It started snowing in the mountains last night. The Hualian driver , Lu, has indicated no problems fetching us over from Cingjing to Hualien. At 10am, we checked out of Misting and spent almost 2 hours of anxious waiting for Lu who was stuck in the Hehuanshan jam.
( Can't imagine tourist playing in the snow with total disregard for traffic. Cliff is on the left )
We set off at almost 12 noon, when the fog returned and stayed this way until we crossed 小风口. The convoy comprising of A's family and us made a major stop at the Hehuanshan lookout point 合欢山庄 in -0.8 C. It was mostly slushy and slippery, esp worrisome because Lu's taxi has no snow chain. There was a thin layer of snow and rampant parking caused traffic woes , caused by people playing with snow.
( Hehuanshan no longer looks clear and lush, unlike 2 days ago. Fog and snow makes for queasy traveling, esp those prone to car sickness )
At Dayuling, we stopped for lunch and had a very hearty meal of wild boar, mountain cabbage, lily soup and rice. It was much fun eating in the cold among friends.
Lu was forced to slow down along the way down because J suffered from severe car sickness. We reached the major sights at Taroko late into the evening ( 4.30pm , almost dark because of heavy clouds ) because of the very late start. We could not make out most of the sights but persisted through the general "sight-seeing" in the semi dark. Generally speaking, the Taroko outing was a wasted trip though the snow viewing made up for it.
Lu did a mini orientation of our area before dropping us off at 不老的海洋. We would have to make do with bento and onion cakes Lu brought us to buy for the day.
( An unusual Taiwanese scenery. Many flock here when snow falls )
We have been much blessed with safety along the way. It was a fortunate thing we did the earlier Hehuanshan trip where we saw the mountain in its full glory. Today's scenery was nil, due to the mist, and this made the arduous journey in the mountains difficult to bear.
( This ghostly picture was taken in Taroko after sundown, with special exposure and a little help from taxi headlight )
If I can do it all over again, I will get a Cingjing based driver ( which are many there ) and set off from our base without travel overheads on the driver's side. And perhaps travel on a SUV instead of a taxi for the same price ( 5000 NT). Information of the sights was lacking because of the driving difficulty and the many phone calls that kept our driver busy.
( Suspension bridge in Taroko, shortly before sundown. Hubby met his colleague here, of all places ! Talk about a small world )
Win some , lose some. Life is without its compromise and what more so, a holiday. What's most important is I got the wiser from today's experience and figured what makes me tick .
Bulldog NiuNiu ( meaning little girl ) "guarding" Cingjing minsu 云蒙仙境. Looks ugly but it provided much entertainment while we waited for driver Lu.
Packed lunch of bamboo rice from Cingjing hawker stall ( Green pastures south exit ) was still warm when we finally ate it at Dayuling. Rating 3 / 5
Bet we are one of the minority who saw Taroko in the dark.The gorge was deserted by 6pm.