We’ve been going nonstop here in Yilan County. Even though I only arrived here tuesday, I feel as though I’ve been here for ages, although not yet in terms of knowing my way around and how to deal with things. That will come with time.
Adam, who had been here a week before most of us, suggested we take a hike to the Wufongci Waterfall about 20 minutes away from our city by taxi. (If you are unfamiliar, click through the link and you can get to the website!) He had posted pictures of this before we all got there, and I don’t think I was the only one hoping we’d have the chance to visit as a group before the weather turned colder and rainy.
Rising at my normal ungodly hour with my neighbors the roosters, I took my usual cold shower and donned a bathing suit and athletic shorts, packed a plastic bag with my phone, keys, and a small towel (which ended up being unused) and placed that all in my travel pack along with what I had left of water in my water bottle. Water here is so much more difficult to come by; you can’t just get it out of your tap. More on that in another post.
Around 10 we hailed a cab and headed out through the peripheries of Yilan City into Jiaoxi, where the waterfall park/area is. Apparently it is quite the hot spot for tourists, not only waiguoren (foreigners) but also for Taiwanese. (Fun fact: Until recently, Yilan was cut off from Taipei and therefore much of the west coast by foreboding mountains that barred much tourism to the area. In the 2000s, the third longest tunnel in the world was built through the mountains, making Yilan accessible by 1 hour bus ride from Taipei!)
**disclaimer. I am going to use some of my wonderful flatmate Michael’s photographs here because I did not bring my camera along. I feel that my bad luck may have caused it to fall into the water and I would never be able to deal with that.
I am honestly not sure why these photos are coming out so stretched. As soon as I figure this out, you all might think I can actually keep a decent blog.
The hike was 90% uphill, and at first I felt quite zealous about the whole thing, jauntily stepping along with the front of the group, inspecting strange flora and fauna (ample opportunities for that here!) About what turned out to be one minute from the end, I decided my legs were tired and I started going more slowly. I”d just run out of steam. Eventually, we reached one area that we realised was above the falls we were aiming to reach. Backtracking, we soon found the first swimming hole.
Many people jumped in, and we made our way up the river to this:
I have never seen a waterfall like this, and wasted no time in wading into the water. After a long hike I was pretty hot.
Thanks to my friend and current flat mate, Michael for all the photos. He was the only one who brought his camera up here, and I think he really captured the mood. We’re all having a blast!
After floating about in the water for quite some time, we climbed out and around the rocks to head back down the trail. I’d been careful, wearing my Keen sandals and climbing like a monkey over the rocks, so what happened next caught me completely off guard. Climbing up a somewhat slippery rock to take a photo, I slipped, hitting my chin (although I didn’t get hurt there) and catching myself with my arms. My left arm was in quite a bit of pain, but I”m happy to report that everyone passed the test of true friendship and jumped to help me out 🙂
I”m sure you can tell what happened next.
By my grumpy face, I can tell that my arm hurt a bit. Thank goodness for Dr. Rebekah. She fixed me up real good with her ice pack from home. Somehow she’d known to bring one that goes round the arm.
Overall, a really great day. Thanks to Adam for suggesting such an awesome hike. He clearly knows what’s up.