31st August, 1997
Hong Kong Trail
Saturday night's weather report was for cloudy conditions with a few showers. Given the accuracy of HK weather reports, it came as no surprise to find we had bright sunshine, high humidty and very hot conditions of 28 to 33 degrees. That's minimum to maximum for the whole day! All in all, a most uncomfortable day for hiking.
In any case, we set off from the peak around 8am and took off at a cracking pace, averaging around 7 km/hr for the first couple of hours. This could not last for the whole 50 km, and it didn't. The heat really sapped the energy, and we were going through water and Gatorade at a tremendous rate. Chris and I have a very different style when it comes to hiking. He seems to really go at it on the flat and downhill sections, whereas the uphills are my speciality. We stuck together pretty much throughout the whole day though, and just took our time in the really tough conditions.
We reached Wong Nai Chung gap in around 4 and a half hours, where we stopped at a service station for a water top-up. That was a good place to rest actually, because just after there is Jardine's lookout and Mt Butler. This is the toughest climb, and was also done at the very hottest time of the day - a pretty rediculous combination really. Things progressed relatively well from there, until we reached the Hoby club. This is at the base of the climb to Shek O peak, at one end of Dragon's Back. That climb took it's toll, especially with Chris who hates the hills (but that'll change with practice) and about mid-way along Dragon's back we stopped for a break of around 20 minutes in fear of death. It really was tiring stuff. To our credit though we did tough out the last hour and finished in a not too tardy time of 9 hrs and 56 minutes. Compared to the 8:15 that I managed this same walk in back at Easter time, it really goes to show what a difference the heat can make!
Other interesting things from this hike included the two squirrels we spotted during the early morning, as well as a large snake on the road near Wan Chai gap. With Sark only having one more weekend in HK before moving to Aus, I'm sure we'll do something big next weekend. After that I think I'll take one off. These long walks in the heat are a fairly vicious thing!