930m

Photography

They say the best way to deal with fear is to face the fear. The highest mountain is always there for any challengers who wish to conquer. Tai Mo Shan is the highest mountain in Hong Kong. And the first time when I passed by the bottom of this mountain, I was thinking how tall it is. I kept thinking another time, another day, just not the coming week for this. It was always a wishful thinking to encourage myself get ready and learn more from my experiences before the ultimate hike.

I thought it was the wildest idea to hike anywhere on the hottest day of the summer. It turned out It was not just doable, it was a good way to sweat, to train, to explore all at once. There’s no point in waiting until the next winter and spring.

On this hike to Tai Mo Shan, I picked this route on the last minute right before going to bed. I knew this day would come, just not this soon, not after that good night sleep. Unlike most seasoned hikers prefer begin early in the morning, I prefer in the afternoon and finish by dusk.

The highlight of this route i took was the waterfall. It’s the longest waterfall in Hong Kong and it’s broken down into at least 3 main sections. I spent altogether 30 minutes just to appreciate our nature. You can travel around the world and take a transportation to sightsee the biggest, widest waterfalls, but you can never get this feeling of exploration on foot. It was the first time I felt like playing a real-life video game. There was a little climbing required, some narrow passes were by cliffs, allow 1 person at a time. No wonder there were so few hikers I found on the way.

Mountain Top
Bull

It takes some courage to finish this rocky section before reaching the next stage at around altitude of 700m. Not only it was long, it was steep. The last stage was a tarmac road path and that’s when I met a bull munching on the grass in distance quietly. The thin haze and the gentle mountain slopes at the back completes the beautiful scenery and there I was sitting on a rock overseeing the entire real life picture. I’d been really fortunate camping at the right direction where cows walk right by my side.

water
Waterfalling on a boy

There was not much to see then from there on, except the gigantic globe at the observatory station. It was so foggy even on a clear day like this. That’s why Tai Mo Shan 大帽山 (phase meaning: Big Hat Mountain) is often called as ‘The Foggy Mountain 大霧山’ which it sounds exactly the same as the original name in Cantonese.

peek
hangout

It’s noticeably not as hot as it was in the lower altitudes. The downhill path was all tarmac road path. Motorists can easily drive up to 700m in the country park through this path. I suddenly felt like an idiot when there’s a much easier way to get to the peak. I immediately realize the cruelty in my life. The things I do in life are never the shortcuts, never the easy way, never equipped to be one of the best or at least above the average. I wish to live a life without worrying on career and income, is there such way?

leaves
On a rock

I still do not get it, do I?

Nature and Us

Photography

Nature as one

Classrooms, labs and museums are some of the most common medium to learn out of the world and all things science. Biology has been the most interesting subject under that umbrella. Knowledge-wise in the basic level has the least amount of formula and calculation required for understanding. Many of these ideas are just pure fact which makes it relatively easy for common folks to acknowledge. Tigers are in the cat species, Bats are mammals, so on and so forth.

Wanderer

Another subject I used to like the most was Geography. Similar to Biology, they both have close relation to our nature. Perhaps I may not remember a thing after so long, when I come across the geological formations, natural phenomenons, occurrences; it kept me curious enough to read about it.

Sand
Beach

Science field trips only granted to those who have shown interests and maybe throw in some good grades in order to persuade the superiors you’re one curious individual. These trips are easily to manage for the instructors and professors in labs and museums. Ironically as a grown up kid when I begin appreciate as a living being, I found learning out of classrooms or simply just be there in the nature would give a vivid and immersive experience. I see live animals communicate without our word based language. I see trees stay as strong as they can without our civilized supports. I see all these animals fulfilling their roles to balance the nature. They all have a purpose to maintain their homes without dominating. And what are our roles? Are we the keepers to maintain the cycles of nature? Or are we creating another cycle of nature to better our own kind?

Buff Buffalo
Playful Monkeys

Our society becomes our own jungle. Many of us were born equal, but the our later life statuses and classes determines the societal layer we reside in for at least half of our lives. This hierarchy keeps our society running. It’s often seen in the less competitive countries, the way of life is not as fierce and people are content. What good does it do (to us) when the city uses its resources to maintain the top of its game (economically), while sacrificing the city peoples common love and happiness. Are we creating a new nature where most of us not habitable?

Wanderer
Wanderer's gaze

The First Contact

Photography

I’ve always fond of animals. Besides the wildlife documentaries often shown on our TV, zoo has always been the go-to place to get to see them. There’s not a dedicated zoo in Hong Kong if we exclude our theme park (Ocean Park – more of an aquarium) and the super outdated Botanical Garden with a mini zoo. It’s nothing like the St. Louis Zoo (USA) and ChimeLong Safari Park (China) I’ve been to.

While a zoo can never be as entertaining as the one in the Jurassic Park movie, it still has its place. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ activity. If you’re really bored, you can stare at a bird or taunt a monkey for as long as you want. All that happen in a perfectly safe setting. Have you ever imagine where there’s nothing between you and them?

Military Facility
Popsticle

when I first started hiking beginning of this year, there were two girls looking into the woods across by the simple barrier. As soon as they left, I wanted to see what they saw. That’s when I came across a live wild bore the first time. It was just 10 meters away. They normally won’t attack human unless their lives are being threatened. I’ve never heard any got injured when they see one. Most of the news were them getting lost in the city.

One of the most common wild animals are cows. It was a unsettling feeling when I came across a group of them. They were huge, I was alone still on a mountain late at dusk and completely blocked my way through. When I think of cows, I think of the Spanish bullfighting. The fact was, those cows near me had got horns. It turned out they were calmer than the tamed dogs in my neighborhood.

Butterflies
Quality Time

Another wild animal that is also common are monkeys. I learned from TV that they steal hikers’ food and beverages when not properly kept. They do hold a very steady population, so our ‘Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’ had done sterilization on some of them. Again, I got influences from movies and programs; made me think of ebola, rabies and all kind of hard to cure virus/diseases. I came across a huge gang of them recently. At first, one of them was just there chilling with a popsicle and another pair enjoying quality time by the water. All these happened before it rained. I was making my way back and I came across them again. This time they were moving in groups by the side of a steep ramp. One of the smaller ones got slid and fell down from that ramp. That’s when their leaders unhappy about my proximity. The angry growl was a clear signal i got to move away. I eventually got pounced on the leg by their leader.

Mirror
Moving in groups

There’s no negotiation between you and the wild animals. They do not care who you are, what you have. No wonder we often refer them as the beasts.