Pic of the Day: Horny toads, oh my!

asian common toad

I came across these two NSFW ‘horny toads’ during a recent power walk on Lantau, so not a hike. They were doing their, ahem, ‘business’ practically in the middle of the path, and didn’t even flinch upon my approach or when I put my phone right up close (no zoom) for several pics!

Fearing they might get trampled under foot or run over by a bike, etc., as a result of their lack of responsiveness, I picked the pair up with two branches and moved them over to the much safer, greener side of the divide. My good deed for the day!

Turns out they’re Asian Common Toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), so nothing too out of the ordinary, just unexpected, plus kinda awesome how I was able to get so close to snap this ‘intimate’ shot of them in the act, warts (literally) and all, lol. #toadporn #goforthandmultiply

See more of my wildlife encounters here (it’s an ongoing work in progress!).

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4-Week Plank Challenge! 27 days to go…

Hiking and walking are excellent on their own, but the addition of strengthening exercises is undoubtedly even better. As such, I was doing dumbbells for a while, but unfortunately managed to injure my right elbow (tennis elbow, woo-hoo), so I have been pretty slack in terms of upper body workouts for some time now. :/

Yesterday, however, I saw this 4-Week Plank Challenge by LIVESTRONG.COM on Facebook, and figured why not? I can do planks. Sure, I hate doing them, lol, but at least I can do them – and without causing any further injury to my elbow, so no excuses no more!

With effect from yesterday, I have thus committed myself to 28 (now 27) consecutive days of twice daily one-minute planks. Hurrah! Ugh. The only good thing about this particular plank challenge (my first, incidentally) is that you’re supposed to attempt a different plank style each day (who knew there were so many variations?!), which will hopefully break up the monotony and make it more interesting.

Anyway, if you’d like to check it out or also do the challenge, here’s the 4-week schedule. Photos and video demos of the various planking styles for Weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 can be found in the links below.

If a minute is too long for you to hold a plank, you can start with 30 seconds, graduating to a minute (or more) as you improve over the course of the challenge. I’m thinking of just sticking to a minute throughout. In any case, here’s to my future six-pack a month from now! :p

livestrong-28-day-plank-challenge

LIVESTRONG.COM 4-Week Plank Challenge, week-by-week breakdown:

Two thumbs up for Salomon trail shoes!

I admittedly haven’t tried out a wide range of different trail brands or models. Far from it, in fact. Even so, I cannot rave more about Salomon! I now own two pairs of Salomon trail shoes: SpeedCross Pros for hiking, and Sense Pros for light/medium trails and power or general walking. Both are sleek, smart looking, super comfy lightweight runners, with thin but durable soles and the best lacing system (Quicklace) for lazy or impatient folk, lol.

The SpeedCross Pros are very grippy with prominent V-shaped treads, so are great for trail running on all slopes and surfaces in a variety of weather conditions. That’s what also makes them ideal for hiking, if you’d rather avoid cumbersome hiking shoes/boots like me, which I find too heavy and rigid. The SpeedCross Pros are a good cross between sturdy and lightweight. Love the cheery teal/turquoise colour for women, too!

salomon-speedcross-pro
When my SpeedCross Pros were still new in the box. They’re certainly worn in now!
speedcross-pro
Note the prominent treads, which offer good grip even on dirt slopes

The Sense Pros are less grippy and can actually be a bit slippery when wet, which I wasn’t expecting, but otherwise they’re excellent shoes for paved surfaces and light/medium trails. Very airy (top mesh) and lightweight. I’ve been doing all of my recent power walks in them, and my feet still feel great afterwards! The more minimalist style may even give you a better workout than heavily cushioned shoes. I also really like this colour combo.

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Breaking in my newer Sense Pros a couple of weeks or so ago. Great for power walking!

I bought both pairs in my actual shoe size (not a half or full size up like some people do) and have experienced zero problems with blisters, rubbing or internal slippage to date, so I guess Salomon shoe sizes are pretty spot on (compared to Nike, which runs large, and Hoka One One, which runs small, for example). Despite the thinner and seemingly harder soles, I’ve also had no problems with shock absorption, arch support or overall comfort.

I purchased both pairs on sale at The Overlander in Causeway Bay (phenomenal discount prices, so excellent value!). Great store for trail runners, hikers, campers and other outdoorsy types, incidentally. Anyway, I thought it was high time that I write a product review of sorts and rave about my Salomon shoes, especially now that I’ve also broken in my Sense Pros and love them just as much as my SpeedCross Pros! 😀

Out of interest, which shoe brand or model do you swear by?

ICYMI: Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail closed until 30 Jun 2017

Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail

UPDATE: The cable car is back in operation as of June 2017, with the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail to reopen following the end of the month.

In case you missed it in the news, take note that the Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail (and cable car) on Lantau is currently closed for maintenance work until this June. The exact reopening date presumably won’t be known until nearer the time. As soon as I hear something, I’ll be sure to post an update!

The cable car rope is due for replacement, and the rescue trail below the system needs to be closed for safety reasons. Ngong Ping Village, the Big Buddha et al., and other access routes/modes remain unaffected. For those keen on hiking up to Ngong Ping, the road access route is still an option.

SCMP: Lantau cable car to close for five months for renovations

Press Release: Ngong Ping 360 to commence Rope Replacement Project on 9 January 2017

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Lantau’s Ngong Ping 360 Rescue Trail closed until 30 Jun 2017

 


Silvermine Bay Beach, Mui Wo (public beach facilities and services only)

Also, take note that Silvermine Bay Beach in Mui Wo, Lantau, is currently ‘closed’ from a public beach facilities and services perspective until early/mid-2018. The closure is to allow for “improvement works”. The beach itself and everything else in the vicinity remain unaffected, including hiking trails to and from Mui Wo.

Press Release: Silvermine Bay Beach to be temporarily closed for improvement works

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Mui Wo’s Silvermine Bay Beach, ‘closed’ until early/mid-2018 (public beach facilities and services only)

 

See also the AFCD’s notice section on country park trail, road and facility closures/updates.