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Please, don't litter!

Hiking is about communion with nature. So please pickup after yourself. There's no excuse to leave plastic bags, water bottles or any rubbish on or around the trails; if you managed to bring it, you can manage to bring it back!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Shui Lo Cho (水澇漕), Man Cheung Po (萬丈布) and nine bends (Lantau)

(10.5 kilometers)
5 to 6 hours

Difficulty: 10/10. Hands required to climb some of the sections and the stream gets very narrow at times which makes progression slow and tedious. Option to make it easier is to stop at the infinity pool. In any case, best to go with people that have done it before.
(If you just want to go to the infinity pool for a swim, follow this link to get there)

Cel phone coverage: None.

Water needs: 1.5 liters.

Appreciation: 9/10.

Transportation: Take bus 11 from Tung Chung to Tai O, and back.

Why it's worth it:

Garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/338496183
Don't rely on the Garmin GPS data for the stream portion (fine for the rest) as the signal seems to have bounced off rocks and doesn't seem super accurate. Plus, I went a bit off the regular path at time which would lead you to slightly more risky climbs. Then, from km 5 to 6, we were lost so although following the GPS data will get you to the trail, it won't be fun (bushwacking)

Just off the bus terminus, take the bridge
Pretty trivial at this point. At the end, the bridge takes a slight left, then you must head right.
You can print a zoomed section of the Garmin map just to make sure you don't take a wrong turn.

It's about a 3km mostly flat walk until you will reach the stream entrance.

The stream entrance, just after this little bridge

View on the right from the stream entrance

Then just hike up the stream. Be careful to pick the right bypass.

About 1km into the stream, you'll reach the Man Cheung Po infinity pool (well, a catchwater bassin really). Nice to chill there for a while. You can exit to the trail here or keep going up the stream. If you don't have a GPS watch to run the course I recorded or do not have someone who know where to exit the stream, it is better to not attempt the rest of the stream trek. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mac2 to Sharp Peak (蚺蛇尖)

(15.86 kilometers)
6 to 7 hours
Difficulty: 10/10. Hands required to climb some of the sections. Make sure you print the Garmin map for reference.
Appreciation: 10/10. One if not the most scenic hike in Hong Kong.

Transportation: From Sai Kung, take a cab to High Island Reservoir dam 萬宜水庫 (get all the way to the pavilion). At the end, take a boat from the Chek Keng Hau bay pier to Wong Shek pier.To do on a Sunday so you can take the 96R back to the Diamond Hill MTR.

Why it's worth it:

Garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/335835620

The cab should drop you off at the Easternmost part of the High Island reservoir. Right after the principal dam and the pavilion, you'll head left and start climbing.

After 20 minutes or so of climbing up and down, you'll reach Long Ke beach which is  paradisaical and  nicely shaded, making it a nice spot for pic-nics or even camping if you're into it. Once you're done, follow the trail, more climbing and awesome vistas as per photo (Long Ke)

After the 300 meters climb, you'll start going downhill and eventually reach the merging point with the trail that most Sunday hikers take coming from Sai Kung (it is much easier). Head right.

Arriving in Sai Wan village.

Food break or keep going.

Sai Wan beach. The next bit has no shades so it is a bit painful if you do it in the summer and mid-day. 

After 30-40 minutes and a few "wow" moments, you will have reached Ham Tin Wan where you can rest a bit, have some food, restock your water supply and enjoy the beach. The toughest part of the hike is yet to come so, you'll need all the energy you can muster.
Once you are done, go right through the store and take a left.

After this point, it's all quite obvious; just follow the trail. It is not a steep climb but it keeps going up for about 50 minutes with not much in terms of nice views as rewards for a job well done.

About a 2km walk up from Ham Tin beach (between M039 and M040), you'll reach a bench at the top of a hill with a this sign which describes Sharp Peak. At this point, you must decide if you still have the energy to tackle it because it is going to be a strenuous 2km up, followed by a no-less strenuous 2km down which will bring you back to this very same location you are now at. The path to Sharp Peak is pretty obvious but quite hazardous. If you don't feel good about using your hands to climb some of the sections, don't go.
On the way back, keep going on Maclehose section until you reach M042. There should be a set of stairs going down on the right towards the bay and a path will lead you to the pier where boats can take you to Wong Shek pier. It costs $150 to charter the boat so if you are alone , wait for other hikers to join you so the price can come down to something more reasonable.