Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Out and about in Hong Kong's rural north (Photo-essay)

In recent weeks, the temperature has gone down to levels that are ideal for hiking in Hong Kong once more. While this is a state of affairs I wholly welcome, it also makes me realize that I'm now twelve hikes behind in terms of documenting them in photo-essays -- something which is not helped by my most recent hiking photo-essay before this one having been put up over two months ago.

So without further ado, here's presenting a set of photos from a hike that I went on back in the first week of May(!) with two friends in an area accessible by green mini bus from Fanling that's closer to Shenzhen than Hong Kong's Central District or even Tsim Sha Tsui; the first part of which was along the short but interesting Hok Tau Country Trail that included a hike up a small hill and down through an area of organic farms, one of which was offering strawberry picking opportunities at the time that we visited...

This is Hong Kong? Yes, it is -- and every bit
as much as its concrete jungle bits, actually!

The flowers of what I believe is the big-leaved acacia
that's native to Australia but also
to be found
in the Hong Kong countryside

The stone stairs leading up (or down -- depending
on which direction you're approaching it) the hill

...yields views on one side that extend all the way to
what looks like the city of Shenzhen over on the other side

of the Hong Kong-Mainland Chinese border

...and rural Hong Kong, complete with organic farms,
over on the other side

A more close up view of part of that same landscape
-- one that most visitors to Hong Kong don't see

As the trail descended down the hill into an area
flanked by organic farms that use natural fertilizer,
smelt as well as saw things that emphasised
that we were very much
in the countryside! ;b

On the wilder side of the trail:
yet another beautiful flower my flower books

have not been able to help me identify
(but helpful reader
JimmiJames thinks is a bauhinia flower) ;(


Anonymous said...

Lovely pics, as always!

Seeing those stone steps got me wondering how old is Hong Kong's trail system. Any idea?

JimmiJames said...

The first floweing tree looks more like Castanopsis fissa than an acacia species.The last picture of a flower is of a Bauhinia species.The camel foot leaves and the flower shape are really typical of the Bauhinia in HK.

ewaffle said...

Good news indeed--a dozen photo essays of hikes held in reserve with more views of Hong Kong.

One great thing about hiking, or simply walking, is that it is so natural. Great exercise, is mentally and possibly even spiritually (if I may) relaxing--although on some of the steep descents one wouldn't want to relax too much, no gym memberships or hours to worry about, no equipment needed other than a good pair of shoes.

It is quite something that one can get on a bus in one of the most urban areas in the world--certainly one of the most cosmopolitan--and hop off at the gate to a working farm.

I have noticed and commented briefly about an aspect of some of your pictures that I really like, that on some images of a prospect in the distance you have some foliage in the foreground very much in focus, always at the bottom of the frame. It is almost something to look forward to in your photo essays that include rural or park-like settings. Here especially in the picture of Shenzhen from the hilltop and in the second (closer) view of farm. A very nice touch

YTSL said...

Hi duriandave --

I'm not sure about the trail system as a whole but some, like the Yuen Tsuen ancient trail, date back over a century, while others -- like the Wilson and MacLehose Trails and Sir Cecil's Ride -- are credited/named after colonial officials. (On a related note, the Wikipedia states that Hong Kong's Country Parks Ordinance only dates back to 1976.)

Hi JimmiJames --

Thanks for the ID attempts. I took a look at some photos of Castanopsis fissa and am not sure that's what I saw and photographed. OTOH, I'll take your word for it re the Bauhinia flower and do please feel free to check out my other hiking photo-essays and ID flowers there that I couldn't! :D

Hi ewaffle --

I'm so glad you find it good news that I have so many hiking photos in store -- have been trying to space my hiking photo-essays out in order to not bore/put off those who don't care for my photos of rural Hong Kong!

And like you, I prefer hiking to working out in a gymn. It seems more... as you say, natural. :)

Also, yes, I really do love it that in Hong Kong, the countryside and hiking trails are often just a bus ride -- and sometimes just an MTR ride and short walk -- away from the concrete jungle in which I reside! :)

sarah bailey knight said...

hi ytsl,

I too look forward to more hiking posts.

Did you stop and pick strawberries and eat them as you hiked along?

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Thanks for your hiking posts vote! :)

No, didn't stop and pick the strawberries. Was too intent on hiking that day. (FWIW, what's in the photo-essay is just about the first 1/4 of the hike...) ;b

Horsoon said...

Beautiful country shots of HK! Nice :)

YTSL said...

Hi Horsoon --

Thanks, glad you liked what you saw here. :)