Sunday, December 23, 2018

Red leaves viewing in Hong Kong's Sweet Gum Woods!

Red leaves in Hong Kong! :)

Not maple but sweetgum leaves (and fruit)
The kind of excited crowds that red leaves
can attract in Hong Kong ;D
In many parts of the world (including Japan), red leaves are associated with autumn.  That is not the case, however, in Hong Kong -- where one's liable to see red leaves, albeit usually in a landscape that's largely green, pretty much all year round thanks to the red leaves one sees while hiking in the territory's country parks more likely to be such as the Chekiang Masilus plant's new leaves being red even while its adult leaves are the more usual green.
Recently though, I learnt of a particular kind of tree found in the Big Lychee with a particular red leaf season.  The sweet gum is native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and the tropical montane regions of Mexico and Central America but was planted in certain parts of this sub-tropical territory.  In particular, Tai Lam Country Park -- over in northwestern Hong Kong -- is home to an area which has been christened Sweet Gum Woods to which crowds flock in early winter for some red leaf viewing and picture taking!
Earlier today, I went with a group to do a bit of hiking -- and, it turned out, quite a bit of red leaf viewing and picture taking too! -- in the area.  Despite the day turning out to be on the damp side, there still was quite the crowd out on the section of trail between Tai Tong Shan and Tai Lam Chung Reservoir where a number of sweet gum trees can be found close to the side of the path.
Early on during the excursion, I was moved to joke to a couple of the people I was with that there might well be more red leaf hunters out in the area this afternoon than actual red leaves.  But the further we hiked away from the country park entrance at Tai Tong and deeper into the country park itself, the more the crowds thinned and the more clumps of red-leaved trees we saw for the most part!
In the section of the Sweet Gum Woods with absolutely the highest density of sweet gum trees that I saw today though, there were plenty of people about the place.  A measure of how photogenic this area was can be seen by it still looking pretty attractive despite there being so many other people about that it was well nigh impossible to avoid photographing them as well as the trees and leaves (unless, that is, you aimed your camera right up above you!).  
As it so happens, I actually recognized this area (with its benches and other sitting accoutrements) from a fall hike I went on seven years ago.  At the time, the red leaves weren't so abundant but I definitely recall thinking that it was a particularly attractive part of Tai Lam Country Park and resolving to return some time.  It took longer than I had thought would be the case for me to revisit the area but I'm glad I did on this day when, despite the rainy weather, the natural beauty of this place was evident once more -- and very evidently being appreciated by many Hong Kongers willing to brave the bad weather to enjoy nature's seasonal glories. :)


peppylady (Dora) said...

We have a red leaf tree but I would use the term burgundy. Right now out trees are bare.
Coffee is on

YTSL said...

Hi peppylady --

What kind of tree is your red leaf tree? And I know what you mean about leaf colors. The ones I saw yesterday ranged more around the orange-pink than super red spectrum to my mind! :)