Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tai Lam Country Park hike (Photo-essay)

"Were you ever a scout?" a professor of mine once asked. As I puzzled over why he was asking me this question from seemingly out of the blue, he followed up with, "You know, "Be prepared!""; whereupon I realized that he was teasing me over my tendency to observe the Scout motto and sometimes over-prepare for things.

But while I realize that there have indeed been times when my over-cautiousness has not been ideal, I also do reckon that it often has served me well -- including when out hiking in Hong Kong. More specifically, especially when I'm the hike leader, I never go on a hike without a guidebook and/or the appropriate Countryside series map of the area as well as such as a torchlight, plenty of bottled water, a towel to wipe the copious amounts of sweat I shed on any hike away, sunscreen, insect repellant, and -- of course! -- my trusty camera. And I often take pains to ensure that that's the case with my hike companion(s).

So... before this hike (which was undertaken on a hot July day -- i.e., the middle of summer -- last year) even got started, I found myself turning away a friend of a friend who had come equipped with just a small bottle of water and wearing not the most comfortable of shoes. At the same time, I considered that her friend (and mine) passed muster... So off we went on a hike in Tai Lam Country Park (out in the western New Territories) that began on a paved path that was very well shaded but soon segued onto a trail that was much less so -- but also more scenic for our pains... ;b

The Tai Lam Forest Track is the kind of trail
(one with plenty of tree cover) that's good to go on
on a hot summer's day

Early on in the hike, we got evidence that it was one where
we would be seeing quite a lot of non-humanoid creatures...

I think the heat that day made animals --
not just people! -- just feel lethargic and lazy

Wood-coloured insect on the road

Less easy to spot (but, trust me, it's there!) --
a grasshopper that blends well with the greenery

It may not seem to be so in this photo
but trust me when I tell you that this spider's
on the huge side by spider standards!

The kind of scenic vista that unfolded before us
once we got past the densely forested section of the hike

The country park authorities conveniently erected
benches in scenic spots (including this one --
from where
Tai Mo Shan's usually mist-shrouded peak
is visible in the background)

To be continued... but of course! ;b


Maya said...

It took a minute, but I finally found the grasshopper!
I have to agree with you that it is important to be prepared on the trail. Two things that I have in my bag that aren't on your list are duct tape (you never know when the sole on a boot may come loose!) and sanitary napkins (they are great to soak up blood--like when a finger nail is lost).

YTSL said...

Hi Maya --

Glad you took the time to look for -- and were successful in finding -- the grasshopper! :)

Wow, you ARE prepared! Forget to mention: some other things I have in my backpack are a packet of tissue paper (for bathroom needs... ) and a packet of band aids! ;b

Anonymous said...

LOL! After I first met you in HK, I actually used the words "scout leader" to describe you to my wife.

And LOL again about turning away that friend of a friend. I wish I could have seen that.

So, you never did answer that question: were ever you a scout?!

sarah bailey knight said...

hi ytsl,

I have to admit I once described you to a friend as a "girl guide" or a college "dorm prefect" type. I do enjoy going places with you as you always do your "homework" before setting out. What about a compass and Swiss army knife?

Nice photos too.

YTSL said...

Hi duriandave --

Eeeeek re your decription of me to your wife!!! I'll take it as a compliment though...

But believe it or not, I never was a scout! :DDD

Hi sbk --

Eeeeeeek too at your description of me to your friend!!! And hahahaha... actually... so far, I've not needed a compass in Hong Kong (as I don't tend to stray off trail if I can help it). And no, I don't have a Swiss army knife these days... ;b