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Hong Kong Trail Part 2, Hong Kong: Aberdeen to Happy Valley

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Boarding the water taxi at Aberdeen

The second part of my trek on the Hong Kong trail will be quite interesting. I start off at the town of Aberdeen on the other side of Hong Kong island, go through Aberdeen reservoir, up the mountain, and end up hopefully in Happy Valley. Looks straightforward enough, but I have lost my Nokia E71 since the last trip, so I will not have the luxury of blogging live and viewing googlemaps when I get lost. However, I stick to my theory it’s not easy to get lost in a small little island.

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The only thing you will see are tug boats like this one and water taxis here in Aberdeen.

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GPS plots of the path from Aberdeen to Happy Valley

Just for the record, I will be attempting Section 3 & 4 today on the official Hong Kong trail maps. The start is easy enough, I’d catch bus 76 from Causeway Bay to Aberdeen at the foot of Yue Kwong road. But made a earlier stop at Wong Chuk Hang Road to have a look at the boats between Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau Island. It’s good I still remember where to go to get to Aberdeen Reservoir Country Park. Walk along Aberdeen Reservoir Road up hill, in fact the road up to the main gate is steep enough for anyone to stop for breather more than once. The gate to the reservoir is at (22.253006, 114.15855). And I’m back at the Aberdeen Lower Reservoir visitor centre, a familiar sight from the last trip.

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The walk up to the reservoir and country park entrance. The slope is not a visual trick. It IS steep!

The walk from Aberdeen lower reservoir to the upper reservoir is relatively easy with a little bit of slope. There are barbecue pits all over the path, so I guess this the very young to the very old that I saw on the way up here would be coming here for a barbecue. The pits near to the entrance are the most busy, and if you would like to have a little peace while browning those chicken wings, the barbecue area close to the Upper Reservoir was empty when I was there. This, compared to the full house at the pits closer to entrance. The two reservoirs look like they are a little short of water on the way I was there, yellow soil was visible, indicating drop in the water level. Various lines indicate the different water levels it was holding over the months, similar to tree rings. In fact, I don’t think I remember the last time it rained in Hong Kong.

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No kidding! I still believe all these fire warning are not updated regularly. I’ve seen more flammable forests in my life than this one.

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Upper Aberdeen Reservoir

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Water levels here has seen better days

Anyway, there’s not too much to see at the lower reservoir, while the upper reservoir looks better from far than close up. Exposed orange soil just don’t look that interesting. And the upper reservoir is littered with picnic sites. I’d continue up Aberdeen Reservoir Rd, and just before hitting a steep climb on the way up to the posh houses on Cameron Road, there is a little path filled with dried leaves that leads to the right, this is where I should be going. The bad news is that it goes on like this and generally gaining altitude all the way. The tree cover means that it should not get too hot on this trail, but on a cold day, it could get rather cold.

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The path just after Aberdeen Reservoir Rd

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Another view of the GPS plots showing (hopefully) the elevation gain in this section

There are a couple of signboards that you will see regularly. Of course at intersections there will be signs, sometimes useful, sometimes you wish it was not there. At major points there will be maps that you can check if you’re going in the right direction. Then there will be all these slope registration sign, which I think should be meant for those who really care about it at the government department that checks on erosion and all that. And since we are walking along a slope, with many streams, you do find flash flood warning too. Why am I going on and on about signboards? If you guessed this sounds like space filler, it is exactly that. Out of the 5 parts I will attempt on this trail, Part 2 has to be the most boring one of them all, in a monotonous way. Except for the odd world war 2 battery or two. They are not too well marked but you do bump into them at least once.

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Signs to make sure you are not lost...

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... and signs to make sure you don’t swim just in case...

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Here’s one battery. Strange I did not log the GPS coordinate of this one. Now I don’t remember where it is...

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Most of the path here follows the concrete catchwater, meaning the altitude is more or less constant. They’re boring, as you can see...

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... makes me feel like trying something interesting like jumping onto this staircase and see what is on top of it...

At a point in the trek, look out for the sign to Black’s link. This will initially lead uphill and then a junction at (22.258641, 114.181917) before hitting the little one lane road of that name. The altitude here is high enough, there’s a view of Ocean Park and the eastern side of Aberdeen. Not quite Deep Water Bay yet, but I think it is visible from here. But you know what, I think it is good that I have hit a road at this time of the day, when the sun is starting to set. It means that I should be able to get all the way back to Happy Valley on paved road. Not exactly adventure, but somehow I prefer open air trekking than in the forest where I have not too much idea where I am heading. My 10 year old Garmin eTrex Vista GPS does not really acquire satellite signals very well under tree cover.

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Another angle look at the GPS plots, this time including the approach to Happy Valley

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On the right, Wong Chuk Hang (Ocean World) and Aberdeen Country Park occupying most of the image

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Nothing better than a path with a view...

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This is a view of Wong Chuk Hang hill on the left farther on and closer to Black’s Link and Aberdeen on the right

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Aberdeen Country Park

Before long, Black’s link gets you to a set of apartments up in the mountains. Follow it downhill and soon it will meet with Wong Nai Chung Gap Road. Tennis centre on the right, walking downhill, hitting Blue Pool Road (I’m close to Happy Valley now!) then Sing Woo Road and before very long, I hit the Race Course, by now there is not too much sunlight left and time for a little dinner before going home. This concludes Part 2 of the Hong Kong Trail, a whole day of trekking, from sea level up to the middle of the mountain, never really reaching the peak, then hitting civilization on the other side of the Island. Good just for the experience...

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Blue Pool Road, on the way down to Happy Valley race course

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Continue to Part 3....