Showing posts with label SWIC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SWIC. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hiking: Wilson Trail Stages 3 & 4

It was finally time to continue hiking Wilson Trail in Hong Kong with my hard core hiking friends from Shenzhen. We finished stages 1 & 2 a few weeks ago (before everyone scattered on Lunar New Year vacations) and were ready to take on more of the long trail.

We began the 17.3km hike with a nice walk from the MTR to the trail head.  The views across the harbor let us put off the inevitable climbing for a few extra minutes.

#17strong hard core hikers at the stage 3 start ---> these feet were about to take a beating!

We found the steps at the start of stage 3 after walking through the alleyways of the seafood district along the water.

The trail led us to this huge Chinese Permanent Cemetery overlooking the bay.

The climb continued up to Devil's Peak. Although we did not take the path all the way to the summit (222m) we still had great views.

The trail then continued up to Black Hill (304m) where we had great views of Kowloon.

We weren't the only hard core hikers out that day. Here we are with another large group also hiking stage 3.

Near the end of stage 3 an interesting trail art gallery distracted us briefly from the fact that we still had 8km to hike and we hadn't eaten lunch yet!

We had to walk through a village to stage 4 - this part of the trail was tough between the rocky, rooty terrain and the peaks of sun made it harder to see the ground. It was a welcome reprieve from the bright sun with plenty of shade. Along this part we also passed another large group of hard core hikers.

When we found a large shaded spot on the trail, we finally stopped for lunch. I really needed more than half a sandwich and grapes. It's hard to know how much to pack and my backpack doesn't make it easy. I'm on the hunt for a better pack ---> maybe this one, this one, or this one. Do you have a favorite? I'd love suggestions.

After passing through another much smaller village we began the climb to Tate's Cairn (Pass) and lost all cover of shade. We were lucky to be doing this hike in February when the temperature was only 65-70F, otherwise we would have definitely struggled a lot more.

The open trail did provide amazing views though, especially of Sai Kung and Hebe Haven Harbour.

Although it is a common feng shui practice (graves facing water and high up to avoid evil spirits), it was still shocking to see horseshoe graves along the ascent knowing how hard it is to get to them.

We eventually made it to our last peak of the day at Tate's Cairn/Pass (577m). The afternoon skies were not as clear as the morning, but the views were still pretty.

We followed the road to the end of the trail at Shatin Pass and were excited to get our first monkey sightings. They were scavenging in the trash and aggressive so after a quick photo we moved out of their space.

We found a little shop selling overpriced bottles of water there so many of us were able to resupply before walking DOWN the never-ending very steep road to the MTR.

Sadly I will miss the hike on Wilson Trail stage 5 because we will be in the US for a couple of weeks, but I hope to hike it on my own asap!

Other Hong Kong long trail hikes:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Workout Recap - A Week of Love

Tough Love. love...hard core hiking...HIIT...running. All things that make my heart race, get me sweaty, and put a smile on my face. This is where I put my heart this week.

Monday - I love that Bodystep was offered on a Monday this week (normally only on Fridays). I was still sore from Saturday's GRIT class, but I was able to keep up during most of the class. I thought my legs would feel better after from all the movement, but...not so much!

Tuesday - mrC was home for the day, so we spent it together fasting. We took a walk to pick up dinner ingredients and did some Valentine's Day #loveyoga on the Love Locks Promenade because we walked right by it.

I'm so excited to have an extra pair of Oofos to wear outside!

Wednesday - My stomach woke me up about 2AM (not fun) and my quads were still very sore from back-to-back-to-back GRIT, running and Bodystep, so it was a slow and easy day. No matter the reason, I love that I'm ok with an unscheduled rest day.

Thursday - I love spending time with my Shenzhen hard core hiking friends. They came over to hike  Hong Kong again. We finished Wilson Trail sections 3 and 4 together: 38,000+ steps, 17.9 miles, and 264 floors climbed! We killed it!

Friday - Hard to believe my legs were up for Bodystep, but I'm happy they were because I love the calories I can burn in this class. It is quickly becoming my favorite class at The HIT Room.

Saturday - I was back at The HIT Room for another workout. GRIT strength is seriously hard, but I love the high intensity interval workout and it's a perfect match for low carb days. Today we did about 35 minutes of HIIT and 15 minutes of core work.

Sunday - The day I look forward to the most because running is my first love. I'm soaking up every moment of my interval runs including the post run stretch.

