Wednesday, October 04, 2006

lantau hike with mom and dad

Yesterday my parents and I took a hike in the south of Lantau. We started at the Shek Pik reservoir, walked to the very remote Fan Lau Fort, and then ended up in Tai O. My parents had gone to the fort about 7 years ago, and I'd been wanting to see it for myself since they'd first told me about it.
The trail took us along a road with a water catchment that flows to the reservoir. My mom noticed this interesting bridge with stairs that seem to lead nowhere.

A view of some of the South Lantau beaches.

My parents! I took this from a lookout point that I climbed to for a better view of the beaches. After taking this, I almost fell down the hill. But no worries -- I would have more opportunities to fall later on in the hike...

You can find this sign on a number of trails in HK. I don't think it's ever had the desired "warning" effect on me... it makes a flash flood look like some really cool water-park ride.

My dad enjoying the view.
There's "Chicken Wing" Peninsula (that's a literal translation of one of the Chinese names for this place). The fort is on the very tip, overlooking the Lantau channel, which is a route to the Pearl River. The fort was built to ward off pirates!

Some beach dogs greeting my parents.

An old building (maybe a temple?) by the beach. There's a faint inscription above the door -- any ideas about what it says?

I liked this tree. It looked like something out of a fairy tale.
We saw some very large spiders. Look, this one is almost as big as my dad!

And finally -- we made it to the fort!!
Some information about Fan Lau fort.

The fort entrance.

A couple views of the inside.

And then we came to another beach.

Crab art.

Tide art.

An abandoned beach-front home.
This old man was the only person we saw in Fan Lau village. He was really nice and sold me some much-needed water.
The nice old man and his canine companions.

Looks like people might still live in these buildings.

The Fan Lau village ancestral hall (?)

The inside of the doorway to the ancestral hall.
Soon after taking that last picture, I decided to explore some abandoned houses. While walking back towards the path, I tripped on a step, got my feet tangled in some long grass and, as my hands were occupied with my camera and water bottle, I successfully executed the perfect 10 of face-plants. And only my mom witnessed it. If I could go back in time, I would definitely have her video the fall so that I could embed it here. But alas, all I have to show from it are badly bruised knees and skinned elbows.

Further up the trail we noticed this sign. I was curious...

Here's the much-anticipated water pond. It was a nice way to cool down (though if you look closely, there's a warning about the water being of the "untreated stream" variety).

A dragon fly that I noticed near the pond. On a side note, the white thing is an electrical cord that ran all the way along the path between Fan Lau and a small village near Tai O. Guess it's supplying some remote dwelling with power.
An overgrown shrine that I noticed hidden behind the trees.

This is part of the trail between Fan Lau and Tai O. It was so overgrown! I had just come out of that tall grass when I took this picture, and was so relieved to be out in the open again! Apart from being scratched by the grass and repeatedly hit in the face by branches and twigs, I'd never walked through such thick, tall foliage before, and started feeling a little bit claustrophobic. And it didn't help that I could imagine a snake or other poisonous/dangerous animal falling on my head at any moment. Panic!
Here's some fungus growing on a tree branch. I'm not sure if this stuff is edible, but it reminded me of the fungus I used to eat in China: mu er (literally "wood ear").

Here's a sign that we came to at the end of the especially overgrown section of the trail. I guess my mom noticed a similar sign at the beginning of the trail, which I missed. Anyway, they weren't joking about it being "treacherous" and "seasonally overgrown." But then if we had followed their advice and not proceeded on the trail, we would have had at least a 4 or 5 hour hike back... not an easy decision.

Ginger flowers growing wild. Maybe the ginger (and flowers) were harvested at one time... but not anymore.

Looking for a toilet? Looks like you'd be set going either way.
We made it to Tai O!

There's now a bridge that connects the two sides of Tai O. I think the last time I visited (over 10 years ago) they still used rope to pull a ferry back and forth.

Stilt homes in Tai O.

This beautiful old building is now an HSBC!

Some dried seafood for sale.

A sign in Tai O welcoming mainland tourists down for the National Day holiday (aka "Golden Week"). We had dinner in Tai O and then a 2-hour-2-bus journey back home. What a day!

The end.


sal said...

beautiful lantau!.. i was thinking i would've really liked to join you on the hike..until i came across the spider and treacherous path pictures. glad you are okay after the fall and documented the trip. felt like i was there but without having to worry about strange creatures creeping out of the tall grass.

Mike & Helen said...

So, with all those cuts and bruises, will you be heading back to Lantau this weekend? We haven't had the big long detailed email yet, but perhaps you're still writing it?

Anonymous said...

Hi michelle, thank you for those lovely pictures and your cute cat videos. *sigh* I miss you guys in HK! :-) Wow... Lantau is so pretty! I'll be running the Long Beach marathon this sunday... i'll try and take some pictures like you did of your hike of my run. make sense? anyway... good to read fom you darling. have a great day! love, athania

janepaddy said...

your blog is such fun to read michelle! salome is right. it felt like i was there, except i didn't get any of the nasty parts. how's hong kong?

Mike & Helen said...

So where's the Bronto's pics? :)

michelle said...

thanks for the friendly reminder. :) yes, a branto's post is coming soon!