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Please, don't litter!

Hiking is about communion with nature. So please pickup after yourself. There's no excuse to leave plastic bags, water bottles or any rubbish on or around the trails; if you managed to bring it, you can manage to bring it back!

Wild Hong Kong

Monday, February 20, 2017

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Glad you guys find the blog useful!

Amazfit Pace fitness smartwatch review

http://amazfit.sjv.io/c/355768/303465/4713

(Note that Amazfit sponsored me my Amazfit Pace)
http://amazfit.sjv.io/c/355768/303465/4713 
(35% off with the MYFRIEND code on checkout)
I received a package last week. It was an Amazfit Pace fitness smartwatch sent by the fine folks at Amazfit. So, here's my review after putting it through some tests.

It does look as good as the pictures makes it to be. I was afraid the built would look and feel cheap but it doesn't. Solid watch, and quite lightweight.
My humble opinion is that it looks much, much better than an AppleWatch. But then again, I always thought that the AppleWatch looked ugly (all of them) and cheap (but for the very expensive models).

I took the Pace hiking on West Dog Tooth, on Lantau. I set the GPS on the Pace and started MapMyRun on my Samsung S7. We were done after 3.5 hours, and I stopped both the Pace GPS and MapMyRun. I had used up 15% of the Pace's battery, while my S7 was 50% drained.

It was a very good performance, if I compare the Pace to my Garmin Forerunner 410 of a few years back which was drained after 8 hours of GPS use. Based on the 3.5 hours for 15%, the Pace would could likely do in excess of 20 hours of straight GPS use. Now, if you are going to run or hike this long without a recharge break, you're a freak! But for the rest of the world, that's plenty.
If you are going to use it for its watch-mode and notifications only, the battery should last you a full week.

I initially thought that the heart rate monitor was inaccurate but it turned-out that you have to tighten the strap quite a bit to get an accurate read. Once tightened, I got an exact pulse rate.

In terms of GPS accuracy, it seems to be fine; I compared a 6km mountain hike I did that I recorded on both the Pace, and on my Samsung S7. Results were quite similar. I am sure that the higher-end GPS watches might be more accurate, but I don't think it would be very significant for the average hiker/runner.

I tried the sleep monitor as well, which does what it is supposed to do. However, I don't think there's much to hope for in terms of wrist-based sleep monitors in general beyond telling you that you don't sleep enough.

One thing that will need to be fixed is that the watch reports distances in miles and there's currently no way to change that. Provided most countries in the world are using the metric system, I am assuming/hoping that we'll see an update soon. 

From the Amazfit app that you can download on the Play store (or whatever Apple equivalent), you can pick from a number of watch faces, which get updated in real-time. Not a lot of faces to choose from, but they are all nice enough and show the key information you'll need to see.

The Pace comes with a charging dock and a USB cable. It will recharge in about an hour.

It is a fitness watch and what it does, it does quite well. It is also quite nice in a subdued-yet-edgy, artsy-not-geeky, sportsy-casual kind of way.

I was given the watch but it is now my main watch and at the current selling price-point, I would definitely recommend it.


Price is right and at a 20% discount if you register for their mailing-list ($130 USD, quite inexpensive).

(Check it out and if you buy from the link below, I get a commission)
http://amazfit.sjv.io/c/355768/303465/4713
(35% off with the MYFRIEND code on checkout)

Details, straight from Amazfit:

  • Run Tracking: Track your runs and capture distance, time, pace, heart rate, calories, speed, cadence, maximum/average moving pace, max/avg moving speed, max/avg cadence, altitude, elevation gain, elevation loss and min/max altitude.
  • Phone-Free Music: Connect wirelessly to Bluetooth earbuds, load up your music to the internal storage, and run phone-free.
  • GPS: Track your route and distance with built-in GPS.
  • Notifications: Receive notifications for incoming calls, messages, emails, and other apps.
  • Heart Rate: Optimize workouts with automatic heart rate monitoring and continuous heart rate tracking.

  • Battery life: 5 days regular use / 11 days basic use
  • Water resistance: IP67, resistant to water and dust
  • Heart rate sensor: Optical (PPG)
  • GPS + GLONASS

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Amazfit Fitness Smartwatch

http://amazfit.sjv.io/c/355768/303465/4713

Pace: A reasonably good-looking smartwatch with features you'd expect. I don't have one yet.
Price is right and at a 20% discount if you register for their mailing-list ($130 USD, quite inexpensive).

