Friday, November 10, 2017

Hiking: Lantau Trail Stages 3 and 4 (Lantau Peak)

It was time to cross more Lantau Trail sections off my to-do list and this time it was going to be some hard hiking.


My most recent hike on the Lantau Trail (stages 9 & 10) was long but easy. No real climbing involved. My very first hike (stages 1 & 2) was a mix ---> one stage involved climbing Sunset Peak, the second highest peak in Hong Kong, but the other was an easy walk.

I wasn't sure if I was ready for stages 3 & 4, but I also knew I would suffer from FOMO if I didn't go for it. I hadn't done a hard hike in a few months, so I didn't know how my body would react. It's a lot like returning to the long run: you have a solid base, but it's been awhile since you upped the mileage.

Anyway, I went for it and here's what happened:

1) There were three solid climbs. THREE. Every time I looked up, I thought we only have a little more to go, it's straight UP, but we're almost there. Then another climb would appear. Actually, having the 600 meter climb from Pak Kung Au broken into parts like that gave us built in walking breaks along the way.



2) I stood on the second highest peak (934 meters or 3064 feet) in Hong Kong, Lantau Peak. The views from the top are just breathtaking. Even the overcast, slightly hazy day didn't take away the magnificence of what my eyes could see.


And behind us, was Sunset Peak (the third highest peak in Hong Kong) on stage 2 of Lantau Trail. Been there, done that, I thought to myself. I could also see the airport from the top, so I texted mrC since he was there doing some database work in the airplane.


3) Making our way down toward Ngong Ping and the end of stage 3 was easier on the quads, but harder on the knees. The challenge is that the man-made rock steps are not the same distance apart. As we got further down the mountain, we started passing large groups of hikers making their way up from the other side (the harder side if you ask me).


The archway marks the end of stage 3.


4) At the start of stage 4 is the Wisdom Path (right past the large archway). 38 wooden columns line a path forming the symbol for infinity. Each column is inscribed with a verse from the Heart Sutra prayer. We took a short rest/snack break here.



The trail continues to Ngong Ping cultural village where the Tian Tan Buddha Statue sits. The village was crowded with visitors, which is probably why we found a lone buffalo hiding out in a quiet spot. I don't know why these big creatures fascinate me, but they do.



The rest of stage 4 has been diverted a couple of times by landslides, so the end of the hike is simply following Ngong Ping Road to Sham Wan Road. Nothing picture worthy from there, so here's one of the group that stood on Lantau Peak that day.



This post is part of the Friday Five 2.0 link up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel. Head over to check out some more awesome posts.


If you're a hiker, what is the highest peak you've climbed? I think my highest peak is Mt. Batur in Bali.



16 comments:

  1. My highest peak would be a 13000+ peak in California, but I have no idea what it was called.

    I'm always amazed by the hiking on Hong Kong. With so many people living there I half expect that all the landmass would be homes.

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    1. Wow! How long did it take you to reach the peak?? Many people think of HK as only a concrete city (there are A LOT of high rises), but there is actually plenty of green space and water - in fact more than 50% of the terrain is natural - and very mountainous, so development is not possible.

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  2. Oh wow that sounds intense! What a fun experience I've never done anything like that

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    1. Intense, but totally worth it! There were times when I questioned my decision, but the views from the top...amazing!

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  3. Wow, just wow. I can only hope to be able to hike in Asia someday!

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    1. I really hope you get to. I didn't hike before moving here, but now I can't imagine not seeing things from the top of a mountain.

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  4. I can't tell you how incredibly awesome that looks (and hard).

    Because I generally hike with the dogs and my husband, we usually don't tackle tough stuff (he's not in that great shape).

    Many years ago, when he was in better shape, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park. I'm not sure the highest hike we did, but I bet it was at the very least 7-8k, maybe more. So totally worth it (actually, I probably wasn't that fit back then, either!).

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    1. I only started hiking after moving here. I have quickly learned that most hikes are going to be either easy and long (10-15km) or short and hard (5-10km). My longest was 24+km - my hard core friends wanted to do 4 stages at once because only parts were hard, haha! I was toast at the end!

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  5. Wow! That looked like quite the trek up.
    Awesome that there is such a great rail system there with lots of places for you to explore.

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    1. Truly! Although this hike is in my backyard (on the other side of the island that I live on) and only required a bus to get to ;)

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  6. That is just so cool! I wonder why they built steps--when we hiked in California last month, it was just a trail and I found that to be fine. I would think the steps would make it harder, since everyone is different sizes, etc. Anyways, I love all those hikes you are sharing with us!

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    1. The steps are a big controversy here (and by steps I should clarify: about 50% are actual concrete paved steps and the other half are big rocks/boulders that have been moved into place to create steps). People say they have been built because without them the masses of people hiking would erode the trails until they become unsafe and unusable. Other people say Hong Kong hates nature, haha :) Some places are so steep that I would not be comfortable hiking without them.

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  7. This looks like such an amazing experience- but also really hard! I would be really nervous to do something like this but it sounds like you already have some experience with hiking. Glad you got to give this a try!

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  8. This looks amazing and I can't believe you saw a buffalo! I would have been fascinated with that too but then again I am always fascinated by seeing animals in the wild. He looks so calm! I had no idea there were Buffalo in Hong Kong!

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  9. What a cool and amazing experience!!

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  10. Good article, your sharing is so nice, love your work!

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