There are many bicycle routes in and around Hualien that will allow you to discover beautiful vistas of the East Coast but also countryside neighbourhoods, hiking trails, and waterfalls.
It’s also about an indigenous tribe and its very own peculiar culture, it’s about a nuclear waste facility that’s disturbing the landscape as well as the heart of its inhabitants. It’s about politics and history, about people and rocks and the sea.
There are several warning signs along the way about the Black Bears of Taiwan (as well as snakes, wasps, leeches and rock slides) and it’s starting to get on my nerves all those stories about deadly animals, to the point where I completely overreact and jump with fear at the sight of… a bird flying away. So long for my cold sweat followed by my laughter.
When I travelled down from Taipei to Hualien, my main reason was that I really wanted more nature, more crazy-wild sceneries and let’s face it: I was craving to go hiking again. I guess this is why I fell in love with Taroko (and the whole Hualien County) right away.
I knew the rock formations I came here to see were there, on the other side of the road. By the sea. But there was a path just here, leading to the mountains. I couldn’t help but follow it. It was a bit muddy and slippery and started to get narrower and narrower as I walked into the jungle. The butterflies and dragonflies were dancing all around me, in a festival of colours.
Except that Taranaki’s shitty weather seems to be around here too. First snows have fallen, and even if the hike is doable, the conditions look really bad. And the fog, the rain are ruining the views. Not to mention that… the Ruapehu volcano is slowly awakening!