Thursday, August 22, 2013

HOW TO SELECT A GOOD CAMPSITE

I'm an Outdoor enthusiast and I really like doing Camper; with that said I also met a number of people who wish to do camping but they don't know how and where to start, so they end up not going for any outdoor activities and never attempt to do something new in their lives. This article will give you some ideas before you get started. 


If you're a new Camper and just getting started... I highly suggest that you should visit some of the camping ground preferably close to your home which is managed by the government agencies like Bureau of Land Management or Country Park Management Office. Be sure to choose the one that has perfect scenic spot that you, your family and friends would love and enjoy.


CHOOSING YOUR CAMPING SPOT:
  • Choose a Tent spot that is relatively high ground because in this manner the rain will flow away from the tent in case if it rains and this will prevent your gear from getting wet as well. Avoid setting your tent along the slope though.
  • Pick a site that has shades during the hotter time of the day. So, choose the one that's near the trees.
  • Check if the campsite is near the water source because you will be needing plenty of water for cooking, washing, drinking and even showering.
  • Check if the campsite has grilling station, picnic tables and chairs.
  • Check if the campsite has enough space for you to use a cooking stove.
  • Be sure to check if you can build a campfire because nothing's more fun than roasting a Mallows with your children or stay warm during the cold season. (See if the fire won't spread out so pick an area where there's enough space and flat).
  • If your camping with your kids be sure to check if the campground has a nearby playground or play areas or a huge space to fly a kite or play some ball game like beach volleyball or beach football.
  • Check if the location is near the lake or beach for some fishing, boating, swimming or even snorkeling. 
Backpacking is FUN! So before you go and experience the outdoors, practice setting up your Tent on daylight and at night if possible in your yard to estimate the space you need on the campsite and to get familiar with your gear. Most of the camping ground are not made according to your liking even if you request from the attendant of the country park about your preferred location and with that said, you should clean your preferred spot from twigs, rocks or vines because these will cause damage to the base layer of the tent and might puncture your sleeping matte. 

Finally, experience is the best teacher and soon you'll realized more do's and don't as well as the proper gear to take along with you depending on how many days your going to be in the Campsite. Even thinking of bringing a purifying agent/tablet if you don't get clean water.

Have fun camping and enjoy the outdoors!





Friendly Reminder
Enjoy The Wilderness & Leave No Trace



Sunday, August 18, 2013

CAPE D'AGUILAR

HOW TO GET THERE:
  • Take the MTR to SHAU KEI WAN
  • Leave the MTR Station via Exit A1 or A3 (Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus)
  • Board into Bus No.9 or Green Mini Bus heading towards Shek O
  • Alight at the Bus Station near Cape D' Aguilar Road.

TRAIL INFO:
  • Difficulty: 1/5 
  • Duration: 3.5 - 4.0 Hours
  • Distance: 3.5 Km
  • Type: Loop Trail
  • GPS Coverage: Excellent
  • Phone Coverage: Excellent

LOGISTICS:


  • Packs: 8L - 18L
  • Liquid Supplement: 1L - 1.5L
  • Food Supplement: Bread, Power Bar or Fruit
  • Clothing: Shorts and Shirt
  • Shoes: Proper Hiking Shoes (Specially if you take the Rockies) 
  • Extras: (Summer) Sunglasses, Hat &Sun Cream. (Winter) Wind Breaker & Convertible Pants.
LET'S GO! 

Cape D' Aguilar Bus Station

Okay, I have two suggestions so you won't miss the bus stop at Cape D'Aguilar. Option 1: Tell the driver ahead of your journey that your going to get off at the bus station at Cape D'Aguilar. Option 2: Sit  on the upper front deck of the bus and peel your eyes because when you see the "T" junction road you need to get off at the bus station with the "Blue Colored Sign" that says Cape D'Aguilar.

Walk alongside of the road  until you reach the round about where you can locate the starting point as well. (Be very careful around here!)

STARTING POINT
From here onward, you will be walking on concrete road but don't worry because you will be covered by the shades of trees.


To reach the Marine Reserved Area is by simply walking all the way downhill until you each the Main Gate.


ENTRY POINT #1
This entry point is just another option to get to the rocky part of the island and the other one is just alongside of the main gate.

MAIN GATE
Entry Point #2. There will be a foot path along the right side of the main gate, take that and hike alongside of the green metal fencing. 

Hike downhill and you eventually hit the shoreline and please beware of the High Voltage Antennas along the trail.

Almost there...

Enjoy the moment along the shoreline and the rockies. This area is protected by the Marine Conservation of Hong Kong so please act accordingly and beware of the sharp rocky pathways.

The best part of the trail is to Trek your way to the Marine Reserved Facility along the rocky shoreline than walking on the concrete pathways. Please be very careful on the slippery rocks!



