Friday, October 31, 2014

Hiking the 8 Immortals

Long overdue post about another hiking adventure. This hike was really an exception one. I'm pretty sure this is the most challenging hike I've ever been on. This was compounded by the fact that I don't think I'm in very good shape these days. The hike that we decided to do was Pat Sin Leng, which is means The Ridge of 8 Immortals. There are supposed to be 8 peaks in this ridge but I really think there are more.

The hike up the first peak was the most challenging and I was really out of breath. But we made it up the top, pretty satisfied with ourselves. The trees fell away as we went up and there were no trees in sight.

The view was really nice. It was a clear day. 

The long road ahead:

See, no trees:

A large reservoir can be seen in the distance. Our end destination is down near the water.

This is what we hike. Pretty sure there were more than 8, count them! 

Towards the end, I honestly didn't think I could go up any more peaks. The hike took us about 4-5 hours. I've never felt so tired walking uphill. The descent took a while as well and we were totally exhausted when we finally reached a big road with a rest station. We washed up and refilled our depleted water supply. I was hoping for some tofu dessert place at the nearest village but all they had were BBQ places. We sat down at a little convenience store selling American goods. I quickly finished two cold drinks. I was sore for a week afterwards. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hiking weekend

Last weekend I really felt the need to go away from the craziness of the city. I tried to get people to go hiking with me on Saturday but no one was available so I decided to go somewhere close by myself. I went out to Cape D'Aguilar, which is a marine reserve park near Shek O. I've seen the bus stop for it many times on the bus to Shek O but didn't know what it was. I got off and started on walking down the path. 

The entire hike in was on a paved road that actually had a good amount of traffic. I think there's some kind of construction going on so there were big trucks coming in and out. There were some people on motorbikes and others in private vehicles. Not sure where all these people ended up since I didn't see any of them at the end. At one point, I was going to give up and turn back but then I checked my location on GPS and it seemed like I was almost at the coast. So I kept going until I got to the gates of one of the radio station towers and the road ends. 

I didn't really know what to do at this point but an older guy who was walking in front of me told me to take the footpath to the side of the fence. I went on the path and it took me around the radio tower. But I didn't know what to do at the end of that and was turning back when the guy came by showed me the way down. He said that he grew up in this area back when it was a station for long distance telephone services and other utilities things. There were several houses built for the people who worked out here and the families thrived on catching fish and planting their own vegetables. He said he spent his childhood swimming and playing out in the area. All the houses that were out there before have now been demolished. The entire area has been made into a marine reserve and is kept by HKU as a research station. There are some student housing for the researchers.

  Rock arch

Real whale bone

The research station

He took me around to see the lighthouse and rock arch and left me near the whale bone. The entire area is really, really nice. You can look out to the sea and climb onto the rock outcrop. I think most hikers are really respectful of the area and there's no trash or other random things left behind. There weren't a lot of people around but the guy said that there's usually more people.