I’m currently based in Hong Kong (and have been for some years…), which is a hiker and trail walker’s paradise, with all of the city’s many hills, mountains and outlying islands to explore at one’s doorstep. It may come as a surprise to those who don’t live here (and maybe even to some who do!), but Hong Kong can quickly go from concrete jungle to actual jungle once you step back from the urban hustle and bustle typically associated with the city. It’s a wonder (and shame) that I never got into the local hiking scene before, but better late than never, right?
Unfortunately, spring and summer aren’t so great for hiking and walking (too wet or too hot, not to mention the humidity!), and you have to watch out for the air pollution at times, thanks to China, but otherwise it’s a great place to easily earn your 10,000+ steps a day, whilst enjoying some spectacular views and awesome nature. Speaking of which, we have a lot more than you might expect, though luckily no bears, tigers or wolves; just venomous snakes and big-ass spiders, that kind of thing, lol.
I’m lucky to have kick-started my hiking and trail walking obsession in autumn, and hope to keep at it throughout the winter months. So far, I’ve tackled a number of trails on Lantau (same island as the airport), which has some fantastic, less frequented trails, yet not so unfrequented and remote that they’re too scary to do solo (except for a couple). I recently attempted my first non-Lantau trek and will have to start exploring further afield to avoid becoming the Forrest Gump of Lantau. :p
As for what I so far like and dislike about hiking, trail walking and the great outdoors, etc., here’s a list in order to give a better idea of who I am, without giving too much away. 😉
- Being outdoors, sunshine, getting some colour, fresh air, great views, nature, few or no people, quiet serenity, and lots of quality ‘me’ time. 🙂
- Costs nothing, more fun than working out in a gym, and it really does help with weight loss, stamina and overall fitness.
- Sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you finish a long and/or challenging trail, especially if you manage to do it solo – and without getting lost. :p
- Sense of discovery and exploration when you stumble across trail detours, abandoned buildings, ‘hidden’ gravesites and the like, even though you know you weren’t the first person to discover and explore these things, lol.
- Feeling proud and exceptionally brave after crashing through portions of heavily overgrown trail like a fierce jungle warrior, despite occasional shrieks and bouts of talking to oneself for reassurance.
- Ribbons on unofficial trails (and distance posts on official ones). It’s such a relief to spot a ribbon, especially if you’re on a trail that you’ve never attempted before. Unofficial trail paths don’t always look obvious (unpaved, often narrow, sometimes faint, not necessarily maintained, potentially overgrown in parts, rarely signposted, etc.) and sometimes have confusing offshoots, so those ribbons are your friend, believe me!
- Taking (too many) photos of the amazing views and (also sometimes freaky) wildlife and suddenly thinking I’m a world-renowned naturalist like David Attenborough, just because I was willing to get up close to something I normally wouldn’t, lol.
- Using MapMyHike to GPS track my hike/walk and provide stats on how awesome I was – or not so awesome, as the case may be. :p Pacer is also great, but more for counting steps. Both apps are free, so no costly Fitbit or Garmin watch for me!
- My Salomon SpeedCross Pro trail running shoes. They’re so comfy and grippy, and have the best lacing system ever (especially for lazy or impatient folk, lol). Helps that I also found them on sale at half price!
- The humidity (omg, the humidity!), heat, bad air pollution and icky haze. Blech!
- Weird tan lines. A sports or yoga bra gives acceptable above-the-waist tan lines, but below the waist is another matter. The solution? Wear no-show socks to minimise the problem around your feet. Also, roll the top of your shorts down and the bottom of your shorts up (preferably on less frequented trails). It helps! Sort of.
- ‘Killing’ toenails, which is admittedly far worse than weird tan lines…
- Stiff knees to make you feel really old – or to remind you that you are, haha.
- Getting majorly confused and lost. Only happened to me that one time, touch wood, and that was almost two years ago now!
- Dwindling mobile phone battery life with no power bank on hand (never again!), or going out of range and losing reception. In these overly connected times, being totally cut off can be rather disconcerting, especially when you’re out in the middle of essentially nowhere. Not sure how people coped before!
- Freaky nature like venomous snakes, big-ass spiders, demon centipedes, monstrous wasps, hornets, etc. Basically anything that can kill or maim me, lol. Terrifying barking deer calls also deserve a special mention here, as the first time I heard one, I nearly pissed my pants. I’ve admittedly become a lot braver around some of the above, provided there’s no physical contact!
- Happily using MapMyHike to GPS track my hike/walk when my phone suddenly dies at ~17% battery life (wtf?) and the app doesn’t autosave, causing me to lose all of that particularly trail’s route tracking and stats. Arghhh!
- Having to pee outdoors. I like my toilets, thank you very much, and luckily don’t need to resort to al fresco pees too often, but there have been a couple of occasions when I clearly didn’t sweat enough to keep it in!
See also my Accidental Hiker ‘origin story’ on the homepage if you haven’t already, and yep, that’s me in the above photo! I hope you enjoy my site and photos. 🙂
The Accidental Hiker