Sunday, January 26, 2020

Hiking for fun and health on the second day of the Chinese New Year of the rat

one with a trigonometric station and stated height of 222 meters
(Click on the above image to view an enlarged version of it!) 

 Panoramic view from about midway up Siu Ma Shan
(Again, click on the above photo to see an enlarged version of it!)

Yes, some hikers were wearing masks on the 
more crowded sections of hiking trails today :(

At a time when the death toll and number of people confirmed to be infected by the Wuhan coronavirus continues to rise (with the number of deaths now at 56 and there being close to 2,000 confirmed cases worldwide), it may seem callous to keep on posting hiking photos as well as to venture out hiking for the second time in three days.  And this before we also take into the account that, on the protest front, the riot police fired more tear gas at pro-democracy/anti-government protestors -- and other people, including street hawkers and children, who just happened to be there at the scene -- in Mongkok on the first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rat.  

The thing though is that today, the second day of the lunar new year, is normally a festive time of the year.  And I honestly reckon that getting depressed isn't going to help anyone -- so why not go out and do something I like that has the bonus of being a physically healthy activity?  

As it so happens, this time of the year additionally generally offers up some of the best weather for hiking -- in terms of the air being cool, so one doesn't end up sweating buckets when climbing up a hill -- along with good air and high visibility; the latter two of which we here in Hong Kong regularly attribute to the (oft polluting) factories in Mainland China shutting down for the holidays.  So off I went up to the hills of Hong Kong -- more specifically, Hong Kong Island -- once more; this time on my own on account of the friend I was supposed to go hiking with today bailing out for fear that it'd rain this afternoon.

Since I was hiking alone, I kept for the most part to trails that I had already been on and feel pretty familiar with.  I must admit though that early on in the hike, I decided that the day had finally come for me to check out the views from an unnamed hill that I had passed by before while walking along the southern section of Sir Cecil's Ride but hadn't previously detoured up to -- and was rewarded with some really nice views that were made even better by the day's high degree of visibility.  And because the afternoon really did shape up to be pretty lovely, I made my way via trails that passed through a wireless station near Siu Ma Shan Bridge to connect with the popular hiking trail that takes one up Siu Ma Shan and then Mount Butler.  

Up on Mount Butler, I met three people who had masks -- but around their necks rather than on their face.  As one of them told me, they didn't find it all that comfortable to hike with masks on.  In turn, I told her that I had put on a mask when leaving my apartment earlier today and had it on on the minibus ride to the trail head but then had removed it just before I commenced hiking; reasoning that I wouldn't be near all that many people when out hiking.  And for the record: for the first couple of hours of my hike, I think I passed by -- or was passed by -- fewer than 20 other people in total.  

But after I got down to Quarry Gap (Tai Fung Au) from Mount Butler, I came across a far larger number of people -- and with many of them speaking Putonghua, I must admit to thinking that I should follow the example of a good number of masked individuals and put my mask on!  Also, lest it not be clear: this was indeed the first time I've seen people out hiking with medical masks on -- and I think it's a good measure of how much more worried people have become about the Wuhan coronavirus over the course of some 72 hours that, just two days ago, I hadn't seen anyone with a mask on while out in a country park in Hong Kong.  :S 

No comments: