in North East Taiwan
01.16.2008 - 01.16.2008 69 °F
On Wednesday, we headed south from Taipei along the north east coast of Taiwan. Most of the east coast of Taiwan rises up sharply from the Pacific to high mountain ranges. The drive was mostly on curvy, cliff-side roads, but it was so beautiful, that I spent most of the time hanging out the window.
Amazingly bright turquoise water near the shore!
After a small fishing town, we turned inland to take the very old East-West Highway that crosses the island and also leads into the Taroko Gorge. The entire island of Taiwan is formed from the collision of the Phillipine and the Eurasia tectonic plates. This created the high mountain ranges and also formed large deposits of white marble in the mountains. As rain fell and a river eroded the marble over time, the Taroko Gorge formed. It is over 1,000 meters deep, dwarfing people, buses or trucks. As you walk along the pathway through it, you look up to see lush mountain vegetation and down to see white marble cliff faces and boulders. Definitely a humbling and beautiful experience.
You can judge the size of the gorge by looking at the road cutting through the mountain and also the tiny little people near the center of the picture (red and white shirts).
Interesting to see that the water that flowed from the marble was as bright turquoise as the water seen earlier along the coast. What makes water blue or turquoise? Even the omnicient Wikipedia didn't quite fully explain it.
This guardian dog at the entrance of one of the bridges in Taroko Gorge is a product of the extensive white marble in the area.
More pics at Flickr.
We made it all the way to the small town at the end of the gorge area and turned back around to head out to the coast again. Checked into a motel in the city of Hualian and rested up for the next day of the Hsu Family Taiwan Roadtrip!