View to the north from the hiking trail
snaking up and down Siu Ma Shan
Looking down at the city from Sir Cecil's Ride
Three years ago, I spent New Year's Day away from the Big Lychee over in the Netherlands. Then, in 2017 and again in 2018, I was in Hong Kong on New Year's Day and went hiking on the first day of the year. But although I once again remained in Hong Kong at the start of this year, it wasn't until earlier today that I went off for my first hike of 2019.
As a matter of fact, I had actually planned to go hiking yesterday, only for the day to see the worst air pollution in months. Happily, conditions were noticeably better today -- indeed, I'd put much of today's gray visuals gray down to cloudy weather and fog -- and I was able not only able to go up into the hills of Hong Kong Island but enjoy being out among nature -- even while not being all that far away from civilization! -- for a few hours this afternoon.
In addition to the air pollution being significantly lower today than yesterday, the temperatures also were on the pleasant side: i.e., low enough to make it so that I wouldn't be sweating like crazy but high enough that I actually consigned my sweatshirt to my backpack for much of the hike. And something else that made my first hike of this new year a pleasant one was my not encountering all that many people out on the trails today despite it being a Sunday rather than weekday!
In recent years, I've actually been disinclined to hike on Hong Kong Island on a Sunday because its trails, particularly those on the northern side of Victoria Peak and also along Dragon's Back, have become more crowded than I would like. Happily, my decision to take a chance on the Braemar Hill and Siu Ma Shan sections of Tai Tam Country Park paid off, with even the path along Siu Ma Shan that's part of the Wilson Trail having few hikers out on it this afternoon.
All in all, today's hike got me realizing how much I really do love hiking in Hong Kong -- even on days when critter spottings are on the rare side! -- and also how it really isn't impossible at all to get away from the madding crowd in the Big Lychee. So here's resolving to more venturing along Hong Kong's many kilometers worth of hiking trails this year! :)