Monday, May 30, 2011

The Home of the Sea Cloud from Taroko Gorge to Dayuling

After having a relaxing vacation in the beautiful city of Haulien, it's time for us to head back to our sweet home--Taichung. It was unusual to still have snow in the early April in Taiwan. The weather station broadcasted the temperature would be dropped with high chance of rain. It could possibly have snow in the mountain or landslide on the coast highway. It was a dispute in choosing a safe highway to drive back home between my husband and me. I was afraid of driving on the coast highway from Hualien to Suao due to the massive landslide which washed out the road and tour buses last year. Finally, we agreed to take the mountain highway, so called Highway 8 and 14, back to Taichung. Before we entered the highway, we stopped by the Taroko National Park Headquarter for information on the highway condition. We were lucky that there was no snow in the mountain.

It is a challenge for drivers to drive on highway 8 due to its curvy, narrow, cliffs, drop offs, and sometimes foggy conditions. Most time I had to watch the traffic coming from the opposite direction on the mirrors on the corners for my husband. When we drove to this lookout point from the park headquarter, we spent almost 45 minutes in the winding and foggy road and also elevated from 75m to 767m high.

From the high altitude viewing Tienshiung Village on the highway

Looking back at the foggy road which was less than 3 meter visibility, it became clear and surrounded by the clouds.

We were amazed by the view which is around 2,500 meter high. Swallows flew above the cloud, the cloud turned into sea, and the mountains became islands. Who would think we just passed through the sea of clouds. It was a scary drive until now. The late snow in the season has decorated Chilai Mountain.

    Looking forward is Hohaun Mountain which offers fantastic views in each season. It is also the easiest spot for people to reach and enjoy playing with snow in Taiwan. It is the highest and the most beautiful highway in Taiwan.

    Where were those swallows? Our car engine has scared those swallows away. Only a few flew and played with the clouds.

    The clouds has gradually rolled over from the east to the west. It was just like sea wave going over the cliffs and roaming in the moutain range.

    It was around 11 AM. I couldn't image how gorgeous it would be when the sun comes up or goes down.

    Not only the sea of clouds attracted people but also the abundant ecological wildlife draws people attention. We drove on this highway many time each year. This was the first time that we stopped here. There were many hikers who took a rest and cooked their lunch. I was attracked by the sounds of birds. I followed the sounds and found a couple of the white-naped yuhina. They were jumping around and having their lunch. I was a stranger to them and disturded their lunch. I couldn't help to take out my digital recoder to record their uniqe conversation.

    Tracing a different sound from yuhina, I entered the pine forest. I looked up but couldn't find any birds. I only heard their sounds. Meanwhile the sun was shining through the pine needles. It penatrated the forest and enriched the wildlife with its energy. I couldn't resist to take the picture to illustrate its relationship with the nature. I fell in love with the sounds of the birds and the wind blowing through the trees and the sunshine on the pine needles.

    This was a uniqe scenery that I have never seen in Taiwan before. In order to see the beautiful scenery, you must be here at the right time, the right place, and the right companions.

Special thanks to my husband for taking me and my girlfriend who came back to Taiwan after 9 years staying in the States. We couldn't enjoy the beautiful scenery without him being our taxi driver.

This place is located on the mark 123k of the highway 8 and the elevation is around 2,500 meter.

I will have more articles on the most beautiful scenic drive (highway 14 and highway 8) in the future.

1 comment:

  1. There are also some historical trails along Highway 8. A famous historical trail nearby is called Hohuan Yue Lin Gu Dao. It was built by Japanese during its occupation of Taiwan between 1895 to 1945 for traveling between East and West and also for controlling the aborigines. If you are a outdoor person, you will love this highway.


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