Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hiking one Sunday in summer

View from Siu Ma Shan that includes Central and
the International Finance Centre to the left and
Kowloon and the International Commerce Center to the right

View of the southern section of Hong Kong Island
that includes Tai Tam (bay, a couple of the reservoirs
and the surrounding area) and -- far in the distance
-- a Chinese island south of Hong Kong

Last Sunday, I was unable to go hiking because it poured with rain for most of the weekend. Today, however, my regular hiking companion and I made up for it with a vengeance because even though the very hot weather warning had gone up, we not only went hiking but went on a hike that involved our ascending two peaks -- namely that of 424-meter-high Siu Ma Shan and 436-meter-high Mount Butler.

Some Hong Kong hikers stop hiking in the summer because they are put off by that season's high heat and humidity. My regular hiking companion and I, on the other hand, are among those who go hiking all year round -- because we feel that there are compensations/positives to hiking every season of the year.

More specifically, while the fall, winter and spring are markedly cooler and also frequently less humid than the summer, summertime is often when the Hong Kong skies are bluest and visibility is at its peak in terms of how far one is able to see, including from mountain tops. In addition, summertime is when the flowers are in bloom and all manner of bugs reveal themselves (to go do such as a-courting).

At the same time, I have to admit to worrying that summertime is also when the snakes are prone to be out and about too. And, indeed, one of the first notable sights of today's hike was a big snake out on Mount Parker Road (For those who're looking: sorry, but I was too shocked upon catching sight of the second largest snake I've seen in the wild to take a photo before it slithered into the greenery on the edge of that road! And for those who are wondering: Mount Parker Road is a paved road located inside of Tai Tam Country Park which leads from Quarry Bay up to Mount Parker's observatory.)

But when I look at the photos above and recall the beautiful panoramic views that the camera just can't do justice that I was witnessed to this Sunday, I can't help but be prepared to brave the heat and humidity, and look forward to hiking again next weekend... and the next and next through this hot season (just as I went hiking a lot last summer and the summer before)! Just -- touch wood -- so long as it doesn't pour or, worse, a typhoon decides to visit Hong Kong on the day of a planned hike...! ;b


A hero never dies said...

Hi YTSL, That second photo is absolutely gorgeous, I don't think I've seen as clear a day as that in all of my visits to HK.

YTSL said...

Hi "A hero never dies" --

Yeah, it was an amazingly clear day. On the top of Mount Butler, there is a photograph that acts as a view compass. As my regular hiking companion remarked, yesterday's view was actually clearer than the photograph! ;O

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

I didn't go to PRC that time because I just went for a long trip to Australia.

But I should go back for my roots. I am half Hakka ( the country bumpkin kind,) so is my Cantonese, SAN BA Kwong Ning.

YTSL said...

Hi Ann --

If you didn't realize already, Hong Kong's very different from mainland China. Although technically part of the People's Republic of China, it's a Special Administrative Region and all that jazz. So maybe you could consider visiting Hong Kong on its own, among other things? ;b

ewaffle said...

From the flattened hill on in the left middle distance with a stairway and some type of structure on top the view must be breathtaking--which is the case for a lot of the vistas you have shared with us.

I am a bit surprised that a developer hasn't figured a way to put a hundred story skyscraper there since the view would make each flat more valuable.

It is lovely that you keep pointing out all the non-urban beauty--or perhaps the non-paved over beauty of Hong Kong.

YTSL said...

Hi ewaffle --

FYI, the flattened hill and structure you're referring to is the Mount Butler H.F. Radio Receiving Station that lies close to the Tai Tam Country Park's north-western borders. And I can imagine the views would be great from there but, in all honesty, I'm happy enough with the views we got from Siu Ma Shan and Mount Butler. :)

Re your developing idea: ssshhh, I don't want Hong Kong developers to get thinking about such! Though I'd like to think that they'd find it hard to get the government to give up that particular site. Also, it's actually fairly close to a working quarry, so I'd imagine people might not like to live near a place where one can occasionally hear explosions! ;b