Blue Skies Adentures recently had the good fortune of guiding a group of 51 high-school students and their teachers up the Dajia River in Taichung for a fun overnight wilderness excursion. Camping, fishing, swimming, BBQ... this trip had it all. For many of these students, it was their first time river tracing and first time camping in the wild.
Blue Skies prepared tents, food, and BBQ equipment for everyone. Students had to divide this up amongst themselves and carry their fair share of the load.
The trip began on the Central Cross-Island Highway past Guguan, near the end of the publicly accessible road. This is also the trailhead for Maling Hot Springs, which is also along the Daxi River. After a tricky vertical descent on ropes into the riverbed, the river trace began.
Our guides set up a rope for the more difficult crossings, but the river at this time of the year was low enough that the students were able to handle most crossings with their own two feet. Along the way we passed the site of a former TaiPower suspension bridge, whose temple-like cable anchor point on the rock wall makes for a great photo.
We arrived at the campsite in the late afternoon. After the students figured out how to set up their tents, there was time left over to play in the swimming hole located right next to the campsite.
The evening was dedicated to BBQ and campfire chatter. Students set up and maintained their own charcoal fires, and took care of cooking, sharing and cleaning duties in their groups, enjoying the freedom and responsibility that this activity entailed. It was a beautiful evening under the stars, warmed by the glow of cooking fires and cheerful banter that accompanied each one: in short, this trip captured the true spirit of wild camping.
An optional trip to Maling Hot Springs was declined the following morning, as the students opted to continue BBQing or go fishing instead: the Daxi River is full of shovel-jaw carp. Several students managed to catch fish, some of which were BBQ'd on the spot, and some of which were later fried up to share at our final meal of the trip, at a restaurant in Guguan on the way home.
For wilderness school trip planning and guiding services, or for dedicated wild hot springs hikes to Maling and other hot springs in Taiwan, contact Blue Skies Adventures.