(Check it out and if you buy from the link below, I get a commission)
http://amazfit.sjv.io/c/355768/303465/4713

Details:

  • Run Tracking: Track your runs and capture distance, time, pace, heart rate, calories, speed, cadence, maximum/average moving pace, max/avg moving speed, max/avg cadence, altitude, elevation gain, elevation loss and min/max altitude.
  • Phone-Free Music: Connect wirelessly to Bluetooth earbuds, load up your music to the internal storage, and run phone-free.
  • GPS: Track your route and distance with built-in GPS.
  • Notifications: Receive notifications for incoming calls, messages, emails, and other apps.
  • Heart Rate: Optimize workouts with automatic heart rate monitoring and continuous heart rate tracking.

  • Battery life: 5 days regular use / 11 days basic use
  • Water resistance: IP67, resistant to water and dust
  • Heart rate sensor: Optical (PPG)
  • GPS + GLONASS
Actually, they have another product, the Moonbeam, for the ladies, which I think has quite a nice design. Hard to assess the built quality from just the picture but then again, the price point is quite low so it is not like investing in an AppleWatch!

http://amazfit.sjv.io/c/355768/303465/4713


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Short loop to Sharp Peak (Nam She Tsim - 蚺蛇尖 )

Duration: 
4.5 hours, 10km.


Difficulty:
10/10. Hands required to climb some of the sections. Do not attempt if you are afraid of heights or don't feel comfortable scrambling. About 450m climb in total

Cel phone coverage: Partial coverage

Water needs: 2 liters

Appreciation: 10/10. One if not the most scenic hike in Hong Kong.

Transportation:
Take bus 96R from Diamond Hill MTR exit C on Sunday or public holidays an exit at Pak Tam Au. Take speedboat or ferry at Chek Keng Pier to Wong Shek Pier and return via 96R.


Why it's worth it:
------------------------
Take 96R at Diamond Hill MTR station, drop off at Pak Tam Au.The trail head is on your right, across the road.
There are toilets there shall you need them before you start. Have a quick look at my map. Not too hard to get your bearing. That is Maclehose section 2 by the way


First fork, go right.

Then a left towards Chek Keng

At Chenk Keng, hang right. The path on the left goes to goes to the pier and the youth hostel

Between milestone M40 and M39, about an hour in, you'll reach a little pavilion and a bench. That's where you break-off of Mac 2 and go up towards Sharp Peak. This is where the fun begins. You just have to follow the most direct path to the peak, Can't miss it. And yes, those steep patches are to be climbed...

Top of Sharp Peak
On the way back down, you can bypass the first 2 steep pitches. From the top, just continue opposite from where you came from. It is a lot less steep. Then, you get to this point, turn right. A bit of bushwhacking, and you'll be back to the trail.


Keep going until you get in the vicinity of the second scrambling pitch, head down and left instead. Then, there will be another bypass path on your right, as per the picture. You'll end-up right at the foot of the second pitch. You'll still have to scramble down the 3rd pitch but it is a bit easier. Then, it is smooth sailing back to Mac 2, retrace your steps towards Chek Keng

You'll get to those stairs. No signage that indicate anything. Take them and you'll get to the Chek Keng pier.
There are speedboats to take you to Wong Shek pier. $150 to charter one. Wait a few minutes for other hikers to join and make it cheaper

Friday, February 3, 2017

Soaps made by my wife



MC-Hiker. Eucalyptus and Lemongrass

My wife got to making soap a few months ago and I asked her if she could make some tailored for hikers; basically, with ingredients that are natural insect repellants.

Her batch of MC-Hikers soaps are ready, HKD $20 per 65g soap bar. Cheaper than what you'll get in the stores. If you want some, contact her at mcfatcatproducts@gmail.com

She has a Facebook page now: https://www.facebook.com/FatCatSoaps/

Here are some others she makes as well:


Chamomile


Layered Milk

Orange-Calendula

Spinach-Cypress


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bride's pool, Wu Kau Tang (烏蛟騰) to Bluff Head/Wong Chuk Kok Tsui (黃竹角咀). Devil's Fist (鬼手岩)

Duration: 
One way: 6hours, 14km. From Wong Chuk Kok Tsui to Wu Kau Tang. You have to get a speedboat to drop you off at Wong Chuk Kok Tsui
Return:  9-12 hours, 28km. You will have to either leave very, very early (6am) so you can make the return minibus, or plan to camp there

Difficulty:
One way: 8/10. Hard because of distance, terrain (slippery, loose rocks), bushwacking, 500m elevation gain
Return: 10/10. Double the distance and elevation gain! Only for experienced hikers. In both cases, I would suggest shades, long sleeves and long pants because of the bushwacking part. Don't skimp on water

Cel phone coverage: No coverage

Water needs: 2.5 liters

Appreciation: 9/10. Nice views. Interesting rocks formations. But don't get your hopes up too much for Devil's Fist; it is a small rock formation.

