I expected the seven kilometre hike from Chongde Station to be an up hill battle, but the train had already gently risen before reaching the village and the hike was relatively flat. What made it difficult, was the final tunnel. It was a hair-raising hike through a one and a half kilometre dark tunnel with no sidewalk where trucks roared past and their noisy engines echoed off the tunnel ceiling.
But the reward at the end was arriving in Qingshui’s parking lot where a trail led to view Taroko National Park’s Qingshui Cliffs. Below was a pair of the many tunnels constructed for the nearly eighty kilometre Northlink Railway line. Beyond was a clear view of the layers of precipitous rock that rose from the Pacific Ocean some six million years ago, not only forming Qingshui Cliffs, but Taiwan Island.
Buoys bobbed off shore where fixed fishing nets caught fish making their way to feeding grounds, but my eyes remained on these magnificent cliffs and the towering mountains within the national park. Now all I had to do was hike back seven kilometres and find something to eat in Chongde’s one street village.