Showing posts with label Lantau Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lantau Trail. Show all posts

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stages 11 & 12

The Lantau Trail in Hong Kong is 70 kilometers long and divided into 12 stages. I wish I was writing this post about my big finale after completing stages 11 and 12 with the AWA hiking group, but I missed a couple hikes and still have four stages to go.

Stage 11 starts at the catchwater off Tung Chung Road ---> the same catchwater from stage 10. Instead of traveling all the way to Mui Wo (from Discovery Bay) to meet the group coming from Central, I did a little research and took the chance that I could find the correct bus stop. It helped that I had mrC and a friend tagging along for moral support. We took the 3M bus and easily made it to Cheung Sha Catchwater.

Once the rest of group arrived, we followed the catchwater for about 3km with nothing more to see than concrete and trees lining the route. One member of our group lives in the area and told us how popular this section is for running because it is flat. The prettiest sight on this section was this waterfall with the mountains in the background.

After following the trail downhill for the last 1.5km, we reached the end of stage 11 and passed through the village of Pui O. This looked like an old village but we spotted some newer housing developments as we made our way to the start of stage 12.

Stage 12 was much more scenic right from the start. Coming out of the village we passed an inlet at low tide and spotted a little sign that Christmas is right around the corner.

We took a quick break at Pui O Beach. Unlike Discovery Bay which is surrounded by development, this beach felt like a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle. I would love to come back here and spend the day.

After leaving the beach, we began the hardest part of the hike ---> climbing approximately 260 meters up and over Tai Ngau Wu Teng. The higher we climbed, the better the views. It was amazing to look back and see the village of Pui O from above.

After passing the peak, we followed the trail down the mountain toward Mui Wo. Going up is tough on the quads, but going down is no fun on the knees.

Eventually we arrived at a perfectly placed pavilion to take a rest from all the down hill walking, enjoy the coastal views and get a great group shot (thanks to mrC).

We followed the last bit of trail right into Mui Wo. Glimpses of Silvermine Bay made our stomachs rumble knowing that lunch was coming soon.

Stages 11 and 12 took us just under 3.5 hours to hike the 11.75km. We always take our large groups to The Kitchen in Mui Wo for lunch. They treat us well, have great options on the menu for all and it doesn't take them long at all to serve us.

Now I just need to recruit some friends to complete stages 5-8 ;)

More posts from Lantau Trail hikes:

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stages 3 & 4 (Lantau Peak)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stages 3 and 4 (Lantau Peak)

It was time to cross more Lantau Trail sections off my to-do list and this time it was going to be some hard hiking.

My most recent hike on the Lantau Trail (stages 9 & 10) was long but easy. No real climbing involved. My very first hike (stages 1 & 2) was a mix ---> one stage involved climbing Sunset Peak, the second highest peak in Hong Kong, but the other was an easy walk.

I wasn't sure if I was ready for stages 3 & 4, but I also knew I would suffer from FOMO if I didn't go for it. I hadn't done a hard hike in a few months, so I didn't know how my body would react. It's a lot like returning to the long run: you have a solid base, but it's been awhile since you upped the mileage.

Anyway, I went for it and here's what happened:

1) There were three solid climbs. THREE. Every time I looked up, I thought we only have a little more to go, it's straight UP, but we're almost there. Then another climb would appear. Actually, having the 600 meter climb from Pak Kung Au broken into parts like that gave us built in walking breaks along the way.

2) I stood on the second highest peak (934 meters or 3064 feet) in Hong Kong, Lantau Peak. The views from the top are just breathtaking. Even the overcast, slightly hazy day didn't take away the magnificence of what my eyes could see.

And behind us, was Sunset Peak (the third highest peak in Hong Kong) on stage 2 of Lantau Trail. Been there, done that, I thought to myself. I could also see the airport from the top, so I texted mrC since he was there doing some database work in the airplane.

3) Making our way down toward Ngong Ping and the end of stage 3 was easier on the quads, but harder on the knees. The challenge is that the man-made rock steps are not the same distance apart. As we got further down the mountain, we started passing large groups of hikers making their way up from the other side (the harder side if you ask me).

The archway marks the end of stage 3.

4) At the start of stage 4 is the Wisdom Path (right past the large archway). 38 wooden columns line a path forming the symbol for infinity. Each column is inscribed with a verse from the Heart Sutra prayer. We took a short rest/snack break here.

The trail continues to Ngong Ping cultural village where the Tian Tan Buddha Statue sits. The village was crowded with visitors, which is probably why we found a lone buffalo hiding out in a quiet spot. I don't know why these big creatures fascinate me, but they do.

The rest of stage 4 has been diverted a couple of times by landslides, so the end of the hike is simply following Ngong Ping Road to Sham Wan Road. Nothing picture worthy from there, so here's one of the group that stood on Lantau Peak that day.

This post is part of the Friday Five 2.0 link up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel. Head over to check out some more awesome posts.

If you're a hiker, what is the highest peak you've climbed? I think my highest peak is Mt. Batur in Bali.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stages 9 & 10

Hiking has become one of my favorite non-running activities.

The 70 kilometer Lantau Trail has always been a bit intimidating to me. Maybe it's because I can see the peaks and ridges looming over life on Lantau Island. Or maybe it's because I remember hiking stages 1 and 2 back in January.

