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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hiking: Maclehose Stage 4

They say that stage 4 is one of the toughest of the Maclehose Trail. I sure hope so, because it was hard hiking. Thank goodness for compression socks!

The hike starts with a strenuous climb up to 540 meters (we started around 80). At the top, I stared at the towering peak of Ma On Shan (702 meters) and thought about the day I might conquer it.

The reward after that big first climb is getting to spend time in the uplands and walking along the ridge. I thought this would be a great place to sit and enjoy a packed lunch while taking in the panoramic views over Sai Kung and Ma On Shan.

The ridge eventually takes a big descent down to Ngong Ping viewing area which is where we found loads of paragliders. This was an excellent spot to take a little break and grab a snack.

You would think that big climb is what makes this stage so challenging. For me, it was the big descent after and the multiple ups and downs after that. Descents are hard on the knees, and REALLY hard on mine. The final descent was the toughest, but we did get some amazing views all the way toward Central.

Stage 4 ends in an awkward place. If you are hoping to find public transport at the finish, you either decide to do this hike backwards with a big walk-in or carry on to stage 5. Our hiking group opted to have a big walk-out at the END...this was about another hour walk down a sloped road through the land of monkeys.

View from the top and the elevation chart. The view makes all that climbing worth it!

In a couple of weeks we will be moving on to the next stage and I'm hoping the hard part is behind us.

Previous Maclehose Trail hikes:

How do you rate difficult hikes? (Length, ascent, descent, terrain)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hiking: Maclehose Trail Stage 3

Embrace the hill!

That should be the mantra heading into this hike because the climbing is no joke.

I'm on a mission to hike all 100 km of the Maclehose Trail in Hong Kong. Unofficially, I started this trail when I hiked stage 2 with my SWIC hiking friends a couple of years ago. Now I'm teaming up with my AWA hiking friends to hopefully finish this beast.

Stage 3 of the Maclehose Trail is rated difficult because of the multiple climbs and rugged trail. You won't find any concrete paths or stairs on this one, but flat rock steps help on the ascents.

The first climb takes you up to Ngau Yee Shek Shan/Ngam Tau Shan at over 400 meters. Although it is quite challenging making your way up, the views of the mountains of Sai Kung and the South China Sea in the distance make rest stops along the way enjoyable (especially if you are there on a clear day).

A rather long and gradual descent takes you to a camping area at Cheung Sheung. This was a large area but the only living creature we saw on this drizzly day was a cow.

The second climb is short and sweet. Here you get the first views of the other side of the mountain toward Three Fathoms Cove and the skyscrapers of Ma On Shan.

Another drop down sets the stage for the final and most grueling climb of the day. The trail is the most rugged and steepest yet as you make your way up to Kai Kung Shan at 399 meters. Sadly after all that climbing we found ourselves in a cloud with no hope for a view.

It was all downhill from there. Literally. The trail gradually and slowly descends to Kei Ling Ha. Slowly because the trail is completely covered with irregular rocks.

At the end of stage 3 there is a very nice picnic area, rest rooms and a vending machine with water. A short walk takes you to the bus stops.

Other hard hikes in Hong Kong:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hiking: 3 Best Parts of the MacLehose Trail Section 2

The SWIC hiking group from Shenzhen came over to Hong Kong to hike so I made plans to meet up with them. It was going to be an early start for me, so the night before I laid out everything including my hiking outfit. #flathiker

OOTD: shoessports bratankshortslong sleeve topwaterbottlesunglasses,
(After checking and rechecking the weather, I switched to capris)

Since I live in Discovery Bay, I had to take the ferry to Central and hop on the metro there to meet the group at the University station on the East Rail Line. Having given myself plenty of time to get lost (and then not getting lost), I was more than early. I had plenty of time to use the toilets and buy myself some breakfast ---> a fancy version of a pop tart. I felt like I was 12 years old eating this thing, but it was good!

When the SWIC group arrived we jumped into taxis and headed to where we would jump onto section 2 of the trail. This part started with some rolling climbs, but we were distracted by the amazing views off to the right.

Instead of trying to explain the route of the hike and what we saw along the way, I thought I would just share my three favorite parts. This means that all that I am really leaving out are the long walks up and down in between. (Full disclosure, some of the ups were really UP!)

Three best parts to hiking Section 2 of the MacLehose Trail:

#1 The Beaches - It was picture perfect: blue skies, white sand, gentle melodic waves. When we arrived at the first beach it was as if we were all being pulled by a magnet out onto the sand. It didn't take long for us to start taking group selfies.

Sai Wan Beach

Ham Tin Wan Beach

#2 The Waterfall at Sai Kung Rock Pools - besides being just stunning (the water was really that blue), it was an adventure to get to them. About six of us braved the more challenging climb to really get up close. If it had been warmer, I bet I would have pictures of SWIC hikers swimming and jumping off the rocks.

#3 Lunch - ok, this is not about the food. Well, not really. I loved that we had to cross this seriously shanty bridge to get inland. It was as unsteady as it looks in the photos. On the other side were two snack shack type restaurants and public toilets. For those of us who did not pack a lunch, this place had sandwiches, rice, noodles, beverages, and ice cream ---> all the important stuff.

After lunch we hiked our way back inland to catch a bus and a taxi back to the metro station.

Although my watch died on the hike, here's what I know:

distance: 13.5km
time: 5 hours
Step total: 24,847!!

Other hiking posts I've written:

Exploring Chiwan, Shenzhen
Shenzhen International Garden & Flower Expo Park
Dragon's Back and Big Wave Bay

Shenzhen Botanical Gardens
Kuta, Bali: Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek
Hiking: Tai O to Tung Chung
Hiking Discovery Bay: Lookout Point Loop