Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hiking up 大刀岃

A couple of months ago, we hiked up 大刀岃.  It is a series of mountains somewhat between Taipo and Fanling.  We started near Kadoorie Farms, and were climbing up almost right away.  Soon we could see Shek Kong right below us, and Yuen Long in the distance.  The climb got steeper and steeper very quickly.  It was cool and bright, but a little hazy.  We felt fresh.  For a moment, we could pretend we were released from the daily grind. 

I enjoy hiking tremendously - the strenuous exertion, the scenery, the opportunity to see nature close up, and the sense of achievement.  But as I get older, my fear of heights gets worse.  As long as I am climbing up, I have no problems and I can climb faster than most.  But if I look down, my knees would feel weak, and I would begin to fear that I might fall.   

At one point, we were literally walking along the knife’s edge.  The mountain was falling away quite steeply on both sides.   I looked straight ahead and dared not look sideways.  But none of my friends seemed to have the same problem - I was so embarrassed.  I am now trying to strengthen my knees and to improve my balance.  But I also learned that I probably have a kind of height vertigo which has a physical basis and is not easy to get rid of. 

When we got to a safer location (for me) and were able to stop to look around, and down, the views were breath-taking.  On one side, we could see Taipo and beyond.  On the other side, Fanling and Sheungshui.   I could pick out Long Valley, where there were still some cultivated fields and freshwater wetlands.  It was delightful to know that we were high in the mountains where they were nothing but trees and rocks, seemingly far from the maddening crowds.  And yet familiar locales were close enough that we could almost touch them. 

On the way back to civilization, we saw a beautiful cherry blossom (someone must have planted it). 

And then there was this well-fed and friendly tabby cat. 


YTSL said...

Hi Stephen --

If it's any consolation, I'm the same as you in terms of having a fear of heights that has become noticeable on some hikes in Hong Kong. Like my regular hiking companion has observed, I go uphill faster than her but go downhill slower than her.

For that reason, I've been afraid of going along Pat Sin Leng -- whose path, I've heard, is on the narrow side -- and also up and down High Junk Peak... something which I've noticed that you managed to do -- for which I congratulate you.

StephenC said...

Thank you for the empathy, and the kind words. On the one hand, I blame my fear on getting old. On the other, I am upset at myself for the fear. I am also thankful for having some very good friends.

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