Possibly because I used phrases like "I can't think of a better place in Hong Kong to head out to" and "this mountain is simply magic", my run on the weekend happened to prove me wrong (I'm very happy to be wrong about this!) and top my Kai Keng Leng run.
I originally wanted to run Wilson Trail sections 10 to 8, which would have been a total of around 27km, but I'm very glad I listened to my brother-in-law Wai, and we only went for sections 8 and 9. Given the hot midday sun and fairly challenging route, the 17km or so was beautiful and brutal.
Cloudy Hill certainly lived up to it's name at the start of our trail run/hike but a couple of hours later, the sun would burn through the clouds, beating down on our backs.
The sun briefly breaks through the clouds highlighting this village
I found this little guy while scrambling around on the cliff face looking for a photo op (I was, not him!). He seemed quite pleased to be on a high perch.
Crossing the reservoir before starting the 550m climb up towards Pat Sin Leng. As I've worn the thigh-length skin and CompressRX Calve-sleeve combination on the last 3 long sunny runs (Kai Kung Leng, HK Trail and this run), it's easy to see here how I've ended up with sharp tan lines above and below my knees.
The only other place I've ever seen one of these warning signs was on MacLehose Trail section 2, and I don't think that climb was particular demanding (although, like this one, quite remote).
So far, in terms of hardest climbs that I've done in HK, I'd rate:
1. Ma On Shan (MacLehose Trail Section 4),
2. Ping Fung Shan / Wong Leng (Wilson Trail Section 9 - this climb),
3-4. Kowloon Peak (Wilson Trail Section 4) & Ngau Yee Shek Shan (MacLehose Trail Section 3),
5. Needle Hill (MacLehose Trail Section 7).
There's a few obvious ones that haven't made the list because I haven't climbed them recently: Sharp Peak, Sunset Peak or a couple of others on Lantau... guess I'll have to add those to the list of things to do before I return to Melbourne!
The mid-sections of this mount are guarded by rocky outcorps. Awesome and menacing
This is very much a climb with distinct bands. At first it's trees and dense foliage (see near the sign above), then you work your way onto a ridge line, where the trees give way to shrubs, which give way to grass, becoming rocky higher (as above). And then you move into a valley (this photo) with a little shrubbery, before you emerge onto the plateau of flat grassland and wonderful white trails (lots of chalk in the soils I'd guess)
A delicate little wild daisy
White trails as we emerge onto the flat ridgeline
A large flock of small birds twist and turn in the sky, looking more like a school of fish than individuals flying through the air.
Stunning twisting white trails... I was enthralled by this landscape, the photos do it very little justice
I tree stands alone at a small concrete stream crossing
Bam... What a treasure hidden high in Hong Kong's north-eastern New Territories
Sun beating down, Wai uses his sunglasses to gain a bit of the dynamic range back
Looking back over the terrain we covered. Stunning, even on such a hazy day
A strange building atop a mountain just across the border in Mainland China
A lot of the ground was covered in this towers of mud. My only theory on what may have caused them is a recent very hot fire causing water to boil in the soil?
Climbing the Pat Sin Leng Range, which is the main attraction of the region was rather disappointing. Not that the scenery was bad, just that fully paved trails bustling with people grabs me far less than the beautiful open vistas and white trails we'd covered earlier
This view would be unbelievable on a clear day. Forget the long lusted for shots of HK Harbour sans haze... This is where I want to be
From standing on the datum, the colour difference between the reservoir and sea is very obvious.
Still having problems with my GPS, both the profile and route map are missing about the first 1km.
The section marked "Pat Sin Leng" is actually for "Pat Sin Leng Country Park" and nowhere near Pat Sin Leng at all. Pat Sin Leng range is about halfway between the mountain marker and the end of the trail and the Mountain marker is actually Wong Leng which comes after the beautiful white trailed section of the route.
The climb, particularly between kms 7 & 8 was rather brutal, but well worth it to gain access to the ridge-line.
This is definitely a route that I'd love to do again sometime soon. Perhaps even as a hike with my DSLR and camera gear to try to get a couple of really great captures of the landscape. A very very awesome run. Fingers crossed that with all my over-exuberance I can run in an even more beautiful place soon.
See you out on the trails
PS. It's the final week of the photo comp. Entries will close at midnight (HK time) on Friday, so if you're going to enter, better do it soon!