Just when I thought I have seen it all, we were one-upped again. On the last day of the Taiwan Trek, we went to Nan-ao to experience what it means to “upstream’. Apparently it’s something common in Taiwan, but something I never heard of. So what’s “Upsteaming?” Well, it’s exactly as it sounds, you are hiking up the stream, against the flow of the water. Yeah I used the word hike, but it was basically rock-climbing with the water pouring down your face. Fun fact: Taiwan is one of the most mountainous place in the world, with over 260 mountains taller than 3,000m (10,000 feet). With so little room for the water to travel from such heights, rivers flow fast and furious.
You gotta work as a team because of how strong the flow of the water is so damn strong. Running through what essentially is a natural obstacle course, you get everyone over by having someone pull up front with someone else pushing from behind. After conquering a fall or a rapid, your reward is usually a reservoir that you can dive right into.
The first fall was fun, you could jump in, or slide down from the side. We were all lined-up ready to go down the natural slip and slide, but the rocks were so mossy and slippery that I think some of us went down head first even though we didn’t intend to. The second waterfall was much scarier, with a rope dangling from a tree where we were supposed to leap over and grab on, before letting go and falling into the reservoir. “What happens if I missed the rope?” I asked. “Well, then it’s going to be a lot more exciting” The guide cackled. We cheered each other on with the rally song from the day before and one by one made the leap of faith.
In the evening, we were hosted by the parents of a fellow Sloanie Iris at their family restaurant for the closing reception. Even though Iris was not able to attend, she got up super early and Skyped in from Boston to join the party.