I did a couple of hikes recently. One was actually boring, it didn’t work out: Hong Kong trail 7. It was okay, there were some good moments: abandoned villages on HK island, gorgeous flowers, and Stanley Harbor. I went around one of the villages, overgrown with fig trees. You don’t have to go all the way out to Cambodia to see trees climbing over and destroying structures.
So that wasn’t super amazing, but there were good moments. What is amazing is Sai Kung.
I went out there with some co-workers on an incredibly hot day earlier this month, and we were going to climb up Sharp Peak–a knife like peak on the far eastern side of Hong Kong. The heat was a bit too much for me when I got out onto the exposed ridge leading up to it. My hat, liters of water, and lathered sunscreen were not keeping me cool. Instead of risking heatstroke, we turned around and headed for the beach. The water was mercifully clear (relatively), the sand soft and (relatively) clean. Some other friends joined us for lunch, and then we went off to the waterfalls near Sai Wan.
This stream is clear, fresh, and heavenly. The water is actually cool, in the middle of a valley leading to the open ocean. From here we met some students completing a video project, of all of them jumping from the ledge into the deep swimming hole. One overweight kid was on video camera, he offered to put us in the project, another with thick rimmed glasses (with fake lenses?) was taking photos while the other 4 were clamoring over rocks to get the shots.
We joined them in the jumping, but not in the video. This is the place for cliff jumping. Climbing up to the ledge for jumping is the most frightening part. You have to climb up to the top of the water fall, then around the ledge, then to avoid walking on moving water, you have to climb over jutting rocks, clinging tightly to the cliff face, hips as close to solid rock as possible, while hoping your handholds are solid. Below you is 5 meters (about) of jagged stone. Thankfully, after you ease yourself down from the outcrop, you arrive at a naturally flat stone platform. From there you can see one large rock to the right, a meter beneath the surface, and the center of the swimming hole is dark blue and deep. If you stare at it too long you get scared. You just have to decide to jump off. And you do. And the water is clear and perfect and cool and cleansing.
This hike is way more fun. I had done this section before, but it is worth multiple repeats. The swimming hole in Sai Wan, and the beach created nice breaks for all. From there we went through another beach and hiked 7k to a bus stop. The 94 bus took us to Sai Kung Town, the minibuses from there took us to the MTR, the MTR took us our separate ways home. We took the 94 bus to get out in the beginning as well, just got off at Pak Tam Au and started hiking.
Words cannot express the amazement I felt seeing you fall in streaked speed surrounded by a perfectly focused rocky cliff! But I will try: WHOoOA!!! I used to think there was a time when I had no fear, but now I realize I was too afraid to do that! Beautiful!