Atop Shek Uk Shan, which -- at 481 meters -- is
the highest spur in the Sai Kung Peninsula earlier today
from atop that high hill on the Sai Kung Peninsula
The view from lower ground of Shek Uk Shan
(and yes, we really had been at the very top of that hill!)
The first few years that I hiked in Hong Kong, I stuck religiously to trails that I read about in informative hiking guidebooks like Alicia M. Kershaw and Ginger Thrash's Above the City: Hiking Hong Kong Island, and the Country & Marine Parks Authority's Hiking All in One. In recent years, however, I've become more adventurous.
Some days, my hiking friend(s) and I will go on a trail that looks interesting on one of the countryside maps that I not only own but have spent quite a bit of time looking at. Other times, while out hiking, I'll spot a sign post pointing to a part of Hong Kong that I had not been to previously or trail that I hitherto hadn't been on, and make a mental note to maybe check it out at a future date.
Then there are the days, like today, where we end up going somewhere that I had seen from a distance on a previous hike and thought "I'd like to go (up) there at some point"! In this particular case, there actually were two hills that I had wanted to go up after catching sight of them while hiking on the Cheung Sheung Country Trail and the first part of the Maclehose Trail Stage 3 -- one of which, Shek Uk Shan, has a signal station atop it, and Lo Fu Kei Shek, a 235 meter high hill that's home to a fire lookout.
On the Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay countryside map (edition 11) that I have, there were trails leading up to these hills and along the ridge that joined them that were depicted as solid orange lines (denoting major/easy footpaths) rather than dotted orange ones (denoting difficult or indistinct or seasonally overgrown footpaths). But my friends and I got to realizing that things may have changed quite a bit since the map was published (in 2010) when we couldn't figure out where one option to veer off the Cheung Sheung Country Trail that we had started on was!
Undeterred, we just went a longer way -- up past the Cheung Sheung Plateau and picking up a(nother) trail up Shek Uk Shan that began close to the top of Jacob's Ladder. Although on the steep side, it actually was a fairly easy climb up to the top of the 481 meter hill -- with the more difficult components of the hike occurring as we trekked along the ridge and found ourselves generally descending but also sometimes ascending along fairly overgrown rugged trails that took us through alternately shrubby and forested areas.
In the end, we decided to forgo going all the way up the fire lookout on the final hill on today's hike, opting instead to follow a trail going around Lo Fu Kei Shek rather than diverting up it. And yes, that decision was partly made because we were on the tired side at that point in the excursion.
But, in all honesty, we felt that we had accomplished enough already that afternoon. After all, we had already been up (and then a good way down) the considerably higher Shek Uk Shan, atop which could be found not only a signal station but also a trigonometrical station, and another piece of high ground which may have been nameless but had the distinction of having -- woo hoo! -- another trigonometrical station atop it! :b