When your done Trekking along the Rockies, you should end up finding this signs on the main road and the Cave of  Cape D'Aguilar is just adjacent to this signboards and you can actually hear a loud flow of the water within the cave.

CAPE D'AGUILAR CAVE

MARINE RESERVED MAIN OFFICE



HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRAIL



Like I mentioned on the Trail Info, this trail is LOOP Trail and the way to get yourself out from this area is to walk on the concrete pathways and when you reached the main gate again, just simply walk along the side the green fencing again until you get to your Entry Point.

Walk uphill on the concrete road until you reach the Bus Station at the main entrance which will take you back to Shau Kei Wan MTR Station.





Friendly Reminder
Enjoy The Wilderness & Leave No Trace



Friday, August 16, 2013

HONG KONG TRAIL SECTION 4

HOW TO GET THERE:
The easiest and the fastest way is to take NWFB No.15 starting at the Exchange Square Bus Terminus heading towards the PEAK and get off at Wan Chai Gap by the end of Stubbs Road. Then take the Aberdeen Reservoir Road downhill for a short distance to begin Section 4.

TRAIL INFO: 
  • Difficulty: 2/5 (Easy Hike)
  • Distance: 7.5 Km
  • Duration: 2.0 Hour
  • Terrain: 50% / 50% of Natural trail and well maintained trail with a combination of concrete stairs, water catchment and uphill road. 
  • Scenery: There's perfect greenery on this trail and when you get to an opening, you will have glimpses of Aberdeen Reservoir and Ocean Park (Hong Kong's Amusement/Themed Park).
  • GPR Coverage: Excellent
  • Phone Coverage: Great
LOGISTICS:
  • Packs: 4L - 8L 
  • Liquid Supplements: 500 ml  > 800 ml
  • Food Supplement: Power Bar or Fruit
  • Clothing: (Summer) Shorts & Shirt (Winter) + Wind Breaker and Convertible Pants
  • Extras: (Some are optional) Shirt, Hat, Sunglasses and Mosquito Repellent and Sun Screen.
LET'S GO!


STARTING POINT / INFORMATION BOARD
Located after crossing the bridge when you pass the main starting area of Section 4.

A friendly sign post next to the Information Board. You will see plenty of this sign post in the trail to ensure your safety on this Trail.


ENTRY POINT
Alright, after spending a few second at the information board and knowing your trail path, here is the main Entrance to Section 4. 

Like I mentioned, the trail is carefully marked with this kind of post so please don't get confused on your route. 

As you get deeper into the trail...you will feel the comfort of shade and shelter from the trees and the coolness of the breeze passing between the and through the trail.

Well this section is very refreshing! This photo is actually taken on top of the bridge but don't hesitate to go in and re-hydrate yourself during summer hike. A pretty good place to have your photo taken while the other person is on the opposite side (on the bridge) but be careful on the slippery rocks. 

OCEAN PARK
Located at Aberdeen but a pretty good view along the trail.

After enjoying a moment on the open section of the trail, now it's time to get inside the wilderness again. Another dome type shelter from the trees will continue to give shelter along the trail.

It's very quiet around here knowing Hong Kong is a small City, but and all you can hear is just the sound of water cascading, birds singing and the rejuvenating sounds of the forest in the modern wilderness of Hong Kong. "Pretty impressive!" - I might say.

On a clear day, if you get lucky...you will have a chance to see the Aberdeen Reservoir and its neighborhood.

MOUNT CAMERON
After hiking through the natural trail, you will get to meet another concrete road with a wooden pavilion nearby. The Road is called "Black Link's" and at the opposite side of the road, you will see a sign post again that will lead you towards you exit point. The arrow pointing to the left will lead you back to your starting point at Wan Chai Gap Road and the one on the right will lead you to Wong Nei Chung Gap Road. I suggest you to take the route to the right to continue with the original trail!

MOUNT NICHOLSON
As you end the hike you will be walking along side with Mt. Nicholson and it is really very entertaining on this section because you will have plenty of opening to see the Repulse Bay Beach and Golf Course, Twin Peak, Violet Hill and Parkview ...these are some of the best part to expect on your way out to finish the Hike.

Even though this trail is very easy, it is rather enjoyable because of its scenic views! I usually run when I take this section and it's really a perfect place for it but you need to be careful because the senior citizens are doing their early morning walk around here as well.





Friendly Reminder
Enjoy The Wilderness & Leave NO Trace

HONG KONG TRAIL SECTION 3

HOW TO GET THERE:
Take public transport to Aberdeen Reservoir Road. Walk up Peel Rise by Pui Tak Canossian College for about 30 minutes to the starting point of Hong Kong Trail Section 3.
Transport routes available are:

City Bus:
No. 7 - running between Central Ferry Piers and Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen
No. 76 - running between Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen and Causeway Bay (Moreton Terrace)

NWFB:
No. 95 - running betwee Ap Lei Chau and Shek Pai Wan in Aberdeen

Mini Bus:
No. 52 - running between Shek Pai Wan in Aberden and Chung Hom Kok in Stanley (Ma Hang)

For your return journey, walk down Aberdeen Reservoir Road for about 15 minutes to Wan Chai Gap for public transport:

NWFB:
No. 15 - running between Central (Exchange Square) and the Peak
No. 15B - running between Tin Hau MTR Station and the Peak (Sundays and Public Holiday only)

TRAIL INFO:
  • Difficulty: 2/5
  • Distance: 6.5 Km
  • Duration: 2.5 Hrs.
  • Terrain: 20% Concrete and 80% Natural Trail
  • GPS Coverage: Good
  • Phone Coverage: Great
  • Route: Peel Rise > Wan Chai Gap
LOGISTIC:
  • Pack: 8L - 10L 
  • Liquid Supplement: 500ml > 1000ml
  • Clothing: Shorts & Shirt (Summer), Leggings & Wind Breaker (Winter)
  • Shoes: Regular rubber shoes works (but proper Hiking Shoes is better)
  • Food Supplement: Fruit or Snack (Optional)
  • Extras: Hiking Pole (Optional), Extra shirt, Hat, Mosquito Repellent & Sunglasses
LET'S GO!

STARTING POINT
(Roughly about 1/4hrs from Aberdeen Reservoir & 30 minutes from Chi Fu Estate)

Hong Kong Trail Section 3: Information Board

Another friendly trail sign; the trail is fully covered with signs to ensure your safe journey inside the trail.

Section 3 is perfectly shaded by trees so walking in this trail is very comfortable and cool and this is an awesome hiking ground for beginners, friends and family. 

Surprisingly beautiful. This stream comes to life during wet season in Hong Kong, the flow of water is very cool and refreshing.

When you reach this bridge you need to turn and proceed to the right side and try not to take the stairs.

DECISION  POINT
This is where you need to make a decision whether if you will turn right and end at Aberdeen Reservoir or turn left to continue with Hong Kong Trail Section 3 and end at Wan Chai Gap. Both will take at least 30 minutes between either point. I highly suggest that you proceed with the rest of the Hong Kong Trail Section 3 and end at Wan Chai Gap because in this manner you will only need to catch NWFB No.15 or 15B to return to the city.

END POINT
Finally the trail is done! But because Hong Kong Trail Section 3 is too easy for some hikers, many will quickly jump in and continue Section 4. The starting area is immediately located near the end point of Section 3. If you decided to finish the hike though, simply walk uphill and pass the barrier gate and turn left heading towards the main road (Wan Chai Gap) and take NWFB 15 heading Central Exchange Square passing through Ruttongee Hospital, Hopewell Centre, Pacific Place, Admiralty and finally Central.






Friendly Reminder
Enjoy The Wilderness & Leave No Trace

Thursday, August 1, 2013

MACLEHOSE TRAIL SECTION 2

There's no way to get to the starting point directly than to hike the first section (around 10km & 3hrs) until you reach the Starting point of Section 2 or if you want to skip hiking the first section then you must take a Blue Colored Taxi from the bus terminus at Sai Kung Country Park Visitor's Centre which roughly cost HK$50 until you reach the Pavilion next to Dolosses landmark and then from the Pavilion, simply follow the trail post marker until this starting point of Section 2.

TRANSPORT:
  • (Option 1) Take the MTR to Diamond Hill Station and board in to bus 92 'til you reach its final Terminus at Sai Kung District. Then, quickly take bus 94 and get off at Sai Kung Visitor's Center. Finally, take the blue cab at the terminus and ask the taxi driver to take you at High Island Reservoir Pavilion or MacLehose Trail Section 1.
  • (Option 2) Take the MTR and get off at Diamond Hill Station and leave the station by Exit B. Locate and board into 96R (available during Sundays & Public Holidays only) and get off at Sai Kung Visitor's Centre, take a blue cab and ask the driver to take you at High Island Reservoir Pavilion. You must be on the MacLehose Trail (right side when you reach the round-about but make sure that the Taxi is between the High Island Reservoir on the left-side of the cab and the Water Sports Centre on the right-side) and when you reach the Blue colored Dolosses Landmark then, all you need to do is to follow the trail until the starting point of Section 2 is reached. 
TRAIL INFO:
  • Difficulty: 3/5 (Strenuous Hike)
  • Distance: 13.5 km (Original Trail) if you hike SHARP PEAK then it's at least 18.5+km.
  • Duration: 5 Hrs (Original) if you hike SHARP PEAK then it roughly around 7 Hrs.
  • Terrain: 40% Concrete, 40% Natural and 20% Sand
  • Mobile Phone Coverage: Good
  • GPS Coverage: Great
LOGISTIC:
  • Pack: 10L - 20L Packs
  • Liquid Supplement: 3L
  • Food: (Optional) There are restaurants when you reach TAI LONG WAN or you can have your own food. 
  • Clothing: Convertible Pants and Shirt (Summer) add Wind Breaker (Winter)
  • Shoes: Be sure to wear proper hiking shoes or boots.
  • Extras: Hiking Pole, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat, Mini Personal First Aid Kit, Extra Shirt, Mobile Phone & Camera.
LET'S GO!


