at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

#GetAtHome in China 8: A Profitable Gamble, Hiking Lion Rock Trail, Hong Kong

My plan in going to Hong Kong had been to seek out the route, more or less along Maclehose Trail, that the Fjällräven Classic’s expansion to Hong Kong will take.

I couldn’t even find out the exact route, though. So, I had already planned to only go on a part of Maclehose Trail, and to detour onto the Lion Rock trail.

Now, there was just one more day left until our flight back to Austria. Forecast for that day: Clearing skies.

There was still a good chance that hiking trails above Hong Kong would be wet and muddy, a chance of rain, a chance to get stuck in clouds without a view – but it was also the last chance to get on any trail around Hong Kong this time around.

Up and out to Lion Rock Trail

So, I got up early, got ready as quietly as possible to avoid waking up my wife, got out, walked through Hong Kong in the first light of the day, got north to a subway (okay, metro) stop that was close to starting operation, got on the first subway of the day…

Grand opening… of the Hong Kong Metro, for the day

Out at Wong Tai Sin station, towards and onto Sha Tin Pass Road, right into orienteering lessons.

Track on the Casio ProTrek Smart WSD-F20 which I have been testing, map on the smartphone, feel for the lay of the land… and the road was a typically Hong Kong, i.e. a rather strange, one.

It was the right one, though.

Up, past a few places that made me wonder what was there and if that would already be the trail head.
To the trail head, finally, and immediately onto a real trail…

Trail head of Lion Rock Trail, Hong Kong (also a part of Maclehose Trail), off Sha Tin Pass Road

Lion Rock Trail Video

I don’t want to describe the whole trail here, but, much better: I can show you:

Notes on the Lion Rock Trail

A few things are worth pointing out here, in writing, though:

Wildlife

There really are monkeys there, as you can see in the video.

One should better be careful with those, but I did not actually see any more.

Something suddenly crashed through the vegetation on the path in front of me… and turned out to be a feral pig.
The only thing that seemed potentially dangerous, though, was one of the dogs of which you can see a little bit, which was suddenly snarling at my calf, behind me already.

Only for Experienced Hikers?

The trail was, fortunately, not as slippery and wet as I had feared it would be.

Good shoes and better-yet footing is highly recommended, nonetheless.

A lot of that trail, like many in and around Hong Kong, is easy to walk, but some of it isn’t – and the real danger, for me at least, was still in the easy walking paths with flat stones, made for casual strolls… and really slippery if you run and step badly or try to reduce your speed…

Coming down the trail from Lion Rock

Drone Flying on Lion Rock

My drone flying there – with my new DJI Spark, bought in Shanghai – was with no people around at all, pretty likely to have been legal also in terms of location… but actually, the first time I started the drone, I just set it down again and thought I wouldn’t try again as the winds were pretty strong.

As you can see in the video, I did fly a bit more after, also trying out active track.

Most of the time, it remained pretty nerve-wracking.

You could see the grimace I was making the whole time, were I to publish any videos in which the drone was closer to me.

Biggest problem with those, however: The gimbal and the stabilization of the DJI Spark worked well enough that you can’t tell how much the wind seemed to buffet it, making it look like I was making faces for no reason ;)

Active track, of course, did not work out too well with all the trees overhead, but it looked like an interesting-enough feature…

The Lion Rock Trail as a Trail Run?

For a trail run, this route would have been rather too short, but for a hike that is short and sweet (and strenuous enough in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong), it is great.

The Lion Rock Trail perfectly shows the particular beauty of Hong Kong’s trails, which lead through jungle but look down and out into high-density and high-rise urbanity.

Hong Kong Panorama from Lion Rock

The Hong Kong Trail does that, at times, looking from Hong Kong Island over its skyline and towards Kowloon; the Lion Rock Trail does the same looking out from above Kowloon and over to Hong Kong Island.

Perfect symmetry.

The views are amazing just looking at them – and even better when gained through one’s own power.

How Hong Kong Makes Me #GetAtHome

The views were great, the drone imagery made things more interesting, again, showing yet another perspective, also putting person into place.

The recording of the track, which I want to also show here in case anyone wants to either download and use it themselves, or compare the tracks recorded by the Casio ProTrek Smart WSD-F20 and a Suunto Spartan Ultra, also connects in such a way:

This all is why I so love coming to Hong Kong.

I dreamed of managing to go there back when I was in school (and our geography textbook had a photo of Victoria Harbor on its cover). Thus, visits still have some of that sense of a wish fulfilled.

Going out with different kinds of “connecting tech”, I always feel myself more intimately put into the context of the place, of this world. And I always end up doing that when I’m here.

… and it simply helps, on the move, to know something of where one is actually moving.

Finally, with the contrast these trails offer, between nature and the city, the wild and the human-made… and quite a bit of something wild in humanity’s doings… I feel myself getting all the more forward in my attempts to learn to #GetAtHome in this world.