Saturday, October 28, 2017

Hiking: Tung Chung to Tai O

About a year ago I did one of my first hikes in Hong Kong. A friend of a friend of a friend from Shenzhen took me on the Tung O Ancient Trail from Tai O to Tung Chung.

Recently, my SWIC hiking friends from Shenzhen were coming to Hong Kong and invited me to join them on the same hike only going the opposite direction. I invited some of my Hong Kong hiking friends and we made a day of it.

The Tung O Ancient Trail is an easy trail to hike but it is long. It passes through many small villages once you escape the mini city of Tung Chung. 

Here are some points of interest along the 15km hike to Tai O:

The beginning of the trail is paved and mostly tree covered as it skirts along Tung Chung Bay. Along this section we had many different views of the Hong Kong Macau Bridge, Hong Kong International Airport and the cable cars making their way up the mountain to the Big Buddha.

This section of the trail was home to small village. Some of the gated homes had tables of fruits and veggies for sale set out along the small road (pay via honor system). We passed some village shrines and then stopped to eat our lunches in the shade.

Before reaching our destination, a section of the trail turned over-grown almost jungle. This part is apparently known for the poisonous Golden Orb spiders (we saw a couple of dead ones on the ground).  The reward for braving the spider walk is the trail opening up to great coastal views of the sea.

Upon reaching the edge of Tai O, the first sight is the Yeung Hau Temple with all it's flag flying across the water inlet. To get there you have to cross the foot bridge that connects to the island of Tai O and walk back on that side. The path continues toward the village proper and around a corner the mountains of Lantau loom up in the distance.

Tai O is a fishing village built on stilts along the Tai O River. The Tung O Ancient Trail winds through the streets of the village and across the Sun Ki Bridge where the famous stilt houses become most visible. On the other side of the bridge are the markets and the Kwan Tai Temple located in the part of the village that is on the island.

Another footbridge connects the two sides of Tai O village. Crossing this bridge leads to the bus terminus, ferry pier and more markets. A large public toilet facility is right near the buses and ferry which makes a nice spot to clean up using my handy Shower Pill body wipes (affiliate).

After finishing our hike, we said good-bye to the SIC hikers and found a table at Black Pearl for a quick bite. We explored the markets and then grabbed a seat on the water at Solo Balcony for a beverage before catching the ferry back to Tung Chung.

Hiking to Tai O is definitely the better way to go. It was fun having my Hong Kong friends hiking with the SWIC hiking group. 

Have you ever had your old and new friends meet up?

Other Lantau Island hikes:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Love the Run and My First Race Day Costume

Yesterday I had to dig deep to love the run.

Mentally I was not strong yesterday. I was excited to run but then my legs felt heavy and I got in my head. It was warm. I felt stiff. There was a big hill at the end. I was all over the place in my thoughts.

Some runs are like that.

But I still love the run.

I must have sweat off my sunscreen again on Monday's hike because I had another sunburned forehead. I don't normally wear a hat because they make me feel even hotter (I have a lot of hair on my head creating my very own insulation!).

My reward for not quitting on my run ---> a little pool time because we still can and who can pass up views of the sea like these? It's pretty cool that the pool is right next to the water.

On Saturday I will be running my first Hong Kong race. The race is Zombie themed and combined with Halloween weekend it kind of seems like a good time to wear a costume.

I've never worn a costume for a race (I don't count the Santa Shuffle I did one year since we were all wearing the same thing and the race gave it to us) so I had to do some online research. There are a lot of choices out there! I decided to do something on the simple side.

My inspiration:

Today I had an appointment in Central which gave me the perfect opportunity to look for costume pieces. I went to Pottinger Street which is one of the best spots to score Halloween costumes and supplies in Hong Kong.

First I found a cheap t-shirt at GAP (affiliate) to pair with my black capris. A little searching among stalls on Pottinger Street and I scored a plain black hat and an eye mask. At home I turned a plastic bag into a bag of money to complete my Bandit look.

Do you wear a hat when you run?
Ever dress up for a race?

Today I’m linking up with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner and I'm linking up with AnnmarieNicole and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stages 9 & 10

Hiking has become one of my favorite non-running activities.

