Beware of Dogs

The soreness from paddling alerted me to the fact that I am not in top fitness. So today, on my final day of the 3 day weekend that should be a 4 day weekend, I went on a run. I walked up the massive set of stairs to the trail, then up the stairs on the trail leading to the path. My goal for the day was to run around the entire loop: a feat I had not yet accomplished.

Sir Cecil’s Ride, is a dirt path that runs flat, midway up a mountain in Hong Kong island. It is not a loop, but there are trails that connect. That is my suspicion anyway. And it is absolutely stunning. Overhanging trees, bamboo, and a dirt trail with occasional city views over the harbor.

After about 40 minutes of walking and jogging on this familiar bit, I was going up a slight incline, and found myself at an intersection, with an open gate straight ahead. I needed to go westward eventually, and the gate was to the west. On one side of the gate it said, “Private Property Beware of Dogs” and the other door said something encouraging about a walking path. It appeared that the private property was the direction from which I was coming, so I went through the gate. I believe this was incorrect.

The path was road like, with those big round mirrors to tell you if there is an oncoming car on each bend. I strolled by two tanned men in broad brimmed hats, apparently cleaning the bushes… hard to tell. I suspect they thought I was a bit crazy for being anywhere near them. I walked past them and then started jogging as soon as I was out of sight.

I jogged past a 20 year abandoned dorm-like buildings cordoned off with barbed wire, only to find a seeming dead end. The windows were rusted and cloudy. Barbed wire appeared to be a tetanus trap. I began to worry that this was an old prison or asylum, and I really shouldn’t be near the place.

Then I came to a dead end.

On the left there was a “Private Road” sign on a gate for cars, with a small pedestrian gate sitting open attached to it, possibly leading to a mansion of some kind. Next to this was a dark navy van. On the other side of the mystery van was a small set of concrete stairs leading into the woods, heading west. I took the stairs. Once again I ran past a sign telling me to “Beware of Dogs” and a new sign saying, “Do Not Touch the Masts.”

“Beware of Dogs” eerily reminded me of some dogs I have seen on Lama Island. That day, Erica and I had been walking–supposedly towards a beach–and took a fork in the road only to find ourselves walking quickly past a mangy dog. Unfortunately, at the end of the path was a large cement building and two more such creatures. About 2 feet tall, gray shaggy fur–the kind that should be brushed shiny–and snarling. Bits of their fur was dreaded into locks, randomly over their coats, with dirt and leaves scattered throughout. The dogs growled, threatening. We backed away slowly, taking care not to run.

I made it without such encounters today. I did, however, discover what was meant by “Masts” when I ran up to a radio station, and the subsequent towers. “Mount Butler H.F. Radio Receiving Station.” Some tall metal frames with wires, surrounded by low grasses and small dirt paths characteristic of power lines. I did stay clear of the masts.

I was also somehow 200 meters higher in elevation than I expected. I wonder how I made it so high up the mountain without realizing. The path had sloped gradually, placing me a short staircase from the peak. Perhaps I should have looked around more thoroughly and actually crested the mountain. But I was a bit more concerned with finding my way back to a path I recognized.

This so-called trail was a bit overgrown, as it is probably only used for maintenance; I wound my way westward until I saw some steps across the valley. I went down towards these stairs, and instead of going up to the right I turned left and downhill. This led me to a steep meandering staircase descending for at least a hundred meters, until I plopped down the last few steps into Sir Cecil’s Ride. This is a path I had done before. I ran the two kilometers back to the road and walked 15 minutes downhill to my apartment. Success.

I have still not done the full loop, because of the private property. I suspect it is more maintained than the masted radio trails. Next time I will go the other way around. 

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