I am not, however, the most organised or prepared hiker. I don't have maps or books or a compass to guide me, as I prefer to just stumble on places and explore. If I go astray as I often do, I depend on my trusty iPhone which has Google Maps and if need be GPS to bring me back on track.
This can lead to some problems as it did on Friday when it took me nearly 3 hours just to arrive at and find the start of ANY hiking trail in Sai Kung. I did Google some info which turned out to be completely wrong and had me going in circles but finally I arrived at a trail.
The majority of my hiking to date has been confined to Hong Kong Island but more recently I've started to explore Kowloon and the New Territories.
Most of the hiking trails are broken into stages e.g. I found and eventually started 'Stage 4 of the Maclehose Trail' which had a notice board with a map of the route and a description as follows:
"Starting Point: Kei Ling Ha
Finishing Point: Tate's Cairn
Length: 12.7 kilometres
Time: 5.0 hours
Difficulty: Very Difficult"
Being the disorganised git that I am, I hadn't had breakfast and had no provisions other than 1.5 Litres of water (which was a fortunate last minute afterthought). It was a beautiful sunny day, but very hot and humid.
About an hour into the hike I realised it was THE most spectacularly scenic hike I'd done since I arrived in Hong Kong. My iPhone video and photos below don't do it justice but it is gob smackingly beautiful. It's unusual to have access to a hiking paradise like this so close to such a densely populated congested city.
My 'Hikers High' kept me going despite my empty stomach but it was a pretty strenuous hike. I was out of water well before I approached the end of the hike and my high spirits were now somewhat deflated and I was dehydrated, but all I had to do now was find public transport to get me back home...or so I thought!
A little bit more research would have told me that in fact, there is no public transport at the end of 'Stage 4'. Actually it's completely isolated and remote and I would now need to complete 'Stage 5' just to get anywhere near civilisation.
"Wooop-deee-FUCKING Doooo!" I muttered to myself as I read the following trail description.
"Starting Point: Tate's Cairn
Finishing Point: Tai Po Road
Length: 10.6 kilometres
Time: 3.0 hours
Difficulty: Fairy Difficult"
Completely exhausted, dehydrated, hungry as HELL, I had to dig deep just to get to the end of this stage of the trail. I was not a happy camper. I eventually ended up at a little kiosk where I think I might have been a contender for the Guinness Book of World Records for finishing a can of Sprite in 0.25 seconds. I then had to contend with rush hour commuters on my way back home - It's amazing how much space you get on the subway when you've worked up a good 8 hours of foul body odour. I didn't get a seat however so no sweaty arse imprint this time!
In retrospect, not researching the route or eating before hand or bringing enough water was pretty dumb-ass but it still ranks as the BEST hike I've done in Hong Kong by far. No pain, No gain! - Enjoy the pics & vid.
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