Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hiking from urban Kowloon to green Sai Kung!

This view from the Kowloon hills gives a good idea of
 Go over to the other side of the Kowloon Hills and 
look northeastwards though -- and far more 
natural vistas will reveal themselves! :b
 Long time no see, Buffalo Hill!
In my first year of hiking in Hong Kong, more than 200 hikes ago now, I went on what I got to calling "the hike of hell" -- one which saw the group I was with go up 606-meter-high Buffalo Hill and then down it along a trail that I found nightmarishly steep, and also scarily narrow in parts.  
Re the latter: at one point while we were on the edge of the hill, I plunged my walking stick down on what I was thought was the firm ground on the right, only to feel it go through the vegetation and realize that there was NO firm ground there, only foliage!  Needless to say, that realization did not make me a happy camper (or hiker!) -- and later on, when we passed by the carcass of a dog further down, I truly got to worrying that I might actually fall off the hill and die!
Somehow, we all did make it down safely -- and, in my case, with just minor scrapes and injuries, notably some bruises on my thumbs and fingers (from gripping rocks and such while "butting it" at certain points during the descent).  Still, I trust that you, gentle reader, will find it understandable that for years afterwards, I stayed away from that part of Hong Kong (even while continuing to hike and explore the territory -- in fact, even more regularly over the next few years)!
Today though, I decided that it was time to venture once more into that part of the Big Lychee -- at least to Buffalo Pass (aka Ta She Lau Au), if not the top of Buffalo Hill.  More specifically, this afternoon's hike took my friend and I from Tsz Wan Shan up to Sha Tin Pass (like on a couple of Sundays ago on a hike that had us go up Lion Rock and Beacon Hill), then east- and northwards along parts of sections 5 and 4 of the Maclehose Trail (including Buffalo Pass) to Mau Ping, from where we trekked along what appeared to be an old village path to Tai Shui Tseng village (from where I've previously started my hikes along the Ma On Shan Country Trail and previously joined up to section 5 of the Maclehose Trail).
For days, the weather forecast for today had promised to be pretty good.  Still, I was shocked to see how high visibility was this morning -- according to the Hong Kong Observatory website, in fact, certain parts of Hong Kong had visibility as far as 50 kilometers!  Add to this afternoon's humidity levels being among the lowest in weeks and the temperature falling pleasantly in the 17 to 21 degrees Celsius range and I'd say that it really was as close to being perfect hiking weather as I've ever experienced!

Out on the trail, we frequently heard birds chirping and spotted a few bugs coming alive, including a beautiful silvery butterfly/moth.  Moreover, the air felt fresh and thoroughly refreshing, and I really couldn't feel like I could and should ask for more, really!  Granted that it wasn't as sunny today as during those bright blue sky summer days -- but it also wasn't as hot and humid... and considering the distance we covered this afternoon, and the trail that we were on having its share of ascents that could be measured by the hundreds of meters, that's a trade off I really was pretty happy to settle for! ;b


Goodbye HK, Hello YVR said...

I love the contrast in the pictures! Looks amazing and definitely shows another side of HK!

YTSL said...

Hi The Fragrant Harbour --

Thanks! And BTW, my latest "This is HK" image is from yesterday's hike too. :b