Sunset Peak gave a summit meets the sea view but it also came with a lot of challenge. It was about 7 kilometers of pure climb starting from Mui Wo Ferry Station on a really hot day. The view did make up for all the effort of the climb.
Tale Of The Trail
Hong Kong has been my second home outside the Philippines. It’s a place that I would go to in an impulse. I had expiring travel fund in my Cebu Pacific account coming from a cancelled flight so I booked a flight to Hong Kong on a long weekend. I’ll be having a race here on October so might as well check out the trails again. The race would be going over Hong Kong’s Lantau and Sunset Peak. Since I’ve done Lantau Peak already, it’s time to explore Sunset Peak. I arrived in Hong Kong Thursday night and leaving Sunday night so I scheduled the hike on a Saturday. It’s easy exploring the trails of Hong Kong because of the Enjoy Hiking app available on the phone. Since I’m staying in Tung Chung, it’s just one ride away via 3M Bus to Mui Wo Ferry Station or there’s also a ferry from central to Mui Wo Ferry Station.
Map and Elevation
The route starts at Mui Wo Ferry Station and takes about 2.5 uphill kilometers on South Lantau Road heading to the trail head at Nam Shan Au. It’s another 5 kilometers of uphill trails heading to the summit with elevation gain of about 900 meters. After the summit, it’s a 2 kilometer steep descent of Pak Kung Au (where there is a bus station to Tung Chung) or proceed to Lantau Peak (Check my Lantau Peak Post here: #TaleOfTheTrail Lantau Peak (Lantau Island, Hong Kong)
Trekking Sunset Peak
I took the 3M bus in Tung Chung at around 8 am and arriving before 9 am. It was a hot day today with temperatures from 29 to 32 degrees. Upon reaching Mui Wo Ferry Station, I tried searching for the trail head. It turns out, I had to follow South Lantau Road for the next 2.5 kilometers, which is the same road we used going to Mui Wo. In order words, if you want to save 2.5 kilometers of leg mileage, you can stop at Nam Shan Camp Site. Mui Wo is an excellent starting point since it gives you 2.5 kilometers to warm up the legs before entering the trail head at Nam Shan.
Mui Wo to Nam Shan is Section 1 of Lantau Trail. The whole trail is 70 kms but you can divide the trails with several entry and exit points in the area. I’m doing section 1 and 2 for today. Section 3 is from Lantau to Ngong Ping Village which I did two years ago. It’s actually a nice area for a long trail run training or even just a long hike. Since I started at around 9 pm, it was already hot when I started. I run – walked my way into the 2.5 kilometer road stretch heading to the trail head. There were also several runners on the route. I can feel the scorching hot weather on the open roads.
Nam Shan is where the trail head is located and is the Section 2 of the Lantau trails. I took a short rest here as I know it would be purely uphill from here. As I entered the trail head, there was a short climb and some flat and descending trails which was part of the circular nature hike area and the South Lantau Country Trail. After the short descent, I followed the markets to Pak Kung Au (Via Sunset Peak) and its pure uphill from there.
The first part of the trails were partly covered and there were stone steps and some area with dirt surfaces. It’s practically stairs unlimited at this point. The first part of the steps I still had a lot of energy so I can go on long stretches without stopping. The longer it got, the more exhausting it became.
I started to manage my efforts with a several steps and a short rest in between. I reminded myself that I should treat this more of a hike than a training session since I don’t know how long the climbs would last. 2 kilometers into the climb, the formerly shaded trails were opening up. I’m starting to feel the heat of the sun so I’d take several efforts and rest when there are tree shades available. Whenever I’d see a stream of water, I’d soaked my cap and place it on my head to help me cool down on the heat.
One thing I’ve always admired about Hong Kong is how they preserved their forest. Lantau Trail is just among the long trails they have here. The lower part the open trails, you’ll see the forest and go a bit higher, you’ll see the forest with the Ocean.
I’m already feeling exhausted but the road back was too long. It was a mental challenge now as I felt tired from the heat and the climb while my water supply is dwindling. I just have to brave it through. The climbs felt endless and one set of climbs would just lead to another.
Every time I would see a peak, I would think that it’s Sunset Peak only to realize that there’s another set of climbs. I saw a way down that goes directly to Tung Chung and it’s just 2.5 kilometers heading down. It looks like the way down would be the access point to Tung Chung on race day. I was tempted to go down but since I’ve already gone so long, I might as well muster enough courage and effort to see the summit.
When I saw the structures above I knew that the summit is near, plus it’s already more than 7 kilometers. This is the tougher part of the climb with some steep sections. I got my second wind and got rejuvenated on the climb plus there’s no longer my best nemesis called stairs. One steep section after another and there I was approaching the summit. It was a beautiful view.
Sunset Peak was really beautiful. It took me 7 plus vertical kilometers, 900 meters elevation gain to see this view where the Summit meets the Sea and the Greens and the Blue are in Symmetry. I felt really exhausted but all those effort for a glimpse of the majesty of nature is really worth it.
The road down was another difficult story starting with a really steep descent on stone boulders. The two Caucasians ahead of me even asked if I was ok and then I answered, yes except that I have shorter legs. => With two kilometers to go, I realized that I am out of hydration. I started to slow down to save on effort to be able to reach Pak Kung Au, where the next bus station is located. The descents were a bit technical with a lot of big stones so it was a struggle. I really need to learn to move faster on terrains like this. I can feel my throat drying so I asked a few hikers for water too but understandably, it was a hot day so they had to preserve their resources too. Luckily for me, there was a group towards the exit of the trail. I went for the chiller thinking it was for sale then a guy asked me, are you from KPMG? Those are not for sale and it’s for their group but you can have some water here. I drank 3 cups of water just to recover some lost fluids. I was really Thankful for the water. I wonder if I told them if I used to be with EY (Ernst & Young) if I’d still get my drink. Anyway, I got enough energy to cross the road, ride the bus to Tung Chung where I got to drink all the hydration I want from their vendo. Sunset Peak Survived!!!
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