27th September, 1997
Stages 1, 2, 3 of Maclehose Trail
After what seems like an eternity since our last trek, Chris and I set off from Pak Tam Chung at around 3pm on this cool overcast Saturday afternoon to experience a little night walking, and find out a few things about what to expect on the 21st of November.
Stage one was predictably boring, and we reached the end of the main reservoir wall around 1 and a half hours into the walk. From there it's up and over a small rise and then back down to the first beach where the monestary is. Not wasting any time, we legged it up the biggest hill of stage 2 (about a 20 minute climb) in perfect conditions. There was none of the heat we experienced back on the 20th of July, so we were both feeling fine at the top.
We were actually well ahead of expected schedule by the time we reached the shops at Sai Wan, and I was beginning to think we'd be at the end of stage 2 long before our support team was supposed to arrive at 8pm. We had arranged for Don, Mary, Sarah, Craig and Jenny to meet up with us for a water fill-up, then they would head off to Pepperonni's for a feed while we completed stage 2. With the mobile phone out of range, we had to wait until we were about a half hour from the end before we could call them to see how far away they were.
Now things get a little interesting. It got dark around 6:30 just as we were coming off the beach at Tai Long, before the hill that takes you over to the speed boats. We were both ready and were really happy with our light arrangements. We blitzed through the end of stage 2, completing 1 and 2 in a very respectable 4.5 hours. This had us at the road by 7:25, and with our support crew due to arrive at 8pm we were not too concerned and sat down for a drink, change of socks, and a short wait. Short became moderate and moderate became lengthy, and when my pager erupted into song with the message "SARAH: WE ARE LOST", all I could guess at is that Karl was with them. (Actually Karl met up with them at the restaurant later, so I wasn't far off).
To their credit, our wonderful support crew (I hope they are reading this) arrived about 8:15, and we quickly suited up and legged it up and over stage three. This stage is a bitch terrain-wise and we slogged it out in dark, cool and very windy weather in 2 and a quarter hours. There were two points of note for stage 3, the first being a very odd snake that we saw. It was banded in vivid black and white stripes across it's body and didn't want to move off the path for us at all. The other was a small diversion to some grave sight that we somehow managed to find instead of the trail. Interesting anyway.
We both finished in good health, and would have had no trouble continuing on if necessary. There was however, a chilly Crown Lager waiting for me at Pepperoni's and who was I to disappoint it...... See you tomorrow!