Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Dragon's Back

One of the many wonderful features about life in Hong Kong is the proximity to hiking trails. From our front door, albeit the front door of our apartment complex, we can be at the trailhead of a real hiking trail in about five minutes. We all regularly use the Tai Tam trail, a nice wide flat trail on the weekends, with Phil and I branching off that trail on higher harder climbs when we are on our own. Slightly further up the road is one such slightly harder trail, the Dragon’s Back. Probably due both to the cool name and to the fact that our apartment looks directly out onto the trail, our kids were interested in joining us on a Dragon’s Back hike. And so recently, on a cold misty afternoon, we all found ourselves hiking the Dragon’s Back and having a great time.

To get to the Dragon’s Back, we jumped out of a taxi at a crossroads with a correctional facility and a cemetery. From this auspicious start, we climbed a set of concrete stairs to push us up from the road to the trail. The kids turned happily off their regular easy hike onto our harder hike with excitement. As we hiked through bamboo groves and even slightly heavier forest, the kids all remembered my story of seeing a python on that very trail. Seeing the python kept me off this trail for years but seems to have had the opposite effect on everyone else. Luckily we did not see a python that day but everyone hiked along briskly and hopefully. The trail “snakes” through the low lying vegetation and then comes to a kilometer or so of uphill. This uphill bit takes you right on to the ridgeline of a thin peninsula of land that juts out into the South China Sea. As you hike between Wan Cham Shan Peak and Sheko O Peak, the sea and coastline and various small islands are visible on either side.

As the rain picked up a bit, we quickly worked our way down off the top of the ridge into the forest and then out on to the road. The trail just deposits hikers right onto the road with a thin shoulder area. Cold and a bit wet, our moods declined as we waited for the bus. We jumped on the first one that came (not going in the exact right direction but close). The kids got on and immediately climbed up the bus stairs to the top deck, once again happy and excited. Back in our early days, negotiating those bus stairs was impossible. Kids fell and everyone cried. Though the family effort on the Dragon’s Back was solid, it was the family’s easy effort on the double decker bus that really amazed me. Clearly, this crew is now in motion.


Post a Comment

<< Home