The Healing Powers of Nature

“Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace.”
-Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson.
Introduction

I was originally going to call this post ‘The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men – Part Two. Just when I thought it was safe to start making plans again things took a turn for the worst with a bad attack of arthritis in my left knee. I had previously been diagnosed with degenerative arthritis some years ago, probably a combination of age and the aftermath of a bad motorbike accident in my 20s.

I had been slowly increasing my daily target and feeling great, despite a nagging pain in my knee. Then, I awoke one morning and it was no longer nagging but demanding attention. This is what happens when you get overconfident and stop listening to your body’s warning signs. They say that pain is a great warning sign that something isn’t right. In fact, even Arnold Swartzenegger, the professional strong man, was once asked if anything ever hurt him. His reply was, “Only pain.”

Leaving home

The knee injury is more annoying than serious. But, like any injury, if it is to heal, it must be taken seriously. I’d spent almost a week resting and waiting for it to improve and doing only the minimum required steps. The pain would ease and then return. Then today, my lovely wife suggested that we take a walk through the Mui Shue Hang Park. She chose this location because it has several entrances and exits and in a worst-case scenario, you are never too far from public transport.

Getting to the park

We took the 64K KMB bus and alighted at Parc Versailles, a housing estate just outside of Tai Wo and close to the park entrance. As we crossed the footbridge leading into the park we paused to listen to the river sounds. As there has been a lot of rain recently, there was a lot more water running.

It is said that being amongst trees and nature is one of the best cures for whatever ails you. There is certainly plenty of both in the park and I firmly believe this to be true.

It has long been established that spending time in nature helps to reduce stress levels. This of course, assists in lowering blood pressure. Reduced stress allows us to take a fresh look at ourselves and the problems we face, including physical problems. “Being in nature increases dopamine and serotonin in our brains – chemicals that are associated with an improved sense of satisfaction and motivation.” (The Healing Power of Nature).
Plenty of clean and sheltered seats along the path

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One of the great things about this particular park is there are a lot of sitting areas where you can rest and enjoy your surroundings. As we arrived in the late morning, most of the people who visit the park as their daily routine had already left and we had the place almost to ourselves.

The Trees

My regular readers will know of my love affair with trees. I never tire of being close to them.

Amazing root systems

The Twins

We never forget to look for these two trees on every visit
Conclusion

I am happy to say that in the few days it took me to prepare this post my affliction has improved a great deal and I am able to get out and about. I’ll have to be careful for the next week or so and, this time, pay attention to the warning signs.

For further information on the Mui Shue Hang Park please take a look here and here.

Thank you for visiting Stewart Goes Walkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can contact us here:

 

 

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The Ng Tung Chai Falls

Introduction

As I have mentioned on several occasions in these pages, my navigational skills are not up to scratch. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to learn that we attempted the Ng Tung Chai falls without bothering to look at the readily available route map.

As a result, we were unprepared for the first part of the route which was along a single-track road that lead us up into the hills. It wasn’t particularly onerous but rather boring, because we didn’t know what to expect until we arrived at the Man Tak Yuen temple where the concrete road gave way to a footpath. We then hiked up to the Bottom Falls.

The route and getting to the start

Take the 64K KMB bus from either the terminus at Tai Po Market Station or pick it up at Tai Wo MTR. The Ng Tung Chai stop will be announced. Please remember to bring sufficient water with you as there are no shops along the route. If, like me, you use a water filtration bottle or similar system you can make use of the tap in the public toilet near the beginning of the walk.

The route map courtesy of the Leisure & Cultural Services Department

Alighting from the bus, start the route by walking up Chai Kek Road. The route is well signposted and as there are few turn-offs you can’t go too far wrong.

You will soon come to the public toilet.

Shortly after you come to the ornate archway for Man Tak Gardens. From this point onwards the scenery becomes more interesting.

Following Man Tak Garden you soon come onto the footpath.

The scenery along the way
The sign at the beginning of the footpath. Personally, I did not find the path that difficult but the bad weather warning is certainly valid

After the concrete road, the footpath was a pleasant change. It was quite steep in places but for the most part, well maintained.

I always manage to find a rock with my name on it

 

It wasn’t long before we came to a sign announcing that we had reached the Bottom Fall. You have to leave the main footpath and descend a fairly steep path down to the river where you will get a great view of the falls. Although we were tired, it was well worth the effort and we rested on the rocks below the falls.

 

With regard to water, if you bring along a filtration device it would be possible to drink the water, but it’s always wiser to make sure you have sufficient water before setting out. Also, while the water is running, you should be aware that some hikers take a swim in the upper falls.

It is not uncommon to see hikers ascending the rock face beside the falls so that they can jump into the rock pool below. In 2019 one hiker was killed and another badly injured after falling from these rocks.

After resting we made our way back up to the footpath. The Middle and Upper falls were not too far away, but we decided to leave them for another day and made our way back down to Lam Kam Road.

Conclusions

A little bit of homework on our part would have prepared us for the hike but despite that, it was quite pleasant. The Ng Tung Chai Falls is on my bucket list of routes to be repeated in the coming season.

SGW: You need to be careful of the weather with regard to rain. Sitting on the rocks beneath a waterfall is the last place you want to be if it starts raining.

Getting home was simply a matter of walking back down to Lam Kam Road and waiting for the 64K bus to take us back to Tai Po.

Thank you for visiting Stewart Goes Walkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can contact us here:

 

 

Merchandising

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Lam Tsuen Meander

To meander – To walk somewhere in an aimless fashion

Introduction

Despite the onset of September, the weather has remained disappointingly hot. It has been too hot for any serious hiking. Today though, the weather forecast for the Lam Tsuen area looked promising. The temperature was supposed to be 28-30 degrees Centigrade with little chance of rain.

In the past, I have jokingly said that the Hong Kong Observatory actually uses a dart board to predict the weather. More and more I am convinced of the old saying, “many a true word spoken in jest.”

The route

We set off walking through some of the villages heading in the direction of the She Shan River, a picturesque area in Lam Tsuen. Almost immediately, it was pretty obvious that the temperature forecast was incorrect. It was hot, 32 degrees plus!

 

Passing through one of the villages along the route
They padlocked the bridge to stop anyone from stealing it…
A nest, I didn’t want to get too close in case I disturbed the inhabitants
It would be pleasant to have a picnic in this area as all you can hear is bird song and running water

The first glimpse of the She Shan River

 

The She Shan River

However, the She Shan River is always pleasant and despite the heat it was nice to walk along the footpath, listening to the birdsong and sounds of the river. Butterflies were out in force but unfortunately, very camera-shy. We also saw a few dragonflies, harbingers of rain, but they were equally camera-shy.

A porcupine quill. I have seen many of these over the years but never the owners

We made our way to Hang Ha Po where we stopped to rehydrate and then took public transport into Tai Po to do some shopping. Very luckily, just as we got on the 25K Green Minibus to return to Lam Tsuen, the heavens opened and we were treated to a really torrential downpour. The HKO was down two out of two. Perhaps they need a new dartboard!

Not exactly a hike, but it was nice to get out and about.

Thank you for visiting Stewart Goes Walkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can contact us here:

 

 

Merchandising

Take a look at the T-Shirts we have on offer.

Help us to make a commitment to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Dont buy drinking water in plastic bottles when its easy to bring it from home. Lets work together to save the planet.