Saturday, 19 July 2008
The Half Century has arrived
Today is my fiftieth birthday. I am not sure how I should feel; I know I am happy it is my birthday because I love celebrations of any kind. I don’t feel fifty; I don’t know how that is supposed to feel. If I was honest I am worried that I won’t be able to do all the things in life I want to do, but I know I am going to have a hell of a good time trying.
Fifty First Timer No. 21
Climb a Hong Kong munro
I know I am becoming a bit predictable with all these munros and hills, but it has to be done.
Hong Kong region has vast ranges of forests and hill trails. On our initial approach to the airport on Lantau Island I was astounded by the superb ridges that reached out over the territory. The fact that I could see trails on the crest of one outstanding ridge urged me to explore the area I later learned was the New Territories.
We were staying on Lantau Island the first week of our visit, so it made sense to start with the Lantau trail and its highest point, Lantau Peak (934m)
To say I climbed a munro is a bit of a cheat because we caught a bus from Mui Wo to a high point at Ngong Ping, a popular tourist destination because of the giant Buddha statue and the Po Lin monastery situated in the same spot as the start point of the Lantau Peak. Funny, but it didn’t take long for us to loose the crowds and find we had the path to ourselves.
Although this is a well marked trail, the path was steep with a couple of sections where I felt a tad exposed. It was also raining which made the rock slick.
Climbing a hill in Scotland is hard enough work but the added tropical heat meant that the leg up we were given by the bus ride did little to ease the pain of the ascent. The summit was reached in good time for lunch, but the flies and mosquitoes on top had the same idea, so we beat a hasty retreat along the Lantau Trail to find ourselves spewed out of the forest onto a busy highway ripped up by major road works. The workies were helpful in guiding us through the traffic cones to the nearest bus stop and like all our transport in Hong Kong, it wasn’t long before a bus stopped to accept our Octopus card swipe and we were soon home in Mui Wo drinking beer.
If we had left this trip to the end of our holiday we would have failed because a week after our climb Ngong Ping and its neighbouring villages were cut of by a major landslide which left the area without electricity and fresh water for days.
In the last week of our holiday we climbed Tai Mo Shan (957m), Hong Kong’s tallest mountain.
If I look shattered it is because I am.