Wulai River Tracing

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Taiwan’s natural environment is a wonderland for outdoor sports; I have long said that it could be an Asian version of New Zealand. Some sports, such as cycling and hiking, already have a strong foothold, but the scale and breadth of the natural resources on offer here mean many more activities are possible.

River tracing (or river trekking) has been on the rise in Taiwan in the last few years. Similar to canyoning combines hiking, climbing and some swimming, negotiating obstacles and often working in a team. A host of friends have been recently, so I was delighted when one of Yuyin’s friends invited us to go.

There are several outfits offering outdoor activities in Wulai, but White Squall Adventure School is run for the benefit of improving the lot of less advantaged kids, so while the price was a little higher than the other places we thought it would be worth it. The company’s owner, Rock, is a true salt-of-the-earth type, and I really enjoyed spending the day with him.

I was imagining climbing up a very small stream, perhaps through trees, negotiating rocks and roots while making our way up the hill. Actually, we navigated our way up the river feeding into Wulai; a river I have ridden or driven beside many times and as a result even better to have a chance to splash around in.

Rock’s approach was to allow the group to discuss, try out, fail, retry and eventually succeed. This is in stark contrast to the typical teaching techniques in Taiwan that preach a digital correct / incorrect approach that yields accuracy, but does little in the way to foster team work or creativity. It was a wonderful day working as a team, looking out for each other, keeping eye-contact and slowly making our way to the end of the river. I would recommend it to any group of friends or colleagues.

Summer 2011 Fashion

Suited and Booted

The rascal Rock sprays us with water as we get into the van that took us to the trail head. I guess there is no turning back now!

Two waterproof cameras packed - really useful at a time like this.

Reservoir Dogs

Team building

Negotiating the first obstacle was a bit of a challenge, but nothing compared to those that came later in the day. A good chance to test our teamwork though!

Rock guides towards the next section, and asks for our input

Shades of grey

Gary's trousers fill with water, and we all erupt in laughter

Flow

Looking up at the next obstacle, we were told we needed to enter under the fall from the left side, and exit to the right - a challenge!

Getting serious now

Success!

The guys consider their next move

Working as a team to get across this fast flowing section

Saved!

Reflections

Happy!

An 8m drop into the water below was not easy!

Just about all of us dared jump in - quite a mental challenge!

Pulling some team members up the rocks

Team photo

The sun begins to set on a gorgeous day

Foot prints (incidentally I was told not to wear my Vibram five finger toe things - not grippy enough - instead we had sort of dish cloths attached to our feet)

The best thing about the day was the amount of team work, and care we all took over others.

Finally at the end!

Being dumped back in the van for the ride home - but no spray this time!

Looking back at what we all achieved

FOOD!

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