I was a little hesitant when I first looked at pictures and videos of this old trail. It looked kinda scary and long and some other pictures of Taroko Gorge’s many trails looked more appealing. Thankfully I changed my mind and my hubby researched and thought of doing this. If you are thinking about where to hike, PLEASE. Just go for this Zhuilu old trail if you have a day of time. It needs prior application of permit as they only let in 50 pax a day. It is best to contact a local guide (see Day 1 post for an option), as you would need a local Taiwanese as the contact point and get through the paperwork.
The hike is listed as difficult and to last for 7 hours. The encouraging thing is, I am not a super experienced hiker but it is do-able and under 7 hours. There are some difficult points of ropes and ladders and cliff hanging stuff but if you are careful, it is ok. The views are worth the effort. Every single bit of it. I am glad we did this and we really want to go again and this time to sit and just soak in the glorious views and silence of the mountains and wind.
We had to seriously resist taking pictures at every turn because it was so beautiful. A couple of other hikers soon went way ahead and we were rewarded with the quietness of enjoying the hike by ourselves.
There was just too much epic-ness in the air:
We were walking into a painting:
With some epic cliff drops:
And the perfect place to meditate:
No pictures can compensate for being there yourself. To feel the wind. To see the vastness. To see the drops. To feel the sense of anticipation. The sense of surprise. The sense of overcoming.
We really loved the cycling. So we asked Rihang if he could leave our bikes at the end of the trail so that we can cycle the remaining stretch back. Though our legs were killing us by then, being on the bikes brought a new wave of energy and it was literally a breeze coming down the mountains. This is what life is about. Seizing each opportunity as they come.
We closed the day with an all-you-can-eat steamboat buffet. Life is good…!