Hiking in Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

My new-found enthusiasm for trail running has seen me planning more trips that involved hiking in nature. While it’s quite difficult to find friends who want to run with me in the forest, it’s much easier to find people who enjoy walking. So it was with incredible excitement that I started my recent December Taiwan trip with a hike in Taroko National Park. This is one of the country’s eight national parks and is located near Hualien City in the east of Taiwan.

We spent three days and two nights at Taroko. This trip was arranged by a freelance tour guide Ricky, who was introduced to us by a friend. I usually don’t like going on tours and being escorted around by other people but Ricky was passionate about hiking and was not your usual conventional tour guide on buses.

We went on two trails. The first was the Zhuilu Old Trail and this was supposed to have the most magnificent views in the gorge. We spent about six hours on this trail, including rest time at the top. The second was the Lotus Pond trail, which took us four and a half hours in total.

To hike the Zhuilu Old Trail, we had to get a special permit from the park that Ricky arranged for us. We started off from a bridge that spanned a valley.

taroko gorge Continue reading Hiking in Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

Salomon X-Trail Run 2013

I had a lot of fun at the Salomon X-Trail Run 2013. This year’s race was at Tampines Mountain Bike Park and Trail, which is an area normally reserved for cyclists.

Barbara and I arrived just minutes before the 730am race start but the start time was delayed by about 15 minutes so we had time to stretch and muck around. She refused to wear the event shirt because she didn’t like running in shirts with sleeves. I thought the shirt was really comfortable and the material was the best out of the event shirts I’ve received so far. I was able to keep cool throughout the run and I really like this baby blue colour. I also wore my football socks to run. This was the singular best decision I made in any race – the socks protected me from itchy grass and horrible mud (more about said mud later).

Salomon X Trail shirt Continue reading Salomon X-Trail Run 2013