road east for about half a KM. You will see two large waterpipes coming down the side of the mountain. Follow the cement stairs up along the side of these waterpipes to the trailhead.
Favorite thing: Finally something to celebrate, a clear water stream with swimming holes which are perfect for cooling off and washing the mud and dirt off from the dusty trail.
If one were to have packed a cigar and/or a couple beers in their backpack, this would be an appropriate time to indulge.
Favorite thing: Very few people living up here these days, though the farming activity was evident.
If you are making a one day hike, its probably best to start thinking of a way back down once you reach Tali. If you are staying overnight or making a multiday hike, the trail continues on to another village called Tatung, and also onward up to the peak of the tallest mountain in this area. (It is probably a three day round trip hike up to there...)
Favorite thing: Tali is the first aboriginal farming town that you will reach once you cross over the first mountain ridge. It is serviced with this make shift cable car system. (Not for tourists, it is used to ferry fuel barrels up the mountains, then to lift the produce back down to the valley floor. )
Would make for a much easier way to get up here, though...
Favorite thing: After starting on the trail which follows the waterpipe stairs, it is about a two hour hike straight up hill...
And for your efforts you are treated to the occasional break in the foliage which allows a view back down into the Liwu river valley....
Favorite thing: Looking up above, it did not look so promising the day that I climbed up here, the peaks had disappeared into the clouds... But my time is valuable, and I didn't have much else to do that day anyway...
As it turned out, it didn't rain, which is good, because the trails are pretty rough... It actually made for an interesting hike to ascend up through the cloud layer to the sunny, blue sky peaks...
Stair Master from Hell...
Favorite thing: The first part of the trail starts out from a couple of water pipes that are located about half a kilometer east of the Taroko Gorge National Park Headquarters.
I don't know how many steps we have here, but there are lots of then. Once the water pipe disappear into the mountain, then you are left on the remnants of old Atayal Tribe tribe trail that switchbacks its way up the steep slope of the mountains...
Favorite thing: Here is the obligatory waterfall shot. (no kenmerk Taiwan page would be complete without one...)
Most of the waterfalls in the Shakatang valley are seasonal, depending on the rainfall...
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