For those who saw my recent Lantau and northern New Territories critter spottings-themed blog entries and wondered if (m)any critters can be spotted while hiking on Hong Kong Island, let me assure you that this indeed the case. Indeed, the only time I saw a cobra in Hong Kong was while hiking in Tai Tam Country Park. And it was on a hot summer day's hike in that same Hong Kong Island country park that my hiking companion and I came across a really big snake right on Mount Parker Road (a road that leads from busy King's Road in urban Hong Kong up to Quarry Gap deep within Tai Tam Country Park).
Unbelievably, my hiking companion actually ran towards to the big snake in the hopes of being able to take a photo of it! Even more unbelievably, the big snake reacted by moving quickly into the bushes... and it really was scary to see not only how fast it moved but also how well camouflaged it was amidst the natural greenery!
In a way, it could be said that everything that came afterwards was sort of anti-climactic... except that the truth of the matter is that that day's hike which involved a circular route that took us up the the peaks of 424 meter high Siu Ma Shan and its 436 meter high neighbor, Mount Butler, did turn out to be a generally excellent one -- full of interesting sights (though, thankfully, with no more snake spottings) as well as one that was very satisfying in many other ways!
A well maintained shrine passed by early on the hike
A closer view of the statue of the Goddess of Mercy
holding a child that can seem like the East Asian version
of Western Christian Madonna and Child sculptures
The sky over Hong Kong looked lovely
on that hot but beautiful summer's day
The view of urban, high density Hong Kong from a much
greener -- yet not so distant -- part of the territory
One of the hike's more easily recognizable landmarks --
Mount Butler H. F. Radio Receiving Station
A scenic view not far away from the receiving station
that includes what used to be the landing strips
View from close to the previous point looking west
all the way to Victoria Peak
A view of the trail that we were on that day -- and yes,
some parts of it were by no means covered with
concrete (like some people would have you think
that most Hong Kong hiking trails are)!