“No more buses today.”
What do you mean “No more buses!?!?!?”
I couldn’t believe it! The locals who had congregated around the Tienshang bus station for their daily chat gave us the unfortunate news. They informed us that the last bus would not run that day because it was stuck in a traffic jam near the entrance of the gorge. Traffic was at a near standstill and the bus that was suppose to leave in 10 minutes was facing it’s own set of problems and I guess it was not the only one!!
That left us only one option: to walk!
So it seemed that we would get the opportunity once again to get up, close, and personal with the gorge, but this time it would be an unwanted experience of traveling and wandering the unlit gorge in the dark.
As we passed the red bridge and began the exhausting journey back, our legs ached and our bodies screamed for rest. I recalled worrying for nothing when passing the bridge that led to the pagoda. I joked with my husband that I was so tired that I was going to hitchhike.
And then I did it. I didn’t turn around to face the oncoming car headed in my direction but I did stick out my thumb ever so slightly. I wasn’t really hitchhiking and I wasn’t even sure if the people in the car saw me or would even comprehend my intentions. The car passed, slowed down, and found a place to turn around. They retraced their path back to us and ask if we wanted a ride.
I am not one to accept rides from strangers, actually it was the first time I had ever tried to hitchhike in my life. My husband, who was probably contemplating the obvious danger of roaming through the unlit, narrow roads of the gorge at night, agreed immediately.
They were two of the sweetest people I have ever met. They told us that this was their first official day trip together and they only started dating recently. However, they were more interested in our story. We told them all about walking the entire 18 km of Taroko Gorge. They couldn’t understand why we walked instead of driving when I informed them we wanted to be dropped off near the entrance where our car was parked. They kept saying “It’s so far! It’s so hot! It’s so long.” And I wouldn’t blame them for not understanding, considering we had a car and had to hitch a ride. However, the girl went on to say that it is always interesting to meet people who are determined to do what they set their minds to and it was true. I got to see the gorge from a different perspective that others miss out on because it is hard to immerse and experience something from the back seat of a car. You are bound to miss something.
As we edged towards the entrance of the gorge, the entire journey took over an hour. And when we arrived back to our car, darkness was slowly edging in. I was so grateful to the couple who let us crash their first day trip together and went the extra mile to make our day a great one, but I think my legs appreciated their kind gesture the most!!
What a great story it made from our perspective! And what a great first trip story it made for them!
Have you ever accepted help from strangers? If so, what were the circumstances?
Note: The pictures in this post were taken during our 18 km walk from the entrance of Taroko Gorge to Tienshang! Hope you enjoy!
Please read my two previous posts about the first part of our Taroko Gorge Adventure!