You may have seen or walked through Taroko Gorge in Hualien and been enthralled by its beauty. On a clear day, you may have even heard loud laughter as three or four Taroko Aboriginal tribal youths swam in a stream winding along the trail you were hiking.
This is a common experience for those who have visited this magnificent natural wonder of the world. However, stream-tracing -- hiking up a riverbed to its origin -- at Taroko Gorge is something only a lucky few have been able to do up to this point.
It's now summer, however, and the Taroko National Park Administration Center (
"Adventure-seeking tourists may register with the Grand Formosa Taroko Resort Hotel one day ahead of time, and they will be led by qualified coaches and local guides with the proper gear to enjoy the daring experience," said Grand Formosa Taroko's supervisor Sandy Wang (
Different river-tracing packages are available, with a price of about NT$800 per person for a half-day tour covering around 2km of the waterway.
Indisputably, the Shakadang (or Skadang) Stream (
As Lee Yen-jung (
Shakadang Stream is a branch of the Liwu River (
The Japanese in the old days chiseled a 1m-wide walkway on one side of the Shakadang river valley in order to build a dam upstream of the river. The track, now popularly known as the Shakadang Walkway (
The entrances to the walkway and the river bed are located at opposite ends of a bridge decorated with 100 small marble lions. The Shakadang Bridge, or Hundred-Lions Bridge, links up two curving tunnels on Provincial Route 8. From one of the bridge ends, you have to take a steep stairway down about six stories to reach the river and walkway.
If you are not a fan of water sports, you may simply hike along the walkway to observe your family members or friends struggling up the stream about 20m to 30m below the trail. A pair of binoculars would come in handy if you'd like to witness their facial expressions and to share the moments of excitement once a difficult barrier is overcome by the stream-tracers.
The most fascinating section of Shakadang Stream is about 1km away from the entrance. This beautiful section is banked by lofty marble walls on both sides, and the atmosphere has a dream-like feeling.