What got your heart racing this week?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Workout Recap - Going Hard-Core

Going hard core sounds dramatic. It might imply extremism or craziness. It actually describes anyone who is dedicated, committed, active. Someone like me and you. This week I was all hard core in hiking, fitness, and experiencing Hong Kong.

Here's a closer look:

Monday - My SWIC hiking friends have created a Hard Core Hikers group and decided to work on hiking all 78km of the Wilson Trail here in Hong Kong. We hiked the first two stages (recap coming eventually) ---> about 11.4km and the equivalent of climbing 284 flights. My legs were SORE!

Tuesday - I like to keep busy on my fast day, so mrC and I went on a quick trip to Central and did a bit of walking around. Then I decided to do some online window shopping because I'm not loving my hiking shoes after all and I need a new pair of good walking around shoes. I really like these Adidas trail shoes (below), but I also like these, these, and these (more for running/workouts though). I also like slip-ons like thesethese, these, and these. I also have my eye on this North Face backpack for women and this cute everyday bag from Sherpani. My wishlist is pretty long, right?

Wednesday - I started the day with some Bodypump. It wasn't my best day (my legs were still sore from my big hike), but I pushed through.

Thursday - I met up with my Foon Ying group in Central where we learned some great tips about shops/restaurants and how to get around on the elevated walkways ---> they're like a maze but can keep you out of the street traffic.

Friday - I did a bit of walking on a historical tour of Kowloon City with AWA and saw remnants of an old walled city. It's amazing to see old and new like that.

Saturday - An early session of Bodypump got my day started. It was a better workout and I got some great form tips from the instructor during and after class. I'm super excited to be keeping up with my twice a week goal.

Sunday - This week I increased my intervals to 25 seconds run: 20 seconds walk. I'm feeling good but still planning to make my progression a slow one. It might only be a mile, but it's my pain-free mile!

In what areas do you consider yourself hard-core?
What's on your shopping wishlist?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hong Kong Trail - Sections 5-7

Having already completed Hong Kong Trail Section 8 (Dragon's Back) twice and recently completed Sections 1-4, it just made sense to join a couple of the SWIC ladies who were doing Sections 5-7 so I could say I finished all 50km of the Hong Kong Trail.

*warning ---> lots of pictures in this post!

I met the girls at the Jardine House Starbuck's in Central. I don't normally get coffee from here, but I was early and thought it would guarantee me a pass to use their toilets. It went really well with my gluten free raspberry protein bar, too (recipe). This is a great meeting spot since the bus terminus at Exchange Square is right across the street.

Section 5 trail head on Wong Nad Chung Gap Road is easy to find, but that's the only thing that is easy about this part. There are two peaks to conquer along the way which means a ton of climbing.

This section should just be named the STAIRMASTER! I'm pretty sure all 4km are steps going either up or down (maybe a slight exaggeration, but not much) which is why this part is tagged as hard.

The reward for all that climbing of course is the spectacular views. At 433m, Jardine's Lookout offers great views of the concrete jungle in Central and Kowloon left behind for the day.

After a short break taking in the views and taking pictures, we headed down, down, down.

After a lot of steep steps down and then up again, we reached the second peak at Mount Butler (436m). There's something about a You are here sign that helps you quickly forget the demanding climb you just did.

My new hiking shoes were awesome all day, but I still needed to rest my feet overlooking views of Tai Tam Reservoir. Had. To. This would be a great place for a quick snack or even lunch.

North Face Litewave Explorer 

After a brief easy ridge walk, we were on our way down again. I've read that there are 599 dizzying steps to close out this section of the trail near the quarry. I believe it.

Section 6 starts at Quarry Gap which feels like a rest stop with it's large open space, toilets, shelters, and barbecue area. After a very hilly start to our hike, we took our time and enjoyed a snack break here.

This 4.5km section of the Hong Kong Trail is popular and relatively easy since most of the walking is downhill toward the reservoir and paved. We saw the most people on this section. There are also several big picnic areas before reaching the reservoir which make a perfect spot for lunch if you prefer a quieter spot than Quarry Gap which we did.

The trail goes across the different reservoir sections (I think there are four) and although there are signs posted asking to not feed the fish, people were indeed feeding the fish. They look well fed!!

The last part of this section is dirt trail and nicely shaded. This worked perfectly for our hike as the sun peeped out from the clouds around this time.

