Thursday, January 1, 2015

Midnight hike to see sunrise

I'm still not sure what made us want to do this but we decided to go on a midnight hike up Lantau Peak to see the sunrise. It all started with a whatsapp conversation about what to do for one of Xiaodi and Albert's last weekends in Hong Kong. One of their coworkers suggested this hike to see the sunrise. With the help of modern technology, no plans were fixed until the day of. On Friday, I was chatting with various people to see if I was going to sleep that night or go on a hike. I wasn't too enthusiastic about this midnight hiking business and would have rather do a sunset hike. But Sally wanted to do it enough that I went with it. Xiaodi abandoned us at the last minute.

It was really cold that night. Temperatures dropped quite a bit that day and hovered around 10 degrees Celsius. It is usually colder on Lantau so I dressed up in many layers and filled a thermos with hot tea. We left our apartment at around 12:30am and took a night bus to Lantau. We "picked up" Albert on the way and napped during the bus journey. I was surprised that we managed to wake up and get off at the right stop. We nearly went all the way to the airport. We hung around the empty mall spaces in Tung Chung and waited for Albert's friends. One of them has done the Oxfram Trailwaker (100K hike) and another guy has done this hike before. Another of their friends came along. So all in all, we had a total of 7 people on this hike.

Usually, for this hike, you can take a bus from Tung Chung to the start of the trail. But there were no buses when we arrived and we didn't want to get to the top too early. So we walked along a paved road for nearly 2 hours to reach the trailhead. We checked the time a lot to make sure that we wouldn't arrive too early or too late. The actual trail was pretty steep. But I think we paced ourselves pretty well. I used to think that you should just keep going steadily the whole way to avoid being too tired out. But the guy in front had a different idea and walked maybe 20 steps, stopped for 3 seconds, and then continued. I thought this was pretty good for going up as it allowed us to rest a bit and not strain ourselves too much. We had longer breaks for snacks and water but we got up pretty quickly as it was cold. Along the way, we saw other groups ahead of us and passed a few groups on their way up.

At the top, we saw some people camped out. I was surprised that they managed to pitch a tent in such high winds. There is also a small man made shelter thing in case you got stuck up there in inclement weather. It was so cold up there that I couldn't even get my own phone out to take any photos. We huddled around and ate food to keep ourselves warm. Even after 5+ hours of being in the cold, my thermos still had warm tea inside. The sun came up slowly up the gray skies. Albert has one of those nice cameras that was able to capture more light than our eyes.

After a while, we really couldn't take it anymore and started our descend. There were some big rocks along the trail down that provided us shelter while we saw the rest of the sunrise. We ended up at the Big Buddha, which was pretty quiet since there was not tourists about. We narrowly missed one bus and had to wait an hour for the next one. Luckily, there was one place opened that served us food. I don't think eating greasy instant noodles was all that great for my stomach though. Should have just stuck with something light. Anyway, we made it on the next bus and I managed not to throw up on the way down. Lantau roads are very windy and I always feel a bit nauseous.

By the time we got back home, it was nearly noon the next day (Saturday). We were still bundled up in our coats even though people on the streets were wearing one layer. With our 12 hour adventure completed, we quickly showered and went to bed. I had thought we would be able to get up towards evening and go see the fair in Victoria Park. But that turned out to be more than we could handle and we just basically slept the entire day. I got up in the afternoon to eat and watch some TV. Got up at normal time on Sunday morning feeling refreshed. It's amazing how much difference it makes to get properly rested.  

1 comment:

yalu said...

Omg this seems like a really intense adventure.. !!