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July 21, 2006

The Peak at night, and another Lamma hike

On my first hike around Lamma Island, I noticed a trail that appeared to go to the top of a peak that promised a great view... That day I did not have time to go, but now, a couple of weeks later, we decided to go.

But let me back up... the day before, we had a few extra hours in Hong Kong, so Andy and I bought new cameras. What else would two geeks do in Hong Kong? And of course, they needed to be tried out the same day; none of us had been to the Peak, one of the main attractions in Hong Kong -- we missed the sunset, but Andy still managed to take some great pictures. I really don't like cities all that much, but Hong Kong is fascinating, just because of the sheer scale, and the contrasts...

We saw the nightly light show; somewhat disappointing, but still impressive.

Ok, back to the hike on Lamma Island. We had managed to pick one of the hottest days of the year for it, and there is absolutely no shade on the trail... the hike ended up being a lot more challenging than expected. But also more rewarding... We got a good workout, and the views were fantastic.

We walked from Yun Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan, then on towards Tung O, but instead of going down to the beach, we went right, past the red pavillion on the little pass that crosses the island's main ridge. At this point we were joined by another group of hikers, who first passed us, but soon slowed down. One of them, a guy from Finland, actually decided to lie down on the trail. At first I didn't realize that he was in bad shape... but when he asked me to get some water out of his backpack, it became obvious that he was in trouble. Clearly he was not used to the combination of heak and elevation gain... he finished his water, seemed to be dooing better, and then slowly headed down to the pavillion, while we continued to the top.

The hike took a whole lot longer than I expected, and I had a flight to Manila the same day in the evening. I was enjoying being outside and getting workout, so I lost track of the time; when we checked the ferry schedule later it became clear that I'd have to hurry back to make it in time. So I decided to run ahead... I had about 1 hour to catch the ferry, and was a 2 hour walk away from the ferry dock, and certainly needed to take a shower before getting on a plane. Fortunately, I knew the 2 hour estimate was the official trail hiking time for your average hiker in this area... and such times tend to be inflated proportionally to population density in the area.
So I started running. The first section was supposed to take 45 min, and it took me 14 minutes. That was quite encouraging... the trail from Sok Kwu Wan, however, was to steep for me to make it in less than one third of the official time, it took me about 30 min. And then -- well, the ferry schedule information was somewhat inaccurate, and I was so exhausted that I just wanted to lie down... (after drinking about half a gallon of water) I ended up changing the flight anyway. Oh well... it was worth it, for a wonderful day and a healthy workout.


Posted by rick at July 21, 2006 03:29 PM