The 70 kilometer Lantau Trail has always been a bit intimidating to me. Maybe it's because I can see the peaks and ridges looming over life on Lantau Island. Or maybe it's because I remember hiking stages 1 and 2 back in January.

I'm glad that I didn't pass on the invitation to hike stages 9 & 10 with the AWA hiking group because it was a fabulous coastal walk. These stages of the trail done together make a longish hike, but it's an easy one with only a few climbs of less than 100m.

Stage 9 began at Shek Pik Reservoir. To get here we took Bus 11 from Tung Chung. We crossed the road to take in the views across the reservoir. The blue sky made a spectacular backdrop for the Big Buddha sitting up between the two lower peaks.

We hopped on the trail at marker L089 heading toward the village of Shui Hau where we would transition to stage 10.

As we walked down toward the coastline, it didn't take long for us to get some amazing views of the sea and the Soko Islands on the horizon.

We passed two notable campsites along the trail: Shek Lam Chau and Lo Kai Wan. Shek Lam Chau was basically just a sign along the trail. I think there was a path that led down to a camping area on a beach. At Lo Kei Wan campsite there was a toilet so it was a good place to take a break. It was right off the trail and on the beach, but sadly the beach was not clean at all.

Most of stage 9 was easy walking along a dirt path or large stones. There were some small climbs and descents, but it was mostly flat and hugged the coastline. It was also fairly shaded, so this would be a good hike to do in the summer.

Just before reaching the village of Shui Hau, the trail turned more concrete and we came upon our first group of local buffalo having a bit of a siesta.

After transitioning to stage 10 via the small village, we walked for most of the 6.5km along the water catchment. It's mostly all flat with not much to see, but it's quick and a good section for chatting.

We did pass through a village cemetery section on our way up to the water catchment. We saw these stone urns lined up in bunches in a few places.

At Lantau Trail marker 113, the end of stage 10, we crossed the road and headed down to walk the last bit of our hike along Cheung Sha beach.

Another interesting sight on stage 10 was our second buffalo sighting on the beach. These three appeared to be people watching and probably taking in the beautiful views just like we were ;)

At the end of Cheung Sha beach there is a choice to walk around on a path or do a bit of bouldering to get to Lower Cheung Sha beach. Our group is the adventurous type, so we climbed.

The climbing is fairly simple to start, but eventually requires some scooting under ledges and climbing down through holes. Teamwork got us all out on the other side.

The last bit of walking along Lower Cheung Sha beach took us up to a cluster of restaurants where we filled ourselves on some good Italian food at Lantana. We took bus 11 to get back to Tung Chung.

What do you do when you are not running?
What kind of hike do you prefer - easy or difficult?

Other hiking posts:

Today I'm doing the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

My (Selfie) Weekly Wrap

My week was super busy even though I started off with a sick day. When looking through my photos trying to decide what I might use in this post, I realized I had a selfie for almost every day. So, I thought it would be fun to look at my workouts for the week from my selfies ;) It's interesting to see myself each day and remember what was going on. As usual, I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for the Weekly Wrap!

Monday - sick day - no workout. no selfie. barely any food. mostly sleep.

Tuesday - Outdoor HIIT workout and a 20 minute LISS walk. I did my workout in the courtyard area in front of our building. It was muggy and warm. A few mosquitos found me.

Wednesday - AWA hike. Met Miss Willy, a whale skeleton, outside the Marine Reserve at Cape D'Aguilar.

Thursday - My return to GRIT class. Pre-class selfie shows my sunburned forehead from Wednesday's hike and long sleeve tee ---> yes it was actually a little chilly that morning.

Friday - Active Recovery Day - Took a history of Hong Kong walking tour. No selfies, but mrC got this one in front of Victoria Harbour.

Saturday - 5k Run. Stopped about half way through at the beach to stretch my legs (keeps my knee happy) and take a selfie. I'm a little sweaty but it was nearly perfect running conditions: 70 degrees and low humidity.

Sunday - Active Recovery Day - I joined the FedEx wives team for the Pink Walk for Breast Health. Ironically I wore a pink sweater to the event and then put on the team shirt which turned out to be white (and it did have a pink BCA ribbon and FedEx logo on each breast ;).

Do you take selfies?
What do your selfies reveal about you or your day?