Sunday, May 22, 2011

Amazing Race Hong Kong

view on the way up to tai po shan (from about 700m)

tai po shan (950m)

the way down...

view from victoria peak (start hk trail) on a clearer day.

street signage: generally pretty good.

distance markers (500m apart) for wilson and hk trails.

caught up with cr virtual: ex hk resident now beijingian (if thats a word).

am a bit of a fan of the show 'amazing race'.
unfortunate reality is that i would be terrible as a contestant.
when nav things go wrong such as finding bus stop 51 at tseun wan MTR/train station and it takes an hour i tend to get a tad pissed... but more on that later.

spent the last 8 days in HK.
of course HK is 80% bush well ok its something like that have heard a similar number in the past.
it has thousands and thousands of trails some of which comprise 'the big 4'.
hong kong (50km) runs west to east on HK island starting at 'the peak' (500m).
maclehose (100km) runs east to west on kowloon/NT side and is the route for HK trailwalker.
wilson (70km) runs south to north across HKI and kowloon to not far from the border with 'the rest of china'/shenzhen and is a bit of a patched together trail including of course one of the tunnels under victoria harbour.
and lantau trail (70km) a circular route on lantau island.

a good reference book is pete spurriers 'the serious hikers guide to HK'.
a better book on the maclehose is written by sunny leung.
trail maps with UTM gridlines are avaiable from outdoor stores eg. protrek and rc outfitters and are called 'the countryside series'.
just be aware that for some reason they have put main roads in a very indistinguishable 'white' for some reason.
which may lead to some aussies inadvertantly walking up them (albeit briefly) and off the 'trail' ;)

in short i did parts of the first 3 on 2 separate days.
1. a 30km run involving 25km/half of hk trail starting at 'the peak' and running through pok fu lam country park with wonderful views of aberdeen up to jardines lookout and back down to civilisation (tai koo MTR station) via the wilson trail.
in short although a challenging and hilly run it is certianly very 'urban' with everything they could concrete/step they could. hardly a trail shoe worthy run otehr than some slippery steps. also a bit of a foggy/smoggy/misty day so could see 50m in front of my face from jardines lookout. certainly challenging hillwise - took me 5.15 to cover the 30km with +1300/-1700 A&D.

2. a 20km hike from route twisk via tai mo shan (the highest peak on hk - 950m) and lead mine pass to shin mun reservoir and out via kwai hung MTR (train) station. TOH joined me for this. just a perfect day weatherwise.

original plan was for 2km less but the taxi caused us issues. used the hotel person and a map to show where we wanted to go. unfortuantely the 'okokok' turned into lots of map looking and asking other drivers and dropping us off at the bus stop in tsuen wan. 'you walk up there' pointing to the 10km road that the bus goes along (route twisk). no no we want you to drive us there. 'that too far' after going around in a circular argument i was really wanting the cantonese translation for 'yes we know its too far you stupid prick thats why we have hired a taxi driver to take us there - you'...but alas. in his defense we knew there are 'territorial issues' with HKI drivers heading into the new territories and he did try and find us a bus to take us there - albeit finding the wrong one.

wont describe in detail what happened from there but needless to say i will never be amazing race worthy - my other half on the other hand is much more nav tolerant than me. ended up arriving at the 'plan b' starting point via the greatly invisible bus 51 quite late and was just going to do an out and back to the peak/tai mo shan but ended up making good time and went on to lead mine pass before cutting off a bit of ground and ascent/descent coming out via wilson trail and road.
a nice day. some 'proper trail' on maclehose and certainly got the 'out there' feeling rather than just being an urban route. also cool to ghet to the high point of hong kong.

would definately lvoe to go back and tackle more of maclehose and maybe some lantau trail.


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