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Fresh, Local Nature at the Taroko National Park in Taiwan

One might not immediately think of Taiwan, a small island in the Pacific, as a site of massive, awe-inspiring forms of nature. However, Taroko National Park shows us the natural beauty of Taiwan.

The name “Taroko” derives from the original name “Truku,” which is the name of the indigenous tribe on the island. “Truku” in the Truku language means “human being,” but the sights at Taroko National Park surpass what human beings could ever be capable of creating.

Taroko Park’s famous gorge, known by its nickname as “Marble Gorge,” features an abundant supplies of marble that once began 200 million years ago as sediment beneath the sea. Over time, the LiWu River carved a path through the marble, forming massive elevated cliffs of marble above a flowing river.

Now, visitors can walk through the Swallow Grotto, a cool and breezy part of the gorge beneath the cliffs and caves. Following a trail, and equipped with free safety helmets in case of a falling rock, visitors can see the rush of the river and the harmony of animals. Animals, such as the titular swallows, which build nests within potholes on the surfaces of the high cliffs, are abundant here.

Alternatively, visitors can take the Baiyang Trail, which guides them through seven tunnels. Each tunnel goes through the massive green mountains along the trail and finally ends at the Water Curtain Cave. About 100 meters long and notable for cracks along the ceiling where fresh water pours down, the Water Curtain Cave is an ethereal sight. Visitors explore inside wearing ponchos or rain coats, but the point of the cave is to get soaked by the clean, cool water coming from above.

Between some of the mountains lie long suspension bridges, narrow and light enough for pedestrians, stretching over rivers and above rocks. Breathtaking and a little terrifying, the suspension bridges add character and perspective to any visitors’ hike.

Taroko National Park also features wild hot springs beneath the valley, known as the Wenshan Hot Springs. The springs are a secluded and peaceful area to soak and destress. Like the locals, visitors can swim in the cold river for a few minutes before returning to the relaxing hot springs.

Finally, visitors to Taroko National Park can hike up to LiWu Mountain to watch the sunrise in the early morning. 1,000 meters high and just beside the Pacific Ocean, the mountain offers a beautiful vantage point to watch the sunrise. As the sun rises above the ocean, and reflects its surreal yellow glow, visitors can watch as the light gradually illuminates all the beautiful nature that there is to see here.

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