|our friendly Tour Guide and the Husband|
|Looking down on the river from the Swallow Grotto trail|
|(Notice the people top left to give you an idea of the scale)|
Looking out from the Swallow Grotto Trail
The Swallow Grotto trail is named for it's winding pathway through mountainside caves where swallow's have long laid their nests. Unfortunately, over time, the swallow population here has dwindled but we did still see a few. The swallows that we did see are probably flying around in these photos somewhere - just tiny specs against the engulfing background of the rocks...
After the Swallow Grotto trail we headed back towards the hotel and hunted down some fried rice from a local street vendor across the way. Aside from the angry Chinese woman who seemed pretty lit that we couldn't speak Chinese (darn foreigners!) the rice was pretty good. :) Full and happy, we decided to venture out for a bit more hiking on our own. We started up the mouth of the Siangde Temple Trail, located just next to the Silks Place Hotel.
|Tianfeng Pagoda, Siangde Temple Trail|
|Looking down from the top of the pagoda, river below!|
The last trail had the most sights along the way and ended at Siangde Temple. I think we both had fun climbing up the double-helix stairs of the pagoda and admiring the views from the different points along the trail. It was well worth the hike and a great way to end our day. A few pictures taken along the way...
|Siangde Temple gardens|
|Siangde Temple, Taroko Gorge|
The most reputable trail, the Tunnel of Nine Turns - the one I was really looking forward to! - was actually closed during our visit due to a recent rock slide. We're told that falling rocks are common within the gorge, and certain trails actually require permits and for hikers to wear helmets. For the inexperienced like us though... we would never make it! Ha. I say this in jest only because it doesn't take long before I stop for a breather ;) Even still, I love that Taiwan is so scenic with so many beautiful new places to enjoy!