Not the usual hike sight
Pak Mong's villagers have against the Hong Kong government!
That's more like it -- a panoramic vista looking from
and beyond as far as Hong Kong Island :b
A friend and I walked all the way from Tung Chung to Mui Wo earlier today, with the Tung Chung to Pak Mong sector involving a route closer to the body of the water between northern Lantau and the southern edge of the northwestern New Territories than the more inland trail I had gone on with two other friends some time back.
Unlike the route I had gone on previously, this one was not along a designated hiking trail. Rather, after we belatedly discovered that the New Lantao Bus Company's number 36 bus ran really infrequently (less frequently even than according to the schedule listed on its website), we decided to follow a bike path that took us beyond the Tung Chung New Development Ferry Pier to Tung Chung Waterfront Road and, we hoped, as far as Yan O Wan and Luk Keng Tsuen along the waterfront.
A few hundred meters east of the ferry pier, however, we found construction sites impeding our planned coastal route. Rather than give up after encountering a large construction site in our way, we opted to go inland a bit and picked up the bike path once more before it led us to yet another large construction site.
Seeing signs for "pedestrians", we elected to follow a route we could make out, even if the route sometimes involved walking on top of rotting pieces of wood, through a field with thorny seed things that easily attached to hiking boots and the inner edges of the shorts I regularly wear on my hikes! But upon going through a hole in a wire fence that wasn't our making, we ended up walking on a paved path that I had seen many times while taking the train between Central and Tung Chung or Chek Lap Kok Airport -- and were filled with glee that we'd be able to stroll along near the waterfront for some time.
But near Pak Mong Ferry, we found our path blocked by truly mega construction works for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge that are estimated as blocking the path at least until 2018. So, thanks to what we were coming to think of as Tung Chung Construction Hell, back we went to our original plan of hiking from Pak Mong to Mui Wo -- even though it had already been quite a hike to get to Pak Mong from Tung Chung!
I had previously read about there being villager unrest at Pak Mong and for a time, the Nature Touch website's trail closure, etc. notices page had alerted me to disgruntled villagers having barred entry to sections of hiking trail that passed through the village. When I checked the website this morning though, the trail closure notice for Pak Mong had gone. So I knew to ignore the many signs and banners erected in the area announcing that certain sections of the trail we were planning to go on hda been closed off.
Still, it was somewhat disconcerting to walk by many signs and banners (some of them impressive in their sheer detail) announcing the villagers' anger at such as the government having shrunk the village's boundary -- this even though it did reassure us somewhat that the few villagers we passed by along our way didn't seem all that hostile, at least to us!
So it was with a mental sigh of relief when I saw signs that we had entered Lantau North Country Park and continued to feel like things had gone back to normal as we descended into the greater Mui Wo area. Seeing all the beautifully green areas around us also had a calming effect (and the beautiful, clear vistas got our spirits soaring). And the only reason why we hurried a bit on the way down to Mui Wo was because we were looking forward to celebrating our hike's completion with dinner at the China Beach Club! ;)