4AM Cows: Hiking Out to Tai Long Wan, Sai Kung

As our time in Hong Kong is coming to a close, a few weeks ago, Rich and I felt it was time to revisit one of my favorite weekend getaways, Tai Long Wan. Tai Long Wan (or Big Wave Bay) was were I spent most of my weekends during my first year in Hong Kong. Tucked between rolling hills, it was the only place I could find where we could surf and really get away from the crowds. No noise, a lot less pollution, clean(ish) water, and some really nice space to camp.

There were two ways that we used to get out to this beach. The one we had most commonly used was to MTR and cab it out to Wong Shek Pier in one of Saikung’s country parks. From there we’d take a quick 5 minute sampan ride out to Chek Keng and then do a 30-45 minute hike over a steep hill and down the other side. It’s a tough, but very doable trip. However, a 45-60 minute hike wasn’t going to cut it for us, as we’re meant to be in training for Madagascar, so we decided to come in via the second route. This was a 25 kilometer hike through Saikung Country Park. It’s mostly flat for the first 10 kilometers, followed by lots of trips up and down hills until you reach the beach.

We had a three day weekend around May 31st, thanks to Hong Kong’s annual dragon boat festival, so we thought we’d go do the 25 kilometer hike in on Saturday, camp out, enjoy the water, and then do another couple of kilometers home late Sunday. Monday we’d be able to go for a bit of a run and let the sunburn slowly fade away.

All started well enough. It was stunning out, with rare bright blue skies, and we were so happy to find myself surrounded by green. However, it was about 33oC (92oF), humid, and there was little shade on the trail. I had never learned how to cope with heat as a kid, as it never really got that hot in New York or Sweden during the summer and if it ever did, I was usually found in a pool or the ocean, waiting out the sun, so this took a toll on me really quickly.

Lis walking past the reservoir

Within about an hour, I was on the side of the road vomiting up breakfast, while Rich was forced to watch. It just went downhill from there. I was sluggish, and the 7 kilos I was carrying on my back felt that it had doubled in size and weight. I was rapidly dehydrating even though I was chugging electrolyte infused water and my fingers swelled to about twice their size.

After finding a bit of shade to hide under we decided it was time to turn around, hang our heads in shame, and go home. There would be no campout tonight.

Rich climbs a tree, while Lis rehydrates


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