STARTING POINT
(Work your way here by following the instructions above)

LONG KE BAY
The aquatic emerald colors of Long Ke Bay. The serenity and tranquility of the camping ground along the beach side and the beautiful mountain range that your going to hike awaits.

REHABILITATION CENTRE
Respect the privacy and peacefulness of this facility...be sure not to loiter around its premises. 

CAMPING GROUND
The Campsite at Long Ke Bay. There's a water source but I'm not sure if it's clean enough to drink (better bring your purifying tablets or portable water purifier), a toilet is also available in the area. If your planning to camp here you need to make sure that you need to bring your food and all your essentials most specially your drinking water because there's no store in the area.

Hike further on a clearly marked country trail until this Pavilion is reached. A resting area and sign to have a little break and to refuel your body.

SAI WAN SHAN (314masl) Summit
It's really not that hard to get to this summit because the trail is not steep, it is rather clean and clear and and filled with trial signs along the way.

TAI LONG WAN PANORAMA
This is a very famous viewing area and by looking ahead you can actually see TAI LONG WAN, SHARP PEAK from a distance.

INTERSECTION MAP BOARD
Its's like decision making point around this junction, but all I have to say is .."Proceed towards Tai Long Wan!".. otherwise you'll miss the opportunity if seeing the greatest Camping Ground and the famous beach side Hong Kong. 


VIEWING COMPASS

At this point you are getting closer to the No.1 Adventure Haven of Sai Kung East Country Park and of course Hong Kong. When you get to TAI LONG WAN Beach, you need to cross the wooden bridge made by the locals to reach the restaurant and also the continuation of MacLehose Trail Section 2. If your doing the original concrete trail then you need to get through village and follow the concrete path and by simply tracing the trail post, but if SHARP PEAK is in your itinerary...then you need to get to the right side and along the back of the restaurant and from there...a trail uphill with rope is what you need to follow. Never fear because the path is clear until you to reach the other side of Tai Long Wan. 

After cruising through the clean and clear sand beach line, you are bound to reach the further end of Tai Long Wan beach. Enter the very obvious path uphill until you reach this section where I'm standing on the picture above. When you get here, then follow the route on the left-side (by looking at the photo) to reach the summit of Sharp Peak. 

Looking back, the trail is so beautiful and breathe taking and one must wonder "what if I have a house here?" or "..I wish I have a house here to see this perfect scenery everyday!". How ever you feel on the day that you attempt climbing Sharp Peak, I'm certain that your going to cherish every moment of it and still look forward on hiking here again.

This massive landscape is the perfect scenery of Tai Long Wan and this is only a few meters away from the summit of Sharp Peak. The feeling of being here is so amazing...imagine how much more if your doing Mount Everest!

SHARP PEAK (468masl/1535ft) SUMMIT
Up at the summit of Sharp Peak you will blessed with perfect 360 degrees Panorama of Sai Kung. On a clear day, you will see the Sai Kung West Country Park, Sai Kung East Country Park and the rest of Sai Kung Peninsula. 
The other side of the summit and below is the beach and campsite of TAI WAN.


How to leave Sharp Peak? Make your way back down to your entry path to reach the summit and at the intersection, simply bear right aiming for the radio tower until you reach the concrete road and main path of Maclehose Trail Section 2. Bear right again along the emergency calling post and aim for Pak Tam Au. Never fear again because you will pampered by the country park's sign post.

CHEK KENG
This place has a church but not in use anymore since the village is abandoned due to the modernization and development of Hong Kong. There's still some village houses that standings among the fallows field. With all the houses here and the church, it must have been very busy town in past and I'm sure that fishing is the main way of life. At Post M045 bear left and continue trekking through the concrete path until you reach Pak Tam Au road. There's a lavatory again at the end point and the bus station to return to the city is just nearby and facing the Entry Point of MacLehose Trail Section 3.

End of Section 2 and a new set of Hikers are getting ready for their own adventure.




Friendly Reminder
Enjoy Your Country Park, Enjoy Hiking and Leave NO Trace!