Monday, May 2, 2011

An easy but still scenic Lamma Island hike (Photo-essay)

Close to a year ago, my mother came over to Hong Kong for her first post triple bypass-surgery visit -- and I discovered that she actually was able to complete the Lamma Family Walk. Granted that the easy hike we went on that took us from Sok Kwu Wan to Yung Shue Wan didn't see us going to the top of such as the 353 meter high Mount Stenhouse which is the highest peak on Lamma Island but it nonetheless yielded some nice scenic views.

Also for the record, some years ago, I went on this same hike with Pictures, Thoughts and Comments's sbk and sometime blog visitor "eliza bennet" -- and I reckon that it's a good measure of my fitter condition these days that it felt much easier for me to complete this second time around. So, despite Hong Kong's air pollution record and such, I actually do reckon that I'm in better health post moving to the Big Lychee than in the few years leading up to my move (when I was living in Malaysia and traveling about by car than foot)!

View of Sok Kwu Wan and beyond from its pier

The front of Sok Kwu Wan's modest sized Tin Hau temple

The opening of the Kamikaze Cave from where
the Japanese planned to launch suicide boats
during the Second World War

Fresh vegetables for sale along the way

Sok Kwu Wan left in the distance
not even half way into the hike

Looking northwards towards a pavilion in the foreground
which partly obscures the cement works on Lamma

A more pristine view from near another pavilion
further along the hike

They may pale when compared to those at Po Toi
but I still think these rock formations on Lamma are

quite interesting to look at and fun to photograph!

To be continued... :)


Maude Lynn said...

Marvelous pictures!

ewaffle said...

An interesting and possibly telling detail in the picture with the pavilion obscuring part of the cement works--there seems to be a full but not overflowing trash receptacle at the bottom of the stairs. In almost every place I can think of in the U.S. that trash can would be surrounded by cups, wrappers, bags, etc. since the custom here is to toss waste in the general direction of the can. Before it had gotten that full there would have been a carpet of garbage around it.

Which is hardly the most interesting thing about the pictures but I continue to find ways in which Hong Kong is different from (almost always superior to) the U.S.

YTSL said...

Hi Mama Zen --

Thanks! The funny thing is that I think my hiking photo-essay from two weeks ago actually had the best photos... but it has attracted zero appreciative comments stating that (thus far)!

Hi ewaffle --

Thanks once again for noticing something that I've come to take for granted. A few months ago, I met up with an old college professor visiting from the US. She remarked about how clean Hong Kong was. I was like "compared to years ago?" Her reply, "No, just period".

And truly, although I've seen cleaner places (e.g., Japan and Germany), it's also true enough that Hong Kong is generally less grotty than much of the U.S. Among other things, while I saw plenty of rats in the Philadelphia subway, I've NEVER seen such creatures in the MTR! ;O

baroness radon said...

One of our favorite "walks" in HK. My husband used to lead me up to Mt. Stenhouse, usually through weird shortcuts that featured bees and thorns and mean dogs. Once on the way down he came to the trail through some scrub area. Someone passing asked, "Aren't you afraid of the cobras?"

YTSL said...

Hi baroness radon --

Yikes re your Mt. Stenhouse story! Was thinking of hiking up (and down) it sometime soon but now you've got me worried. Snakes are NOT among my favorite creatures to encounter on a hike -- and I've already seen more cobras (just one, actually) than I want to see while hiking in Hong Kong! :S

Unknown said...

I'm baroness radon's husband, and you need have little fear of snakes. They generally hear you coming and are gone long before you can see them.

If you start up the mountain from the trail that leads directly from Sok Kwu Wan there is little problem route finding. As I remember you go to the plaque at the top of the saddle, following the well paved path and make a right turn. The trail up to the peak is pretty obvious.

I prefer to start from the other side. Follow the path along the coast and make a left at the school. You will pass through a small village (don't turn right in the village - that's the path to Yung Shue Wan). You want to go over the hill toward the ocean. Now comes the only messy part ... just before you start down a final slope to the beach, there will be an old clearing on your left. The maps show a path through this and up through the trees. I have never found this path, and just force my way past the band of trees. Once you've done that, the path becomes obvious, since it follows the ridge.

Incidentally, it was trying to avoid this part of the walk that caused the cobra comment. I walked to the beach and went up the grassy slope to find the ridge path, and when I arrived a fellow hiker made the cobra remark. He may simply have been taking the mickey out of a gwailo.

Caveat: I haven't been back to HK for five years (sob) so things might have changed.

YTSL said...

Hi ozzie-in-honolulu --

Oohhh... you're The Wizard! Good to "meet" you! :b

Re snakes: I think I have a phobia of them because years ago, a rattlesnake actually, literally, went over my foot (when I was doing archaeology field work in Colorado). Still, it's true enough that it didn't bite me. So...

Thanks for the detailed description of the trail you chose to follow up and then down Mount Stenhouse. I have a Hong Kong Island and Surrounding Island Countryside Map Series map -- and it shows the two trails leading up and down the peak of Mount Stenhouse to be dotted orange ones -- i.e., "difficult, indistinct or seasonally overgrown". But your directions are pretty clear -- and thus, I trust, will prove helpful indeed! :)