High rise Hong Kong can be pretty attractive
...but I truly appreciate that after a half hour ferry ride
and a couple of hours of hiking, one can be this far away
from the high density sections of the territory
...and walking on paths that, even while paved,
have so little traffic that they are safe for a beautiful butterfly
like this one to land on and rest for a bit
For various reasons (including weather conditions and hiking buddy availability), I didn't go hiking last Sunday. While not venturing out into the Hong Kong countryside for one week was okay, I found myself really yearning to be out in the greener parts of the Big Lychee this Sunday -- and thus was pretty happy when a friend who hardly ever goes hiking agreed to head out to Lantau Island with me this weekend.
I had a bit of a scare though earlier today when she phoned to say that we should call off the hike as rain had been reported in the part of Lantau that we were planning to go hike. Fortunately I managed to convince her that if it was raining at that point in the day, by the time we headed over to our hike starting point, it'd no longer been raining -- and I happily was proved right when no rain drops were falling when we got to Discovery Bay and, also, when we then headed over to Mui Wo via the trail that passes by the Trappist Monastery before going over an unnamed hill from where one can get some excellent panoramic vistas!
If my friend had pulled out of today's planned excursion, I'd have gone ahead and hiked on my own -- so desperate was I to temporarily get away from the urban jungle, even if for just a few hours. For while I remain a believer that one shouldn't hike alone for the most part, I'm now willing to make exceptions for those trails, many of them largely paved, that aren't only on the easy side but that I know from experience are fairly well trafficked.
Still, I really do feel that it is significantly more pleasant to be out hiking with a friend (or two or even three) than on one's own. Indeed, as I've told more than one person, hiking actually is one of those rare activities that I prefer to do in the company of others. (In contrast, I'm actually pretty okay with going -- and prefer, in many cases to go -- out to a restaurant, bar or cinema by myself.)
One reason is for safety -- in that it's good to know there's somebody else around should an emergency occur and you need someone else to go look for help. But it's also true that I favor a more social style of hiking -- one that involves engaging other people in conversation while one's walking.
Back when I was in school in Penang, I'd walk up and down the school field -- all the while talking nine to the dozen with friends -- during recess. Later, when I attended college at Beloit, at least one friend and I would do something similar and walk from one end of the campus to another after dinner while discussing those topics that concerned and interested us at the time.
In a way, I guess that many of my Hong Kong hikes are but extensions of those walks I'd take with friends at school and college. So it might be said that the hikes I go on in Hong Kong help to exercise the mind as well as body -- and also generally get me to be a more social being than I otherwise would be inclined to be! ;b