Lugang (鹿港) in Central Taiwan is rightly known for its traditional architecture and stunning temples. Most of its inhabitants, of course, live thoroughly modern lifestyles, and the township has its share of factories.
There is a small road just past the large resorts at the mouth of the Chihpen (知本) Valley, located where the road begins to climb towards the deeper hot springs and the national forest park.
The trail is less than a meter wide and five hundred meters long, but as our group gingerly follows the narrow strip, suspended halfway up the sheer face of Taroko Gorge's highest cliff face, I think the feeling is unanimous that this is probably the most spectacular, easily accessible hike in Taiwan.
I almost didn't want to go back to this valley, that's how much I love it. Between 2000-2004, I river-traced and camped in this gorge twelve times.
Standing for a group shot in front of the simply named Ancient Tree no. 1, there's ample room for ten of us to pose, lined up in a row and leaning on the tree's prodigiously broad, curving trunk.