Life after …

Photography

What is life like to be carefree? For the most part, nothing has changed yet until my bank account runs dry in a few months. It’s just pointless to worry now while I should be enjoying my break. I have left my skeptic part of me behind. That is, if your reading glasses are fogged; why not just take it off until the moisture goes away?

Beach

I realized a few things I hadn’t while I still had my day job.
First, I could enjoy reading books.
Second, I’m so open to try out eateries (on my budget) out of the district.
Third, the city feels so right during the office hours.

Resting Cows

I have stacks of books, food magazines and some monthly art journals on the desk right next to me. It’s not that I do not have time, not that I’m lazy; It’s just that I do not have a proper reading space at home, with all the complicated reasons when living with parents. That proper reading space means everything when it comes to reading. It allows you to concentrate, relax and even indulge by the authors’ writing. I admit i’m only a light reader, but I understand the benefits when reading the right books, and the right topics can learn a few things or two. If the internet/social media is the fast food, then reading a printed publication would be a proper dining experience. Reading is also a great way to tame your patience. 1 hour of quality reading in a park is now what I do in the week days.

Bamboo

Speaking of food, I just want to use it on all the burnt calories over the weekend. It can be boring to eat at the same restaurants over and over again with the same cuisine especially Hong Kong has so many restaurants to choose from. The most difficult part is to walk through that entrance (or settle the bill). I have not cooked (except cereal) for nearly a month now.

Running Men

It does feel guilty to wander around the city during the office hours while everyone is at work. Streets, parks, restaurants, coffee shops are all quiet and mostly empty. I just love to take full advantage during those hours.

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High Island Reservoir

The Plover Cove Reservoir was my longest hike until I tried the High Island Reservoir – with a total of 22km. The most interesting part of this hike was the “internationally rare acidic hexagonal volcanic rock columns”. 3/4 of the hike belongs to National Geographic dream trail – the MacLehose Trail. Like many seasoned hikers have said, they’d do anything to avoid hiking on those routes. I could not agree more as I stepped onto those sections. It must have been widely advertised by the travel agencies since then, there were just a little too many mix of hikers/tourists. Scenery was also average throughout the way. No wonder most guides recommend taking a taxi to the dam where the rock columns are.

The Korean Hikers

I love the part where I completed it and returned to the same spot 8 hours ago. I dislike the part where half of the route was an open concrete road with traffic.

Leap of Faith

Photography

Looking to Sunset Peak

It was my second attempt on this route. Knowing the fact that I may get lost, I could slip and fall because of steepness and natural of terrain, I could chicken out because of height. The mentality of these half day hike journeys is that once I started, it has to be finished; if I don’t, I’d come back with a much better prep. This route by all means is nothing like the Alps’, but in my heart this is exactly what it is.

I had grabbed on anything that gives me a pull, even I had to crawl to get that grip.

I’d returned to the same spot where I got lost last time at the downhill rocky stream (there should be a way up after going down to certain point). I was really cautious from that point on. Not only because I was not certain with the direction, it’s because I did not know what’s ahead. Would it lead to another route that requires more advance climbing? Would there be wet spots where I would not get any grip on? Would there be cliffs where an excessive amount of courage is needed?

All the above doubts could cloud my judgement. So instead, I only focused on what’s in front of eyes and tackle them one by one.

Waving in the air

Near the last stretch to the peak, I came to a cliff where I had to slide across. On my left side, there was not a landing spot, my right side had a gap (not quite exactly a solid gripping spot) between two huge rocks, and there’s not enough head room to stand. A rather awkward position to manuever. Not only i had to crawl 2 meters on a rock that was only 1-foot wide without a solid grip, I had to switch from that crawling position to uplight position on a 4-inch wide tip of a rock next to nothing. That’s when I really wanted wind to stop for a moment. When all that was over, I said to myself I had completed a stunt.

The sun was right behind where I was climbing, which made it rather cool on a fine 26ºC day. As I was reaching the top, I began hearing chatter of people, I felt the warmth from the sun. The sunlight gradually reappeared as I reached the Lantau Peak (934m).

The Peak

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I considered this trip as a test. When life seems to be not moving ahead, I want to try and prove myself worthy. While It’s not imaginable of what’s ahead, nobody can predict the future, but one can make a huge influence on the outcome.

Days ago it was the HK Food & Culture Book: From Dim Sum to Abalone book launch party, the book that I contributed as a photographer. I’d been thankful enough knowing the team. I invited several other people to celebrate with us. That might be my first time ever inviting people from all different circles. A blogger/world traveller we recently met in person for the first time, we’d been following each other for a while which she just happened to settle in the city for a few years. She’s been really honest in giving me feedbacks on my blog and photography. My former classmate in secondary school. He offers me opportunity in his startup tea business. This was the main reason I learn about Chinese tea. Then there’s my sister who’s willing to be around backing me up. I introduced all of them to each other.

 

Slip and Fall

Photography

Landscape

Recently I discovered that I had not experienced my usual respiratory allergy in the morning. Thanks to staying active from my hikes. This allergy somehow came back (it may just be a seasonal thing), maybe this made me persist and went on a hike in weather I swear I’d not dare trying. It was the relatively high temperature, the scattered shower, high humidity, the bugs (little spiders and their webs)…

The terrain of this trail was already a bit of a challenge for hikers like me, which’s not so seasoned and not so newish. With rain and humidity, it can turn everything upside down, literally. Sand can turn into mud and mud is just as slippery as the icy snow. I took this adventure and learned my lesson on my early third or forth hike last year, except this time after months later, it’s worse.

After reaching these 600m peaks, there was a narrow, steep downhill muddy path. I had to pull on the tall grass and bushes every so often just to get my balance. I got through a few steep ones. Toward the end of this path, I finally slipped and fell. I laughed at myself while on the ground with mud on my hands shortly after I fell. I said to myself ‘I finally fell.’ I wasn’t hurt, not even a scratch.

Waterfall

Am I a mad man? The entire hike journey I’ve only met 1 person on the way. And he does not even live in the city.

No, it was never as dramatic as ‘Man vs. Wild’. It’s only that I grew up in the city and never received any scout training. That’s why hiking off-road with the these conditions mentioned has always been a test to my survival mindset. I treat it as a problem solving game. I did tackle all these environmental obstacles one by one, very much continuously on every step i take.

Celebration of nature

And to be fair, the easy trails can just be a brainless hangout with your friends.