Tag Archives: Hualien

Thou Wall, O Wall, O Sweet and Lovely Wall

DSC01045In our travels we often notice tour buses parked in some remote parking lot where tired, native inhabitants indulge tourists with a staged performance. It may be entertaining, but it’s not the kind of authentic experience we enjoy. (Being served up by cannibals would be authentic, but that’s not in our travel plans.)

Taiwan has an aboriginal population that is treated by their government in pretty much the same way as Native Americans.

In Taiwan, we tried to find someone who could introduce us to the aboriginal community. We weren’t sure whether what we were looking for even existed because we couldn’t give it a name ourselves. Through another one of those round-about random associations that we seem to make, we met Sananda who worked in an aboriginal farm community.DSC00844

Sananda teaches natural building skills and has been involved in all things natural and permaculture around the world.  She invited us to a conference on natural building methods in Hualien. When they heard about our Burning Man experiences, they asked us to make a presentation at their conference. We spent five minutes describing and promoting the concept of Leave No Trace.

During that week, we got our hands dirty helping Sananda and her friends to finish a wall they had built using renewable materials including coconut fiber, limestone and horse manure!

Sananda and her boyfriend A-jen knew all the local river tracing paths and took us to a waterfall in the mountains where we cooled off in a refreshing mountain spring. We also visited a Japanese logging village that had been preserved as a heritage site from a time past when they had invaded the island.

And the last of the Taiwan photos are in this gallery:


Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

DSC00793The majesty of Taroko Gorge is impossible to capture in photographs. That doesn’t stop anyone from trying, of course. Its name by the indigenous tribe that lived in those mountains, the Truku people, means “magnificent and beautiful.” It truly is.

We went to get trail maps the first afternoon and were swamped by bus loads of Chinese tourists at Swallow Grotto. We decided that the best strategy was to start early in the morning before the buses arrived.

DSC00814There are many interesting natural features and trails in the park. The suspension footbridge here leads to a trail that requires a backwoods permit. It’s a hike we’d love to do when we return to Taiwan.

When we started very early, we were  able to take undisturbed pictures at the Baiyang water curtain. Originally part of a now defunct project to develop hydroelectric power, the tunnel has a water wall created by the spring that cracked the roof. We’re sure glad we had our dollar store raincoats with us.

DSC00945One cannot help but feel awed and humble by the triple water falls descending from the sky, or by the Temple of the Eternal Spring built into the side of a cliff over flowing water.