Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Return to Taiwan Tour 2011 - On the Bus - Day 3

After a comfortable night in our Hualien hotel, we were up early.  We're staying another night, so no need to pack suitcases today. 

Into the elevator and down to the first floor, around the corner and walked down the steps to the basement dining room.  The hotel only serves Breakfast for guests.  The hotel is relatively new and the dining room was spotless.  The wait folks were extra helpful.  I had eggs cooked to order.  Everyone had their fill of good food, which was served in a serve yourself cafeteria style.

We met at the front door sometime around 8:00 AM and were soon on our way, passing through the downtown area of Hualien.  The streets were not crowded with traffic, which was a surprise.

We drove northward toward the Taroko Gorge National Park Headquarters, stopping along the way for photos.

 The old entrance road to Taroko Gorge on Highway 8.  
The new road is across the river on the right.

 We're back in the bus, heading across the river on this bridge toward the Park Headquarters and the new road upward toward Taroko Gorge.

We spent about an hour in the Park Headquarters main building, looking around at the photographs and displays, and did some time shopping...  I even got myself a Bush Hat from one of the shops.  Everyone told me it looked good on me, hummm.  That rain started again, everyone walked quickly toward our bus, our driver was wonderful, first class service for the tour.  Here he holds the door for Ann and Twan.  I took this photo, notice the rain drops that have landed on the lens of my camera.  Everyone loads up,. we're off to some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see.. Taroko Gorge.. 

We traveled up the river, turning off here on the old road, stopping for the first time to take photos.
This old road is one-way along here.A few hundred yards up this road, you return to two-way traffic and a newer road.

I guess the first thing to understand when you look at these photographs of Taroko Gorge is, these original roads were built by hand out of solid rock, constructed by military men who had followed Chiang Ki-shek to Taiwan from China.

As we traveled upward along the river, around every corner, I was amazed over and over at the sheer beauty of the area.  Things along the river are so enormous in size, it becomes difficult to comprehend what you are seeing with your eyes.   Yes, it is difficult.....

Take you time looking over these photos, try to figure out how large the stones are, the size of the river bed in relation to the walls of the river.  Take you time.  Once in awhile you will see a photo that will bring your thoughts and understanding to a explanation point and a whisper of Damn or Gosh! 

Looking out the bus window, tunnel coming up, the river flows below. 
You began to get a feel for the size of everything.

It's raining, look where we'll be driving ahead, and a red bridge can be seen up the road.

 Cihmu Bridge, where two rivers meet.  One runs from center, the other comes in from the right.

I turned to the rear and took this photo.  Notice the closeness of the road to the mountain side and the river.

Here, the river flows through the white marble.

You begin to get a feel for the size of these rocks.  
Take a look at the rocks laying out in front here. 
Big huh?

This marker describes the rivers that meet under the bridge.

How can you describe these photographs?  Beyond words.....

We've been here quite awhile, it's starting to rain again, our bus is waiting, time to head across the bridge to our bus.  I need a drink of water and a rest, my knee is beginning to act up.

How about a couple of these for souvenirs?  
These boulders are large, but up ahead, larger ones.

Thought I was joking huh?  These babies would cover the tunnel entrance with room to spare.

We're just about at our destination, Tianxiang, it's just around the corner.

I want to post as many of these beautiful photos as I can.  This drive up Taroko Gorge was so inspiring.  It brought me to thoughts I seldom tarry on.  How everything in these canyons came into being, how long it took.  

Who could imagine white marble canyons with fresh blue water flowing along them.  Too much to take in at one time for me.  

I had seen these canyons two years ago, but this time, they were overwhelming, maybe being older has something to do with it.

Tomorrow, we will continue with our Trip Report for Day 3.  Lots more from Taroko Gorge.

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