14.07.2010 94 °F
Another week has gone by here in Hong Kong, and again, not much to report from work. Still doing some projects for my boss, still in the same cubicle, still rotating through my finite supply of 4 shirts and 4 pairs of socks for a 5-day work week. If I had any semblance of motivation, I would go out and round out my supplies for the week, but what's life like without a little adventure? A little lame adventure? A little hint of laziness? I think that last one hit it.
So on Saturday I actually managed to be unproductive on purpose, and I did so quite successfully. I willed myself to sleep in, forced myself to go only as far as the supermarket downstairs for essential supplies (food, duh), and made myself stay in and watch some movies. Pirated movies. On my computer. Overall, it was very relaxing, and after catching up with some friends, turned in exhausted.
Sunday started of well with me calling my Dad and Conrad (aka The Family Pet) to wish them a happy birthday. Conrad was actually surprisingly open to conversation despite the fact that I had managed to call right as they were sitting down to watch "The A-Team". Despite my impeccable timing, I was able to pass on my love and let them actually enjoy their day. From there I packed my tiny backpack with a water bottle, apples, an orange, breakfast pastries and my wallet, heading out to do something incredibly stupid.
Somehow or another I came across this hiking trail that runs along the mountain ridge that separates Hong Kong Island into its northern and southern parts called the Hong Kong Trail. This imaginatively named trail is 50km long with an estimated completion time of 15 hours. I thought this was a great way to spend my Sunday. I headed over to the Peak Tram to start my journey, and after a 10 minute trip up the tram that was ambushed by a small herd of Japanese tourists as I was getting aboard, arrived at the peak of Victoria Peak, commonly referred to as...The Peak. I'm finding them great with naming things here. Anyways, I of course forgot my phone, so I had no idea what time I actually got there, but let's just say it was around 9:30am that I started on my way.
It was really quite a beautiful day and apart from a brief morning drizzle in the morning (in reference to the rain!), the weather cleared up and the temperature started climbing. Due to the fact that my mother was a nurse, I was never exposed to the importance of putting on sunscreen, but fortunately I have watched enough TV shows to stop and think, "What would Mr. Rogers do?", so I made sure to put some on before I left. I was thankful I did because as the day went on, the sun got hotter and the path got less tree-y.
I had such a great time on the first leg of the trail, a luscious portion that wound up and down and around shrubberies, past rivers and streams and winding around multiple reservoirs. Having finished my water around kilometer 18, I was beginning to wonder if I could have been anymore of an idiot. Fortunately, at the half-way point, the trail broke up into a section of the city and I was able to go into a gas station and buy a 2L bottle of water. After that was empty, I bought another way for the last 25k. I then noticed the clock on the wall and realized the time read 1:30pm. I had finished the first 25k in 4 hours. 4 hours of hiking at an extreme speed, apparently. I was feeling so happy because I figured it would take me another 4 hours to finish the second leg of the trail, and I'd have some time to even go for a swim at my destination. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Apparently you have to know where the next section of the trail begins because it isn't marked for you. Me and 4 different gas station attendants found this out the long way. I spent a good hour in an area that was maybe 1 square kilometer desperately trying to find the next section, only to find it after inadvertently looking for a bathroom. That did wonders for my ego. Already slightly dehydrated and beginning to feel the effects of the first 25k, I started on my way on my very own "Moron's Journey", evocative of the classic "Hero's Journey" but with an endless set of challenges and obstacles, and the inability to ever leave the Abyss.
The next section of the trail involved climbing up and down two mountains both over 500m tall. Coming down the first mountain was when the cramping of the lower half of my body began. And when I say lower half, I mean everything from the hips to the toes. Going up the second mountain was when the dehydration kicked in. Finally, coming down the second mountain was when ugly reared it's head. At this point, I was just a mess; I had sweated so much and so hard that my fingers were starting to prune. Walking was done in such a way as to allow only minimal cramping. And it was still really hot. Of course, I still had another 4.5k to the nearest bus stop, but fortunately it was on a leisurely path with limited people to see me sucking wind and walking like Frankenstein's monster.
Catching the bus at the end of the trail, I managed to take it all the way past the stop I wanted to get off of. Fortunately I was still stubborn enough to refuse taking a taxi, and after finally getting back to my apartment in one coherent piece, spent the rest of the evening trying to find the one magical position I could rest comfortably in that wouldn't set off a series of cramping body parts.
While I was disappointed to only make it about 70% of the way there, the one good thing to come out of this dichotomous weekend is that I have never had a more muscular lower body. For example, my butt is now approaching the realm of Serena Williams Butt. I'm talking massive here. Own area code big. All thanks to a wonderfully misguided attempt at adventure. Only a couple of more hikes like this and maybe I can win Wimbledon too. Or at the very least jump more than a foot off the ground. Baby steps, baby steps.
Still afraid to bend over and tie my shoes,