Midmorning finds all 17 of us traveling in three vehicles. We drive south on Route 5 and enter the tunnel that was until recently the longest tunnel in Asia. At nearly 13 Kilometers, it took more than 10 years to complete. They paused construction once after striking water.
We stop twice along the seacoast; during the first we explore a gallery filled with carved and polished stones and sharply etched knee-high sculptures. The second time we rest briefly by the sea-side on the outskirts of Taroko Gorge.
That evening we camp in Taroko Gorge. Our campsites are raised wooden platforms over rock. I fell asleep to the sound of locusts and to that of water rushing through the gorge.
The next morning we sightsee in separate vehicles, then meet at the bottom of Shakadang Trail. When we’ve gathered together again, we picnic by the waterside.