The Bolton News
April 14, 2019
SITTING on the veranda of a semi-detached log cabin managed by members of the
indigenous Truku tribe, I close my eyes and draw breath. The air is thick with a sweet, nocturnal symphony of insects and chirruping cicadas, which envelops me like a swooning lover beneath a sky studded with twinkling white jewels.
Under the cover of almost perfect darkness nestled between the sleeping giants of Taroko National Park’s mountains, the secluded Taiwanese plateau thrums with the electricity of urgent, unstoppable, unseen life.
Mother Nature holds sway here and she can be ferocious. During humid summer months, monsoon and typhoon seasons follow in quick succession, deluging a small island state less than half the size of Scotland or Ireland, which experiences hundreds of tremors every year from shifts in the ocean’s tectonic plates off its eastern coast.
Roughly 70 per cent of the island is mountainous, concentrating a population of 23.58 million Chinese Taiwanese, mainland Chinese and indigenous peoples in Taipei to the north and Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan along the western coast. Venturing off these beaten tracks demands sturdy hiking boots, waterproof clothing and reasonable levels of fitness. [FULL STORY]