Transportation:
One way: Hire a speedboat to Wong Chuk Kok Tsui (黃竹角咀). Devil's Fist (鬼手岩), then hike to Wu Kau Tang. There, minibus 20R will take you to Tai Po Market MTR station. Last 20R is at 8:15pm so manage your time wisely!
Return: Minibus 20R from Tai Po Market to terminus Wu Kau Tang. Return the same way. Again, last 20R is at 8:15pm !


Why it's worth it:
----------------------------
Below are the instructions for the return trip to Wong Chuk Kok Tsui. Again, only for the experienced hikers (ones who routinely can do 15k+ hikes in non-flat terrain)
Exit A at Tai Po Market MTR station. Go in the tunnel. The go towards the Minibus terminus (left)

Minibus' schedule calls for once every hour, but they often add buses due to the route being quite busy on weekends. The bus trip to Wu Kau Tang is between 30 and 45 minutes. Wu Kau Tang is the terminus (pictured here)

A few meters back on the road where the bus came from, there's a path leading to the village. Take it

Go through the small village

Left or right around the toilet. Doesn't really matter. Path afterwards will be on the right

Just out of the small village

You want to go towards Plover Cove Country Trail


Can't miss it; a big board with a map of the trail. Take the path going up on the left of the board


Nice views along the way...




An hour and a half or so along the way. Head right at the sign. On your way back, you can always take the other way to Wu Kau Tang which is a bit easier (less scenic) and faster

Yeah, yeah...

At this point, take the path to the right...

Just as a reference


This is where you leave the Plover Cove Country trail and get on the bushwacking path towards Wong Chuk Kok Tsui. About 3.5hours/7km from the bus-terminus in Wu Kau Tang

The trail is mostly well-worned. When it gets a little bit more questionable, follow the ribbon markers

At this point, you probably have another2, 2.5 hours to go. When you reach a big pile of rocks with a sign (all in Chinese), you're almost there. The path keeps going to the right, then down to the water. The Devil's fist is there right on the rocky beach. The path going down is a bit treacherous so big mindful of loose rocks and slippery terrain. Once you are done marveling at Nature, retrace your steps all the way to Wu Kau Tang

Monday, January 9, 2017

Lung Ha Wan (龍蝦灣 - Lobster Bay) and Tai Leng Tung (大嶺峒 - Great Ridge Cave)

Duration: 
3.5 hours (7 km), with 30 minutes of sightseeing included

Difficulty: 5/10. 290m ascent

Cel phone coverage: Everywhere

Water needs: 1 liter

Appreciation: 8/10. Nice views. Horses. Lobsters nowhere to be found though...

Transportation: To and back via bus 91 that you can take at Diamond Hill MTR station, exit 'C'. Get off at Tai Au Mun. You can also take a cab from anywhere in Tseung Kwan O if you want quicker access.


Why it's worth it:

---------------------

At Diamond Hill MTR station exit 'C', take bus 91, get off at Tai Au Mun

Right off the bus, head on the left-most at the roundabout. That's Lung Ha Wan Road

Can't really miss it. About 100meters onto Lung Ha Wan Road, there will be a road to the Cham Shan monastery on your right. If you feel like it, that can be a nice little stop. Then continue on Lung Ha Wan Road which you will follow all the way to the next stop.

Paved and shaded

About 1.5km along Lung Ha Wan road, you'll reach this set of stairs on your left, going down to the bay where you will find some rock carvings. Great views there. When done, go back on the road and keep going.

After 300 or so meters on Lung Ha Wan, you'll reach the Clearwater Bay Equestrian and Education Centre. Take a quick break to admire the fine animals. You can also replenish in snacks/water and there are toilets. At the end of the dust road, there's a path leading to a pic-nic area with nice views, and people will often fly kites there. Once you are all done, come back to the spot pictured, then climb the stairs on the right on the photo. You are starting the Lung Ha Wan Country Trail proper.



Follow the Lung Ha Wan country trail

About 260m climb from this point. The path will lead you to more nice views and the peak of Tai Leng Tung. Then will end at a very large BBQ area. You will have to follow Clear Water Bay road back to your starting point where you can return via bus 91. You can probably also get a cab at the BBQ area