Taiwan,  Page 2


Looking down into Toroko Gorge.



The next morning, after touring the servicemen's farm, we started our descent out of the highest mountains and followed the Cross Island Highway down into Toroko Gorge.  

Years ago, in geology class, I learned that the energy of a river may be measured by the size of the boulders that it carries; sand and pebbles suggest low energy, bigger rocks, more energy, and so on.  The combination of very tall mountains, lots of rain, and a very short distance to sea level, spells a model for very high energy.  The Toroko Gorge, a deep valley which flows out of the highest mountains and empties about 40 miles later into the Pacific Ocean, is a place where this energy is clearly evident.

What makes the Toroko Gorge spectacular is that much of the rock is marble, and the forceful scouring of this canyon has left smooth colorful formations of surprising size.

One of many tunnels on the Cross Island Highway.  The attractive saw grass, seen at the bottom of this picture, is guaranteed to leave nasty razor cuts on anyone who walks through it.

One of several shrines along Toroko Gorge.


The marble walls of the Gorge.

The scouring and smooth surfaces are evident.

The Eternal Spring Shrine honors the 450 men who lost their lives making the Cross Island Highway.

Big Rocks.

A marble store near the mouth of the Toroko Gorge.

Our trip took us south through the sizeable city of Hua Lien, and down the eastern plain to the city of Tai Dung.  This narrow eastern plain it nestled between the towering mountains to the west, and the Pacific Ocean to the east.  It is fertile and covered in fields of sugar cane, rice paddies, beetle nut palms, and fruit orchards.  Sweet custard apples were in season, and the mangos were ripening.  The East Coast is far less industrial than Taiwan's western side, and is more reminiscent of  Taiwan years ago.  After a night in a hotel in Tai Dung, we crossed the South Cross Island Highway over much smaller mountains, and took Taiwan's new toll road, Hwy 3, back north to Taichung.  After a day in Taichung for business reasons, we returned south to the small port town of Dong Gang for our exploration of Little Okinawa Island.  That story is on the next page.

Sampling Rift Valley Tea in their outlet shop south of Hua Lien.

At one tenth the price of Da Yue 'Ling 105, this tea is still considered excellent.




PAGE 3: Little Okinawa Island

Don Webster email:  websterdr@yahoo.com

Don's Home Page:  www.jali.net