hk 062014 part 3: lantau sunset peak

hidden in the mist: a piece of europe

we were beat after maclehose so we weren’t sure if we could make it to lantau. thankfully, the foot massage at happy foot helped revived us somewhat so the next day, we pressed on to lantau island as planned. i was debating whether to do lantau peak (stage 3, steep ascent) or sunset peak (stage 2, less steep than lantau peak). finally settled on sunset peak (大東山) after consulting friends (really beautiful they said).

all-right.

we took a ferry from central pier, #6 (an hour’s ride to mui-o). it was first-come-first-served and trips were frequent; the octopus could be used too. that was the easy part.

once disembarked at mui-o (梅窩, plum nest), we were a bit lost. which bus? to complicate matters, it was a public holiday – dragon boat festival – and the little town was deserted. the bus office was closed so we couldn’t ask anyone. finally we decided to take a taxi. but the queue was 100 metres long and there was no taxi. eventually, after braving the wrath of an irritated bus conductor and using sign language, we found out that bus #1 would bring us to our desired destination: a certain stop along south lantau road which was before the top of a hill.

suddenly, as we were about to board, the people of the 100m queue abandoned their stakeouts and rushed to join us in the bus too.

actually, all the buses from mui-o goes to where we wanted to alight. see map below. the octopus can be used for the buses too.

lantau bus routes

lantau bus routes

our destination was nam shan (南山 south ridge), check point 5, start of the lantau stage 2 trail. we had to alight before the top of that hill which stood between mui-o and pui-o (貝澳 mussels bay).

from mui-o to nam shan

from mui-o to nam shan, check point 5 

this trail would lead us to sunset peak and then down to pak kung au (伯公坳 grand uncle’s hollow). total distance: 6.5km.

lantau sunset peak trail, cp 5 to cp 18

lantau sunset peak trail, cp 5 to cp 18

the stop wasn’t so far from mui-o but being first timers, we had to make doubly sure before announcing our departure to the driver. by then, we were already over the hill. good thing the bus stops were not too far apart.

here's the tell tale sign

here’s the tell tale sign

we found the first check point easily. the trouble was, after the sign, the steps and the folly up there, the trail opened up into a wide expanse with a couple more trails spiralling out in different directions but there were no signs until you get to the individual trails. anyway, keep to the trail to the left side.

the trail started to climb steeply soon,  so we were surprised when we came to a helicopter landing pad. how did they sneak that in?

before long, we emerged into the open again to breath-taking scenery.

it was another hot day

the umbrella was out because it was another hot day

the path beckoned

the trail was green but unshaded 

from the trail

but what a nice view

green green grass

and the green kept going on

green hills, blue sky and white clouds

green hills, blue sky, white clouds – a nice backdrop for a photo shoot 

we followed the trail around the hill and came to a clearing that showcased a panoramic view of the bays and islands.

leaving the sea behind

leaving the sea and islands behind

reaching a checkpoint

further up, a new checkpoint

which hill is this?

that led to this hill. what hill is this?

getting up

moving on, leaving the hill behind

we passed that by

gorgeous green 

the airport

the airport. somewhere out there, there’s a nice waterfall. 

rounding the bend

another check point? 

here was the part where the trail crossed another one:  Wong Lung Hang Country Trail  (黃龍坑 yellow dragon pit). we met some hikers who came up via this route.

milestone!

milestone!

not long after, we came to the camping huts, shrouded in the mist. it was almost like we were in europe. as it was all very nice and cool, we lingered and stayed to enjoy the sights and watch hikers stroll by.

sunset peak

camping huts on ridge

taking 5 at house #18

take 5 at house #18: watching people go by

misty

it got misty

when we felt we’d dawdled enough, we made our way past the camping huts towards sunset peak.

moving up sunset peak

walking towards sunset peak

rocks we saw on the way to the peak

rocks along the way to the peak (to the left) 

climbing, climbing

climbing, climbing, it was steep

at the peak, there was a clearing from where we could look down to the bay below. 

trying to get a signal on the phone

trying to get a signal on the phone?

beautiful bay from the top

no, actually admiring the beautiful bay below  – maybe pui-o?

 on the way, there were many big stones, such as this.

a test of might

a test of might

the descent offered up some of the most beautiful views ever. so glad we came up via nam shan and could enjoy the views while going down. here are some of my favourite shots. 

first glimpse of the down route

view from sunset peak before descent

start of the descent

start of descent

down and down and down

down, down and down

bracing

pressing on

via the valley

passing through the hills

what's next

taking a breather

along the way, lantau peak sashayed into view. from our trail, we could make out the trail going up and up. but the summit was shrouded in mist. very glad we didn’t choose lantau peak. it looked quite forbidding. not sure we would have enjoyed it as much as sunset peak.

lantau peak

lantau peak trail

hikers coming up via pak kung au

hikers coming up via pak kung au

the trail gentles

getting nearer to the end

almost there

almost there

we reached check point 18 and tung chung road (東涌道 east diversion road) about 5 hours from when we started, then took bus #11 to tai-o (大澳 big bay). tai-o was super crowded with local and foreign tourists. on other days, i might have revelled in the merry-making. but having just came down from a beautiful tranquil trek, it was jarring to the senses.

luckily, we managed to find refuge in a cafe-b&b that served very good beer: espace elastique b&b. along the same stretch, there were 1 or 2 more cafes.

taking notes

taking notes

another beer!

best before 11.11.14: not taking any chances!

we were tired. but felt satisfied and accomplished. no more hikes tomorrow. it’s shopping time!

(the shopping started right after we reached tung chung station. 😀 )

 

 

 

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