P.S. For some excellent pictures of Taroko Gorge, take a look at Carrie Kellenberger's blog, which has some of Ava Apollo's latest renderings of her journeys in Taiwan. The picture of Sun Moon Lake is nothing to speak off - it kind of sucks, actually, but the photos of Hualien's Taroko Gorge are amazing. The photos I took are pretty good, but they are not quite as good as Apollo's (I think she is using her own photos for the post, anyway, if I'm not mistake). It's hard to get good photos of that area, because one doesn't often have time to explore much if you're on a bus tour. If you want to have time, your really must bring your own car, and avoid going at times when there are too many people, and when the soon is either too bright, or no bright enough.
You will notice the garbage (a beer bottle and a bag near the stone frog). While this is unfortunate and typical (people here throw their garbage everywhere, which is strange, because Hsinchu garbage pickup happens six days a week - and three days a week for recycling) this was the only garbage I saw. People seem to keep it pretty clean when they go up here, and most people don't come up here anyway. Maybe that's a good thing. It gives me a chance to engage with something a little more unique.
On a side note, it is dumb to attribute slovenly attitudes towards garbage as exclusively Taiwanese. However, I don't think I've ever repeatedly seen a whole garbage can's worth, or five garbage can's worth of garbage, along with furniture dumped in the middle of a forest or mountain in the most beautiful area of the land. No attempt to conceal, bury it, or anything. In Montreal, garbage and recycling days are only once or twice a week. Garbage piles up inside the house (or in the yard, as the case may be) sometimes, but it's no biggy. Why would people dump stuff in the middle of a forest? A real mystery to me! Part of the problem (it isn't all of the problem, only a portion) is that Taiwanese hide their garbage cans, and put them in the most inconvenient places, or even make a point of eschewing garbage cans altogether. Some people claim that too many people will put garbage from far off places and it will overflow, etc. This is nonsense, and it is a cultural reality which really should be done away with. Patrick Cowsill had a strange encounter with this kind of situation in his recent post. Even Hong Kongers and Singaporeans go crazy when encountering this bizarre modus operandi in Taiwan!
I recommend you check out Andrew Kerslake's blog about his cycling journeys throughout Taiwan. I don't agree with most of his politics (regarding U.S. international politics, etc.), but he largely leaves politics out of his blog. Most recently he posted an account of his ride through Southern Taichung County.
If your politics are about the same as mine (libertarian), then I recommend you check out Mike Fagan's blog, (which usually has me either enraged by it, or enjoying it, either alternately, or simultaneously).
Another blog I recommend, which is completely unrelated to Taiwan, is about Montreal, politics, Montreal life, public transit, and Montreal culture. Very intelligently written.