Hiking With Allen in Toronto

Introduction

Stewart Goes Walkies is very grateful to have received this article and photos from a very old friend, Allen Lai. Allen was my climbing partner and mentor and saw me through many of my more successful climbing ventures. He was also present at some of my least successful as well.

These included celebrating my birthday on Black’s Link, getting drunk on cheap wine at the Shek O sea cliffs and climbing Zig Zag on Suicide Wall.

Inspired by my efforts to hike a minimum of 5 km a day, Allen decided to make a similar effort.

Allen writes:

It’s always very inspiring to read my old climbing buddy Stewart’s blog about his various hikes in Hong Kong. His target of 5 km a day is one thing I decided I would like to add to my boring daily life under COVID 19.

Living in Toronto, let me share my last three days experience in trying to hike 5 km.

Day 1.

I woke up early, it was a beautiful sunny day so I drove to the park. Remember, in Toronto, we don’t usually walk, we drive everywhere. Public transport is few and far between. The temperature gauge registered -17 deg C outside, and that was without the windchill. I wound down the window, took a deep breath, started the car and went home. 

I can’t help thinking, how lucky Stewart is to be living in Hong Kong with beautiful weather all year round. (Apart from the occasional typhoon, and monsoon rain). 

Day 2

Another beautiful day, only -2C, and perhaps -5 with the windchill. I drove to the nearby golf course and managed to do a 5 km walk. It’s a public course, they close in winter, but allow people to hike inside.

There was not a single soul, no waterhole to quench my thirst, no bird song, no one to say hi, exchange greetings, or even just to ask what the time is? The place is flat, as with most golf courses.

Remember, it’s Ontario, if I want to see anything resembling a mountain, I have to drive 6 hours to Lake Placid in the US. I can’t help thinking, how lucky you are Stewart, you have all the mountains at your doorstep. Always a change of scenery.

Day 3

Today I woke up to a blizzard. I spent two hours watching people trying to get out of the underground parking lot and failing because of the deep snow. Back to the bed, I went.

At around 3 pm, the weather cleared up a bit. Driving to the park I found that I couldn’t get in. The snowbank created by the snowploughs was waist-deep.

I couldn’t park on the sidewalk as there was too much snow. I finally drove to my friend’s home nearby. Parked the car there and started my walk. The snow was knee-deep, snowshoes and walking poles were a must. Since no one else was walking, I had to break the trail. That meant, I have to bring my feet knee-high to make every single step, while at the same time, bracing myself against the icy cold north wind.

I was wearing several layers of clothing, and after about a kilometre, I was sweating like a pig, but the icy strong wind stopped me from removing any layer. Anyway, I can’t even stop in the blizzard.

On the return trip, I thought I would benefit from the track I made earlier. Wrong! The wind had filled it up flat and I had to do it all over again. As for the scenery, everything was white, the trees are white, the pond is white, the river is white, and so was the air. I can’t help thinking, how lucky you are Stewart, hiking 5 km a day, all you need is to put on your shorts and t-shirt, and jump on a bus.

At least I was rewarded by this beautiful sunset
Comments by Stewart

First of all, let me say I will never complain about hiking in the rain again. We are so fortunate in Hong Kong that we can get out and hike with as little as a lightweight jacket. And, while I am so pleased that I have inspired Allen to get out and start hiking, I am amazed at his dedication at doing so in such conditions.

 

My friend and mentor, Allen Lai

I am very grateful to Allen for taking the time and trouble to send me this article and, as mentioned, quite honestly, I am amazed at his tenacity. Furthermore, as I inspired him, I hope he inspires others to get out and make the effort, regardless of the conditions. He has certainly re-inspired me.

Allen’s caption for this photo was “Only managed 1 Km today.”

Allen, I think it’s great that you are even trying to get out and walk in such conditions. Stay strong old friend!

Thank you for visiting stewartgoeswalkies. 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 send it to stewartgoeswalkies@gmail.com

stewartgoeswalkies is committed to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Don’t buy drinking water in plastic bottles when it’s easy to bring it from home. Let’s work together to save the planet.

 

 

Books and Other Publications – The Isle of the Rat

Introduction

The Isle of the Rat, a novella, was published in hard copy in October 1994. It was the second of Sloan’s books to be published by Hong Kong Horrors. It was well received and is considered by some as his best work.

Synopsis

The year is 1908, and three ornithologists visit a remote island in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Two of them are hideously killed during the night. The survivor, and the primary suspect, appears to be out of his mind.

