28 November 2017

Valentine’s Day Climb in Lantau

Wrapping up our 2017 Hong Kong-Macau Trip (more details later) was this test-of-friendship traverse of the Lantau Peak (鳳凰山) on a February 14. “Lantau” literally means rottenhead, characteristic of the mountain’s double hump. In Chinese, these two peaks are separately named Fung Shan and Wong Shan, collectively called Fung Wong Shan (Phoenix Mountain). But somehow, the English name is the more popular one, so they better yet stick to it, I guess.This, so far, is the only climb I did for this year (aside from that huge mountain I climbed towards being a chemist). For a first hike in a foreign land, this one was very liberating and empowering at the same time as it reminds me of how much I love the outdoors. Needless to say, our climb was under-planned but ended well, to the very least.

I am not entirely familiar with the details regarding the itinerary prior to the climb: I miserably failed to read and take down notes thus I’m a little too clueless of the specifics making me an apathetic freeloader for this particular trip. I remember that we rode the MTR from the nearby station which is a few blocks from where we were staying, then eventually dropped off at Tung Chung Station, rode a 3M bus, took off somewhere down the middle of the road at Tung Chung Au (東涌坳), the end of  Lantau Trail Stage 2 which was apparently a few steps near the jump-off point at Pak Kung Au (伯公坳)Our hike commenced from the east side following the Lantau Section 3 Trail. The initial sign at the jump-off which clearly read 4 ½ km and 2 ½ hr hike, was a clear understatement. Better yet prepare for the worse. 

End of the trail where there are trees.

The start of the ascent was a pretty good one. We were at a good pace, the trail’s comprised of gradual stone-stairs, the atmosphere was a good mix of warm and cold, an apparent abundance of trees all around, and a sylvan terrain.

Start of the trek for the rolling hills.

But not until 20 minutes later when the vastness of the open trail presented itself . I was all pumped up since the hike was my piece of cake, but the same is not the case for the rest of us. We took a substantial amount of rest midway at a view point overlooking Mui Wo town, Silvermine Bay, and the nearby Sunset Peak on the adjacent side.

Sunset Peak on the background.

From there, our pace has suffered a downward spiral although it was a joy to behold. The scenic views up the trails offer a multitude of themes, including the sea backdrop of what I believe to be the Cheung Sha beach (and the rest of the South China Sea), Hong Kong cityscape and skyscrapers, and the grassy and bouncy slopes of the Sunset Peak (大東山) and the trails of Lantau itself. Along the left side of the trail  also was the gully Nam Tim Mun with short upward protrudes like that of a teapot drainage outlet.

Hong Kong cityscape view from one part of the trail.

Overall, it took us longer than the average time to climb the peak but it’s nothing less of a great climb nonetheless. While I’m used to hiking tropical rainforests locally, this one is uniquely homely, surprisingly. I felt that certain connection and belongingness I always feel when I’m in the wild, or in mountains for that matter. Like the usual drill, we dedicated an appreciative amount of time up top to rest and catch more glimpse of the wondrous view up there: Tung Chung and airport facing north, Shek Pik (石壁水塘) reservoir and Keung Shang in the south, and the Ngong Ping and that familiar bridge to Macau and Zhuhai heading west.

At the Lantau Peak (934 MASL) overlooking Ngong Ping in the nearby west. Plus the bridge to Macau from afar.

No comments: