Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Clear Water Bay Country Park's High Junk Peak Country Trail (Photo-essay)

Should one go in search of areas of natural beauty in Hong Kong, one could do much worse than head eastwards to the Clear Water Bay Peninsula. Those looking for sand and sea can make for the prosaically named Clear Water Bay First and Second Beaches (or -- just as unimaginatively -- Beach Numbers One and Two). Those looking to do some kite-flying along with taking in some fresh air can do so at Tai Hang Tun. And for hikers, there are two scenic official routes to follow inside the 615 hectares of Clear Water Bay Country Park.

I hiked Lung Ha Wan Country Trail that leads up and then down the 291 meter high Tai Leng Tun with a friend back in 2009. But it was only earlier this year that I went with another friend on the lengthier High Junk Peak Country Trail that remains delightfully unpaved throughout its route that goes up one peak (the 260 meter high Sheung Yeung Shan), around another (the 344 meter high High Junk Peak whose shape has got it labelled one of Hong Kong's top "treacherous peaks") and further up to a glorious plateau close to the top of 273 meter high Tin Ha Shan (trans. Heaven's Mountain), then down a series of intimidating stone steps down to the Tin Hau Temple in Joss House Bay.

If truth be told, I had been put off going on this 6.6 kilometer trail for some time because its final section involves a pretty steep ascent and even steeper descent. (And for those of you who haven't been hiking, let me assure you that many hikers I know prefer steep ascents to descents as the former only requires hard work whereas the latter can scare!) But as I hope the following photos (and more to come in at least one more photo-essay) will show, this hike turned out to yield a number of visual treats that make the effort feel very worth while:-

Right from the start of the trail, one gets provided
with evidence that this hike will be pretty hilly in nature

So it might be good to pause from time to time to
admire some flowers (as well as catch one's breath!)

Yes, there's far to go still -- but already
it's looking pretty scenic, don't you think?

One good thing about the sky being somewhat overcast
on the day of the hike is that this flower's purple color
could get properly captured by my camera

Yes, it's a cool feeling to be higher up as well as
some distance away from those high-rise buildings
that lie on the edge of the country park

For those who wondered what the "treacherous"
High Junk Peak looks like, wonder no more ;S

Flower "break" time once more!

And yes, this really is Hong Kong! :)


sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytsl,

I clicked on the first photo and had to stop for a short rest as the uneven ground made me more nervous/tired than the uphillness.

What's the average number of photos you take on a hike? You've mentioned that you take longer than the given time for some hikes. Do you decide on how much extra time you can spend before you start out or do you decide according to the scenery?

I've become very not conscious of time spent taking photos ... hehe...not good when one is on one's way to work.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Goodness gracious re your reaction to the enlarged version of my first photo! :O

Re the average number of photos I take on a hike: hmmm, it really can vary -- as you can see from my hike photo-essays ranging from one per hike up to four (the maximum thus far -- for my Po Toi hike).

But for time: I generally add on one hour to the official hike estimate to be on the safe side. And yes, that extra hour is usually taken up by photography -- though, often times, it's not so much the number of times I stop to take photos that really all adds up but the amount of minutes spent waiting for a beautiful butterfly or some such critter to get into pose position for me! :D

sarah bailey knight said...

Hi again ytsl,

"Goodness gracious re your reaction to the enlarged version of my first photo! :O"

Well, I'm a bit clumsy on uneven ground with rocks and tend to walk with my head down.....hehe...so I don't fall down.

"Re the average number of photos I take on a hike: hmmm, it really can vary -- as you can see from my hike photo-essays ranging from one per hike up to four (the maximum thus far -- for my Po Toi hike)."

Do you mean one to four photos of each scene? or one to four photos of the entire hike?

YTSL said...

Hi again sbk --

I (too) tend to walk with my head down on paths that have lots of tree roots and rocks on -- or, perhaps more accurately, sticking out of -- them. One such hiking trail that seemed like that all the way was the Kap Lung Forest Trail -- and because I had to look at the ground so much, I didn't take as many photos as usual on that hike!

And on the subject of photos on hikes: no way would I take just one to four during an entire hike! Rather, I had meant that I take enough to choose from to put up at least one photo-essay (consisting of 7-8 photos) per hike and, in the case of Po Toi, four whole photo-essays!

But to better answer your original question: as an example, on my most recent hike (last Sunday), I took around 60 photos over the course of around 3 1/2 hours. So... does that sound like a lot or not that much to you? ;b

sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytsl,

I know what you mean about missing some photo opportunities ...while trying to remain upright.

Thanks for the clarification on the number of photos you take per hike. 60 photos in 3 1/2 hours sounds like a good number.

I'm finding if something catches my interest I tend to take (too?)many many photos of it from different angles.

One mid morning in Tokyo I didn't even get around the corner from M's apartment and ended up taking so many photos of a small area when I looked up it was almost lunch time. This trip I kept most day's schedule loose and "let myself go" when something caught my attention.

YTSL said...

Hi once more sbk --

Teehee re your story of spending so much time taking photos in a small area you couldn't even get around a corner before lunch time! Sounds like you have a far greater attention span than me. :)