I'm glad that I didn't pass on the invitation to hike stages 9 & 10 with the AWA hiking group because it was a fabulous coastal walk. These stages of the trail done together make a longish hike, but it's an easy one with only a few climbs of less than 100m.

Stage 9 began at Shek Pik Reservoir. To get here we took Bus 11 from Tung Chung. We crossed the road to take in the views across the reservoir. The blue sky made a spectacular backdrop for the Big Buddha sitting up between the two lower peaks.

We hopped on the trail at marker L089 heading toward the village of Shui Hau where we would transition to stage 10.

As we walked down toward the coastline, it didn't take long for us to get some amazing views of the sea and the Soko Islands on the horizon.

We passed two notable campsites along the trail: Shek Lam Chau and Lo Kai Wan. Shek Lam Chau was basically just a sign along the trail. I think there was a path that led down to a camping area on a beach. At Lo Kei Wan campsite there was a toilet so it was a good place to take a break. It was right off the trail and on the beach, but sadly the beach was not clean at all.

Most of stage 9 was easy walking along a dirt path or large stones. There were some small climbs and descents, but it was mostly flat and hugged the coastline. It was also fairly shaded, so this would be a good hike to do in the summer.

Just before reaching the village of Shui Hau, the trail turned more concrete and we came upon our first group of local buffalo having a bit of a siesta.

After transitioning to stage 10 via the small village, we walked for most of the 6.5km along the water catchment. It's mostly all flat with not much to see, but it's quick and a good section for chatting.

We did pass through a village cemetery section on our way up to the water catchment. We saw these stone urns lined up in bunches in a few places.

At Lantau Trail marker 113, the end of stage 10, we crossed the road and headed down to walk the last bit of our hike along Cheung Sha beach.

Another interesting sight on stage 10 was our second buffalo sighting on the beach. These three appeared to be people watching and probably taking in the beautiful views just like we were ;)

At the end of Cheung Sha beach there is a choice to walk around on a path or do a bit of bouldering to get to Lower Cheung Sha beach. Our group is the adventurous type, so we climbed.

The climbing is fairly simple to start, but eventually requires some scooting under ledges and climbing down through holes. Teamwork got us all out on the other side.

The last bit of walking along Lower Cheung Sha beach took us up to a cluster of restaurants where we filled ourselves on some good Italian food at Lantana. We took bus 11 to get back to Tung Chung.

What do you do when you are not running?
What kind of hike do you prefer - easy or difficult?

Other hiking posts:

Today I'm doing the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stage 1 and 2

While on a hike with the AWA hiking group in November, another hiker recommended the hiking group Hong Kong Hikers (dot org). HKH is a social hiking group that organizes a variety of hikes all over Hong Kong and the territories.

I took her advice and signed up with the group (it's free) and then promptly started receiving email invites to all kinds of hikes. All kinds! They hike nearly every day during the winter it seems.

Last week, mrC and I joined what HKH called the First Friday Social Hike of 2017 ---> to hike Lantau Trail from Pak Kung Au to Mui Wo via Sunset Peak at a social (aka slow) pace. Sunset Peak is the third highest peak in Hong Kong at 869 meters above sea level. Lantau Trail is a 70km trail loop that begins and ends at Mui Wo. We hiked stages 1 and 2 in reverse in two groups: the moderate group (us) and the easy group that hiked along the South Lantau Trail.

Starting from Pak Kung Au at around 340m, the beginning of the hike was a steep climb up some 500 meters to Sunset Peak ridge. The climb was a mix of steps of varying heights mixed with some rocky trail. mrC and I learned that our fast pace was the group's slow pace, at least at first. The group got slower as the hike went on.

Once at the top, the views were amazing. We were lucky that the skies were so clear that day, too. Not a guarantee in the winter. Not that it was feeling much like winter that day with temps in the high 70s.

Less than 100 meters more to get to the actual summit of Sunset Peak (behind us in the pic below). Even though I was tired as hell, I would've gone to the top but our group leader said (something like) we didn't have time (we had to meet up with the group that took an easier hike), the summit was a small space, and the views were basically the same from where we were on the ridge. OhhhhKaaaay?

After a short break and picture taking, we hiked along the ridge passing a number of huts scattered over the slopes. I heard someone say they were built by missionaries working in China, but are now available to be rented for overnight stays. I could never do that! We followed the trail down to Nam Shan.

At Nam Shan we met up with the group that had taken the South Lantau Trail and together we all followed Lantau Trail section 1 into Mui Wo. Most of this trail was covered which we needed desperately because neither one of us remembered sunscreen ---> and we did get sunburned.

We saw a group of water buffalo right off the path as we entered town. This was my first big wild animal sighting.

It was good thing I had a big protein smoothie before leaving the apartment. It held me over nicely until we had a late lunch in Mui Wo at The Kitchen ---> a great place by the way. We had smoothies and pizza that were really good. It's right on the waterfront and the service was very good.

Travel details: From Discovery Bay, mrC and I took the DB01R bus to Tung Chung to meet the group at Starbucks outside the Metro. Our group of abut 30 hikers then loaded onto the #3M bus to Pak Kung Au where we would start the hike. At the bus stop, we walked uphill a few minutes to a set of steps on the left that lead to the trail head. Starting at Pak Kung Au meant that the bus gave us a 300+m head start to the Sunset Peak ridge.

GPS from MapMyHike app:

This hike was hard, but totally worth it. Now I'm looking forward to hiking more of the Lantau Trail.