Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hualien, Taroko Gorge and Liyu Lake

I caught a train to Hualien. The train was a high-speed train so took about 2 hours to get to Hualien. The main reason I had come to Hualien was to visit the Taroko Gorge about 15K from Hualien and the top tourist site in Taiwan. I was not sure how I was going to get there but when checking into a hotel they had a tour for 700 Taiwan Dollars or about 15 euros so I signed up. The gorge was really pretty and the tour worked out really well. Here is one of the pictures of the gorge that I took.



I had booked the hotel for 2 days and had thought I might go back to the gorge and do one of the hikes but decide to go to Liyu Lake instead. I caught a bus and the driver made sure that I got off at the lake. I had planned on doing a bike ride around the lake but did not see a place to rent a bike so started walking around the lake. It turns out the bike rental place was at the other end of the lake and if I would have walked in the other direction around the lake I would have found it but enjoyed the walk/hike instead and feel like I got my exercise for the day. I only walk a sort distance and found a sign with a map of trails. I ended up walking the picnic, bird watching, overview and health trails. I started on the picnic trail and when I came to the bird watching trail figured with a name like that it would not be difficult. I was wrong. The trail was a bunch of steps that went up to about the top of the mountain. I thought a number of times about turning around but kept thinking I have to be close to the top. It took me a few hours to walk to the top. Here is a picture from the other side of the lake and I reached the observations deck on the hill in the center the highest point in the picture.



The walk was a lot of work but the highlight was the butterflies along the way. I think I saw about 10 to 12 different types of butterflies while walking. Some of them are really striking and my favorite was the black one with white and red at the bottom of their wings. I have since read that there are 400 different spices of butterflies in Taiwan so I only have about 390 more to see. I did not get a picture of my favorite but here are a couple that I did get.

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