Sunday, March 18, 2018

Maclehose Trail 麥理浩徑 Stage 5

I was originally planning to run up to Fai Ngo Shan today.  But when I arrived at Sha Tin Pass 沙田坳 after running for 10 km from Hung Hom, I realised I was at the entry point of Maclehose Trail Stage 5, between Shatin Pass and Tai Po Road.  I remembered that my daughter A had mentioned it, which runs through Lion Rock 獅子山, which I have not tried.  So I decided on the spot to do it.  

Along the way, I was treated to panoramic views of Kowloon.  It gave me the feeling of a sea of concrete threatening to swallow whatever nature is left in the city.  It reminded me that Hong Kong has a landed area of one thousand square kilometres (which we discussed only yesterday in our class preparing the team of students to do their service-learning project in Rwanda in June.  But we decided to squeeze ourselves onto only 7% of the total land area.  That leaves us with some nature as breathing space for the weekends, which I was enjoying at that exact moment.  But that also means we are suffocating ourselves in a sea of concrete and glass - and bad air.  

Thanks for the country parks, we do have some rocky trails to escape to.  And forests that can swallow us should we slip off the trails.  I shuddered to think what could happen should that happen to me.  But this is also Hong Kong - beautiful, enticing and slightly dangerous and mysterious nature.  

The trail skirted some well-built and well-maintained graves.  Someone must have been taking care of them.  It does take some effort to come up here regularly.  

Some flowers look like 洋紫荊(Bauhinia × blakeana).  But I remembered my daughter A telling me that they are probably 宮粉羊蹄甲 (Bauhinia variegata).

Then I also found some small, white and very fragrant flowers.  They resemble but are probably not 米仔蘭.  I have yet to find out what they really are.  

Later on, on Tai Po Road, someone was drying some Tree Cotton flower (木棉花).  I heard that they have medicinal use - it is one of the ingredients of 五花茶.  Perhaps that is why.  

When I reached Tai Po Road after hiking for about 8 kilometers, I found someone fishing in Kowloon Reservoir.  Perhaps they have a license?  In any case, it looked rather enjoyable and scenic.  

There were, of course, those ubiquitous monkeys.  Many people come to see them, and to feed them.  But I don't really like them. 

I decided to continue to run along Tai Po Road to get to Shatin.  Along the way, I passed a spot overlooking a highway leading to a tunnel, complete with toll-booths.  I remember when I encountered this several years back, I thought it was the Shing Mun Tunnel 城門隧道 - between Shatin and Tsuen Wan.  But it couldn’t be - since the Shing Mun Tunnel should be to the north and west of Tai Po Road.  But this one is south and east of Tai Po Road.  Later I realised that this is actually Tsing - Sha Highway 青沙公路 and Tunnel.  I do notice that each time I passed it, the traffic is very thin.  Is it really worth the money spent on building it?  

In the distance I would still see Lion Rock.  

Then I passed again a badly-deteriorated tire that I have seen earlier.  A reminder how hazardous the highway can be - if you have bad tires.  

I ended up in Tai Wai, very tired, but also very satisfied.  Because of the exertion running and hiking the 23 kilometers, but also because of the encounters on the way.  My legs were weak and feet sore.  But I am sure I will come this way again. 


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

The shrub with the white flowers and lovely scent is Chinese privet or Ligustrum sinense.
Best, Christine

StephenC said...

Thank you so much, Christine. Now I know that it is 小蠟樹.