Walking in the Wind – Taiwan Trip #11

March 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in itchy backside | 2 Comments
Tags: , ,

After a heavy breakfast, Itchyfingers headed downhill again…this time we aimed to explore further beyond the Lyushui Trail, hoping to visit the Tunnel of Nine Turns and if possible the Swallow Grotto.

But the weather today was even colder than yesterday. Actually on the second day when we reached Taipei, the news reported that a sudden surge of cold spell would arrive in Taiwan for about a week. Temperature dropped to about 6 degrees in the early morning and in Yushan (Mt Jade) it was -13 degrees! We weren’t prepared for temperatures to be less than 10 degrees so our warm clothings were barely sufficient, but didn’t want to get new ones cos they would take up so much space in the luggage back home. We ended up layering and walking around the 8 degree Taipei city….luckily most of the time we found ourselves indoor or travelling. But things were different when we were in the nature. The hostel put up forecast report saying it would be around 12 – 14 degrees, but walking down the slope it felt colder with the cold wind blowing into your face.

Passing the Lyushui Geological Information Centre near the Lyushui Trail as planned in about 45 minutes from Tiansiang, we next passed a campsite before seeing this pavilion with a suspension bridge some distance away…

bridge3
Pavilion next to the bridge…

bridge4
Walking closer…oooo…this bridge looked long…

steps
We walked up from here to get to the pavilion

This is the Yue Fei Pavilion, named after the folk hero of ancient China. 

sign7
The bridge allowed up to eight person at a time, as compared to five person
on the
shorter bridge we crossed yesterday

bridge1
Excitedly, Tisu Boy walked over….hands free….

rock2
and took views from the bridge…

rocks
A closer view…

But when he turned over, he found…

coward 
Tisu Girl the coward still at the start of the bridge….:O

In the end I only managed to walk about a third of the bridge…no point walking all the way, since Tisu Boy walked to the end and said there was no access to the opposite side for some reasons…(er…excuses…)  

It was only later when I reviewed the picture of the signage that I realised that the bridge leads to one of the park’s Ecological Protection Area. It was supposed to be closed to general access and could be dangerous….:O A permit is needed to enter the (Ecological Protection) area. But this information was only conveyed in English. The Chinese write up did not say anything about no access or dangerous to cross…A bit confusing…We also saw a group of two girls and one guy who came in car walking up the bridge before we left.

We were wondering why were we the only people walking when finally we saw a car and a bus stopped at the side. I think not many people would choose to walk cos the place was quite big. Most people would do a day trip driving up or take a cab from Hualien to Taroko National Park and return to their accommodation at Hualien. Others would come in chartered bus or in their tourist buses. 

So when we saw the people stopping, we knew that would be one of the scenic spots our cab driver told us on our way up to Tiansiang. 

bridge2
The Chimu Bridge 慈母桥, a H-Shape hanging bridge with marble stone lions
on each end. We thought the red bridge was quite ugly :p

A middle age lady among the group saw Tisu Boy with his SLR camera and decided to ask him to help take photos. But she soon got so carried away that she wanted to pose at so many places…:p Should have taken a picture of that…hahaha… 😀

The other tourists talking among themselves said the tour guide told them to look out for the ‘frog’ under the pavilion. So I also popped my head towards where they were looking. True enough, the rock beneath the bridge indeed looked like a frog. I dunnu why I didn’t take the photo at that better angle…this was the only picture showing the partial frog-like rock… 😦

frog
The frog-like rock is composed of black layer of schist at the top and white
marble at the bottom. A pavilion was built on this frog rock, becoming the crown
on the frog. This was built by former President Chiang Jing-guo, in memory of
his mother, during construction of the road.

quake
These rocks were a result of an earthquake

bus1
We were secretly hoping the bus driver would offer us a ride since there were
barely ten person taking it…well…fat hope…Bye-bye bus…
:O 

rd1
Itchyfingers had a long long way to go….😮

face
Can you see a face on the middle stone? :p

cliff1
Growing on a cliff wall…

It was another 2.2km walk before we finally reached the Tunnel of Nine Turns (Jiucyudong洞). According to the sign, “The marbles here orginated from organic reefs 250 million years ago. These reefs were located at the continental shelf along the southeastern sea of mainland China. About 90 million years ago, the paleo-Pacific Plate collided with the Eurasia Plate, causing the reefs to be buried deep under the sea. The rocks underwent metarmophism to become marble. About 6 million years ago, the marble layers were forced up by the Philippine Sea Plate and Eurasia Plate collision. Liwu River cuts down at the rocks to form the impressive Jiucyudong Gorge as we see it today. In the proces of surfacing, the marble buried deep under the rock layers developed joints when pressure was released. These structures with well-developed joints tend to give way to falling rocks due to constant erosion and earthquakes.”

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Big pile of rock debris warning visitors there were indeed rockfalls here

jiuqudong
There weren’t actually nine turns in this area, rather the number nine simply
stands for “many”. So we saw many tunnels along the winding road 

jiuqudong2
Just next to this tunnel there were some ugly red inscriptions…one famous
General was so impressed by the place that he wrote this poem: “with twists
like entrails, winding like a river, people have conquered the heavens, here
we have splendor!” It was so windy that even hiding inside the tunnel didn’t help…

words
More ugly inscriptions…”Coiled dragons of the nine turns”…Why isn’t 
this considered vandalism on nature?

fish1
Er….these people are very imaginative…could see leaping fish…

fish
So Itchyfingers also took the same angle and tried to imagine the leaping fish….

We were looking very hard for the place where you were supposed to look up and be able to see only a thin line of blue sky as the distance between the tall, steep cliffs alongside the gorge was quite narrow. But couldn’t figure out where…:( No sign around also. 😦

trees1
Survivors…

texture
Interesting textures

We met many visitors along the way here…one was shocked to learn that we walked all the way down…we walked more than 5 km to the Tunnel of Nine Turns. :p It was a bit tiring and very cold, but if we were to take transport we might miss some of the interesting birds along the way…Looking at the time, we thought we would give the Swallow Grotto a miss, as we didn’t want to miss the afternoon bus back to Hualien. Instead, we would explore other trails near the town.

So it would be another few kilometres walk back to town…so cold….:O

back
Half way back at the Chimu Bridge…

We were exhausted when we finally reached Tiansiang that we didn’t want to walk up the slope to the hostel for the better food and had a simple lunch at the town. To our surprise, there was really this aboriginal rice wine on sale…

malasun
Ma La Sun! The wine in the movie Cape No. 7! Wow…the same packaging! 😀

Also see related posts:
> A Walk Along the Cliff – Taiwan Trip #10
Away From the Concrete Jungle – Taiwan Trip #9
Shit Happens – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #8
Gorilla in the Mist – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #7
It’s a Cat! No! It’s a Bear! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #6
Wow Cow! Holy Cow! So Many Cows! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #5
Gong Xi Fa Cai! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #4
Holy Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #3
Wow Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #2
Buy One Get One Free! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #1 

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2 Comments »

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  1. Went there recently, and took pretty much the same path.
    Similar trip, different experience.

    Enjoyed seeing your journey through your pics, and write up.
    Interesting stuff! 🙂

    • Thank you! It was a nice place to visit!


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