Sunday, January 5, 2014

Along a largely unpaved trail in Tai Lam Country Park

A banana grove growing inside 

A bamboo grove located in the vicinity of
the small but pretty Ho Pui Irrigation Reservoir

At dinner a week or so ago, a friend of mine who's lived in Hong Kong for many years of his life surprised me by telling me that he had recently visited Tai Lam Country Park for the only the first time. I, on the other hand, had gone hiking in Hong Kong's second largest park as early as my second year in the Big Lychee -- and the first that I began hiking in earnest here.

And while this country park in the northwest New Territories may not have landscapes that are as scenic as that to be found on the Sai Kung Peninsula or Lantau Island, I still have enjoyed my share of hikes there -- on clear air but also hazier days, the latter because it's one of those parts of Hong Kong that has a large number of trees, due to a reforestation scheme enacted after the Second World War.
Although I've started many hikes just after getting off the bus at the Country Park stop on Route Twisk and  hiked to, from or through Ho Pui some five times now, this afternoon's trek took two friends and me along a trail we had largely never been on previously.  The sections that we went on for the first time today were entirely unpaved and sometimes needed to be shared by mountain bikers.  To judge by such as the relative lack of signage along them as well as the relatively small amount of fellow hikers that we saw on them, I'd also say that they aren't majorly traversed hiking trails.   
Still, even while there wasn't any spectacular sight along this route that I'd classify as really spectacular or special, my two friends and I agreed that it actually made for a nice few hours worth of hiking along.  For one thing, it was nice to be able to hike in peaceful and quiet surroundings for the most part.  For another, we were surrounded by greenery pretty much all of the way.  
And while I of course would have loved to have seen more insects than the single butterfly I spotted over the course of some 4 hours of hiking, I also did get pleasure out of such as unexpectedly coming across a banana grove on one of the foothills in Tai Lam Country Park and also walking through a beautiful bamboo grove near the end of today's excursion.  And yes, it can be wonderfully de-stressing and enjoyable to pause for a bit to appreciate the foliage that still looks so very green and alive in the heart of a sub-tropical winter. :) 

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