I haven’t been hiking for a few months now. A combination of weekend working, poor weather, and (let’s be candid here) laziness has seen me spending a lot more time indoors than out on the trail. So when I received an e-mail, out of the blue, from a Couchsurfer telling me that she was just passing through HK and was desperate to see some of the New Territories, and asking whether I had any hikes planned, it was an opportunity to be seized.
We arranged to hike around Sai Kung, and met up at Choi Hung at noon to get the minibus out to the village. The HKO had threatened horrible weather for today so I’d packed waterproofs, spare clothes, and was wearing my treasured Hong Kong Service cap that my father found in the British Legion. Imelda (for that was her name) and I had a pre-hike coffee to get our hearts started and then walked north out of Sai Kung and took a side-trail up through some of the posh houses in those parts, onto the Maclehose Trail itself.
The trail, up there, is fairly difficult walking – rocks and mud made slippery by the rain. I slipped a few times even in proper walking shoes. We found a chunky and iridescent toad on the footpath. And to our delight, the rain held off, and there were even a few tantalising flashes of blue sky as we reached the summit of Pyramid Hill. I had brought my excellent HK Government trail maps, so we were in good hands cartographically speaking. At the ridge of Pyramid Hill, with the clouds wisping in over the peak and the view down to Sha Tin miraculously clear, we took in the amazing views. It was the first time I’d hiked this bit of Maclehose, but I’d do it again tomorrow – the ridge across the summit of the mountain was breathtaking.
From there we slid and stumbled down the other side, through a nest of badly-signposted villages and back into Sai Kung by road, where I fell upon a pint of Hoegaarden with enthusiasm, and I reflected on how much I’d missed the post-hike beer, sore feet, pongy sweat-soaked t-shirts and feeling of achievement. I must do this more often.
So it was a great day out, the weather was perfect (no rain, no heat, no sunburn), the company was splendid, and it was a thousand times better than staying indoors and fiddling with my Linux box.