Monday, September 15, 2008

Ma On Shan Country Park hike from hell! (photo-essay)

One day this past March, I went on a day excursion in
Ma On Shan Country Park with two friends and a hiking buddy of theirs that turned into what I have come to think of, and refer to, as "the hike from hell." More specifically, more than once during this adventure off the beaten track, I -- who really was/am by far the least experiened hiker in the group -- actually feared that I might fall off the hill -- nay, mountain! -- that we were on and, at a few other times, got to worrying that I was limited to the following unpalatable options: 1) give up and stay forever up on the mountain; 2) resort to calling mountain rescue to come to my aid; or 3) die trying to make it down a steep slope on a dry, stony, unpaved path!

Another good measure of my high anxiety can be seen by my abandoning any attempts at photography a couple of hours from the hike's finish. (Frankly, looking down from where I found myself was already threatening to be too frightening and I also generally was too busy trying to find things to grip to for dear life!)

Looking back, however, it is true enough that on the portion of the trek that saw us going from near
Wong Chuk Shan New Village up to the ridge connecting Buffalo Hill (which at 606 meters is, incidentally, Hong Kong's 13th highest peak) to 540 meter-high Shek Nga Shan, there really was some stunning scenery glimpsed; some of which, as can be seen in the following shots (and others shown here and here), I did manage to photograph for posterity:-

Looking down and back early on during the hike
at the rocky trail we had climbed up thus far on

Our fearless hike leader leading the way

Amidst beauty up on Ngong Ping plateau

Soon, however, another rocky path beckoned

Also, almost before we knew it,
Pyramid Hill (see picture 2) and Ngong Ping
had been
left far away in the distance

Similarly pyramid-shaped -- at least when viewed
from this angle --
Buffalo Hill

View from the top of Buffalo Hill --
one I found simultaneously beautiful and scary
(as there aren't any erected fences or barriers
up there on the mountain!)

One of the final photographs I took that day --
with Shek Nga Shan summit (and my fellow hikers!)
in the distance


Lilly said...

Oh my gosh. I love being outdoors and love walking but I am not good with mountains, hills, sttep anything in fact. This post was funny - laughing with you not at you of course.!! Brilliant photos as well.

eliza bennet said...

Thank you for the pictures and this sure seems like a hike I would enjoy very much!

The last one I have been to was a medium tough one where you have to cross a forest without a footpath (holding to branches and vines for dear life) and using ropes to cross streams. Actually one person fell into a small river but luckily he was not hurt.

YTSL said...

Hi "Lilly's Life" --

Glad you enjoyed the post -- and that you laughed with, rather than at, me over it! :)

Hi "elize bennet" --

Better you than me. Incidentally, have been on another hike led by "the fearless leader" since. Wonder whether it's purely coincidental that those are the only two hikes during which I came across snakes in Hong Kong!!! ;(