The Hong Kong Water Police, led by William Stratton, Assistant Superintendent of Police, investigate. What they uncover is an unbelievable tale of murder and revenge. The only clue Stratton has to go on is that everything points back to something that happened, years ago, on The Isle of the Rat.

Stewart Goes Walkies is pleased to offer The Isle of the Rat as a PDF for the price of US$ 3.99. Payment may be made via PayPal.

Purchase Procedure:
  • Please send an email to stewartgoeswalkies@gmail.com indicating the title of the publication you wish to purchase.
  • Upon receipt of your email, we will generate an invoice through PayPal which will be sent to your email address.
  • PayPal will send us a confirmation of your payment.
  • Upon receipt of the confirmation, we will forward the Publication to the email address provided.

Please take a look at our earlier publications on offer:

Temutma

The Sorceress

Tales of the Visayas

The Dragon and Other Stories

Eastern Horrors

 

Hong Kong residents wishing to purchase this publication may contact me via the above email for alternative arrangements.

 

Thank you for your interest.

 

 

 

 

 

Fanling to Tai Wo

Another Scenic Exercise Walk
Introduction

Hiking the cycle track between Fanling and Tai Wo is a good training walk for anyone wanting to lose a few pounds and increase fitness. It is a safe, secure route. Also, as you pass by several villages where you can find transportation in the form of minibuses, it would also be suitable for children.

Fanling has been mentioned in a few of our posts. You can check out the Hong Kong Railway Museum in Taipo for some history. Fanling is also the starting point for several hiking routes. The route from Fanling to Lam Tsuen is a strenuous walk via Wu Tip Shan. It requires a degree of fitness and some preparation. 

However, today’s route is considerably easier and follows the cycle track, road and footpath that runs between the Pat Sin Leng and Lam Tsuen Country Parks.

Getting there

To get to the start of the walk, take the MTR to Fanling Station and look for Exit A. You will find A2 on the right at the beginning of the footbridge that takes you over to the Fanling Town Centre. Descend the stairs at A2, and the walk begins!

Exit A2 is on the right of this photo
The Route

Follow the footpath round to the left. The path then turns right and, when you see Cheung Wo House across the road, you know you are on the right track. You are now on San Wan Road. Follow San Wan Road to the junction with Jockey Club Road. Look to your right, and you will see an ESSO service station. Cross the road and continue past the station. From this point, the route is obvious.

The route from the A2 Exit to Jockey Club Road and the ESSO station

 

Jockey Club Road and the ESSO Service Station in the near distance. There is a pedestrian crossing just before the station.

Leaving Fanling

 

The route briefly follows the Ma Wat River and in the near distance is the entrance to the Lung Shan Tunnel

 

The Ho Yin Lodge

The Ho Yin Lodge is a ancestral hall located in Kau Lung Hang Lo Wai village.

The first drink shop along the route

Just after the drink shop is the first of two foot bridges that take you over the railway track.

The view over the valley from the top of the foot bridge

The last of the drinks shops, friendly and welcoming staff.

Approaching the second of the foot bridges and a pleasant surprise. As we arrived at the top of the bridge we looked back at the farm we had just passed and saw goats and a ram gambolling about in the field.

 

Then it was on towards Hong Lok Yuen and the last part of the route to Tai Wo.

Something we weren’t expecting – a toy car graveyard

Very close to Hong Lok Yuen now, we followed the road and footpath to the left but you can save yourself a few moments by following the cycle track to the right.

 

 

In order to continue to Tai Wo turn right through the underpass and then turn left. If you are getting weary by this stage you can carry on straight. You will come to a bus stop where you can get either a KMB bus or minibus into Tai Wo.

Turn left out of the underpass

Emerging from the underpass brings you onto Taipo Taiwo Road

 

Passing Parc Versaille on the right, Taiwo Plaza is only ten minutes away.

 

And you have arrived. The rest area to the left of the photo is a great place to relax and rest your weary feet.

In conclusion – The Pros and Cons

The Pros – The route is safe and and direct so it is very hard to get lost. As you pass by several villages along the way, if you want to call it quits you can jump on a minibus to Tai Wo.

There are several drink shops along the way incase you run out of water or want a snack.

The Cons – At the start of the walk there is a lot of construction, which rather distracts from the enjoyment of the walk.

And finally, the distance walked from Exit A2 at Fanling to the entrance to Tai Wo Plaza was just over 9.7 kilometers and with rest stops took around 3 hours.

Thank you for visiting stewartgoeswalkies. 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 send it to stewartgoeswalkies@gmail.com

stewartgoeswalkies is committed to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Don’t buy drinking water in plastic bottles when it’s easy to bring it from home. Let’s work together to save the planet.