Taiwan is an island off the coast of Asia, shaped, they say, like a sweet potato. (map). The Tropic of Capricorn runs through it about 2/3 of the way south, so the northern part of Taiwan is subtropical and the south in the tropics. A chain of mountains fills the center of Taiwan, high enough and rugged enough that they are quite wild.
On the east (Pacific) side of the island, just north of the middle of Taiwan, Taroko Gorge brings water from the mountains down to the ocean. It is spectacular.
I was back in Taiwan in March 2015 on a tour with China Span led by photographer Keren Su. We drove across Taiwan at Toroko Gorge.
The channel for the water was virtually empty. Imagining the channel full of water--in the rainy season or after a typhoon--was mind-boggling.
The road wound uphill:
Here (below), I am standing on a bridge, looking down at people on the trail below. We did not stop to hike, but clearly there are wonderful opportunities.
Even though Taiwan is subtropical, some plants lose their leaves in the winter. The one above is just leafing out. (Of course I was more interested in the plant than the suspension bridge behind it!)
The Park (Taroko Gorge National Park) insisted that all the visitors borrow a hard hat! In the park I never saw any falling rock that explained their caution. However, earlier in the day, as we waited for construction crews to let us continue along Taiwan's spectacular coast highway, three rocks dropped off the wall above, bouncing on the van and making an ugly dent. I wore the hat the Park issued.
Above, trees are growing in an erosion hole on the opposite wall of the gorge. How did the seeds get there? Is there any soil?
Some places I could look up between the gorge's walls to see the sky.
Here, near the top of the gorge, water was visible below us.
There's never a rock a plant won't climb:
And then we were out of Taroko Gorge, climbing high in the mountains.
Comments and corrections welcome.
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