Hiking up one of Hong Kong's highest peaks
Nature is something I cannot get enough of. And unlike the popular belief that Hong Kong is just a mass of skyscrapers, hiking here is excellent, as I discovered in the first term. I had set myself the goal to hike the picturesque 100km MacLehose trail by the end of my two years in Hong Kong. Well, that being said, I did not have the time to reach that goal yet, but I am a tiny step closer to reach my second goal: hiking up Ma On Shan, one of the highest mountains in Hong Kong with a peak at 702 metres (2,303 ft), 6 times before I go off for college. A few days ago, I did my second hike up. Once again, Ehab (Egypt) was our guide, as he had clibed up ma On Shan 9 times already. With only 3 – 5 hours of sleep, we all woke up at 6 am to start our morning adventure. By 6:30 everybody was at the gate, ready to go. Our hiking team consisted of Ehab, Deema (Palestine/US), Keith (India/Hong Kong), Guy (Israel), Bilal (Pakistan), Jason (Hong Kong), Norbert (Hungary) and me.
The weather was perfect, not too hot, not to cold and a soft breeze made the hike much more enjoyable. Jason made all of us smile by comparing our hike to difficulties in life (“It has up’s and downs. Up is hard, but good”) and we did not lack philosophical thoughts throughout the hike.
It was wonderful. As last time, I enjoyed the upper part of the hike much more than the bottom half. We reached the swings that someone had built and enjoyed a little break before continuing our hike up. Due to Chinese New Year the swings and surrounding trees had been decorated with beautiful flowers and were colorful as never before.
As we hiked uphill, we were surrounded by trees, wild azaleas and rhododendrons, while the mighty Ma On Shan range rose imposingly above us. At parts, we were crawling up the rocks, as the slope had an angle of 70°. Once we reached the first hump of the mountain we could see campus from above and, after about 2.5 hours a superb coastal panorama revealed the Sai Kung Peninsula below us.
The saddle close to the peak, with its rugged rock formations, rewarded us with stunning views of the New Terrritories and walking along these ridge lines was exhilarating. The view from the peak was absolutely breathtaking!
The hike down was just as enjoyable as the hike up, as we had the entire Ma On Shan area with skyscrapers under our feet.
We reached another steep slope and used a rope to go down. Abseiling has never been so much fun! A slippery and rocky trail led us down the mountain and after about 5 hours our feet touched the “normal” ground again.
It took us about 25 minutes to walk back to campus from the end of our hiking trail and with hungry stomachs but happy faces and dirty clothes, we arrived at LPC at almost exactly 11:30 am. Everyone was just waking up and it was unbelievable that we had just climbed up a mountain! Brunch was delicious as always and waking up early had truly been rewarding again!