Section 7 was the longest section of our hike this day at 7.5km and again mostly concrete. Like all the other sections, the start is marked by a large map (Hint: this information plays a crucial role in events later).

This section of the trail is not very exciting. Most of it runs beside the water catchment. It is level though, so the walking goes pretty quickly. Nearing the end we got some great views of Tai Tam Harbour and the surrounding villages.

We knew that this part would be mainly flat with the exception of a large section of steps (700 according to the Hong Kong hiking website). Although we didn't see a trail sign, we took a set of 700 steps up to what we thought would be Shek O Road. Turns out we were 2km EARLY. There was no section 8 trail sign waiting for us at the top.

Even though I missed 2km of section 7 (I was too tired to go back down to walk 2km and climb another set of 700 steps), I'm still calling myself a Hong Kong Trail 50km finisher! (sidenote: we took some bad advice from a couple of hikers near these steps ---> always refer to your own maps and trail descriptions!)

We were still able to catch the bus to the metro station and head back to Central. Although it was a weekday, the bus was so crowded we had to stand. After walking most of 16km on concrete, my feet were tired and all I could think about was sitting down.

Other hiking posts:

Tell me...
What is your favorite coffee spot?
Do you wear hiking shoes or regular shoes on hikes?
Would you have gone back to do the 2km (plus 1400 steps)?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hong Kong Trail: Sections 1-4

Those SWIC hikers can get me to do anything...including hiking 25k in one day! I met up with my Shenzhen friends to hike sections 1-4 of the Hong Kong Trail. I did section 8, known as Dragon's Back, with them in January and again with the AWA hiking group last month. I guess it was time to branch out.

Section 1 begins at The Peak, which is a great starting point since there's a Starbuck's for the coffee lovers and toilets. Some hikers might even start late enough to enjoy the shops in the mall. We took a bus from Central, but there are many options to get up to The Peak. The Peak Tram is probably the most popular, but also more expensive.

The Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island so the hike starts with the best views of Central and Kowloon. I bet the first 3km offers varying views like this.

Although this section is categorized as easy, it is still 7km long. We were prepared with plenty of water for hiking all four sections, but we used a mini filtration system to refill our bottles when we could along the trail.

Section 2 is a fairly easy 4.5km walk through the woods. This section is popular for quick hikes because you get a lot of nature in a short time and it's easy to start/finish at either end.

The trail heads toward Aberdeen and along the way you get some great views. If you opt out after section 2, the hike can end by continuing down into Aberdeen and past the large cemetery ---> center of photo below.

This section is mostly concrete walking paths and steps, but it's all very manageable. Although most of this section is shaded by foliage, walking along the catch water is open to the sun.

The last part of the trail is a flight of steep steps, but off to the right is a shelter perfect for a quick rest or even lunch. There's also a great viewing area of some of the outlying islands like Lamma, Peng Chau and Lantau. I could even see Discovery Bay!

Section 3 takes about 2 hours to cover the 6.5km because like section 2 it's mostly an easy walk through the woods. We passed by lots of small waterfalls, but much fewer people.

Best hiking material = linen. My tank was so comfortable all day!

Dirt trails mean a lot of happy hiking, but there are also a lot of rocks and roots in the path. So while feeling closer to nature, my neck hurts from looking down so long and occasionally I trip  or stub a toe. Like I said, happy hiking!

We stopped for lunch along this section and one of the girls shared these amazing gluten-free pumpkin muffins (she modified this recipe). I can't wait to make some of my own.

Section 4 is another 7.5km of comfortable hiking trails with a brief climb near the end. This part of the trail was probably 50/50 paved/unpaved and took about 2 hours to complete.

There's nothing better on a hike than enjoying some unexpected scenery. We were thrilled to come across the occasional poinsettia, especially since it is nearly Christmas.

We knew the end was near when we started getting glimpses of Ocean Park, a marine-life theme park with animals and rides divided into zones. The main attraction is the pandas.

The end! We made it! From here we hopped on a bus back to Central. My friends went back to Shenzhen and I caught the ferry to Discovery Bay.

I'll mention here that I did this hike right after returning from Phuket and catching a cold (probably on the plane). I was feeling, meh at the beginning, but by the time the final photo was taken I was feeling pretty miserable. Somehow I still finished my longest hike so far!

Coming up: Hong Kong Trail: Sections 5-7!!