Let's go hiking!

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 October, 2003, 12:00am

Autumn is finally upon us! Now that the air is crispy and the sun is shining - what are you doing cooped inside your room staring at the computer or television screen? Why not put those hiking boots on and blaze those beautiful trails in the countryside!

What? You have no idea where to go? Well, look no further as we are going to recommend an outdoor activity that promises not only fun but also gorgeous scenery that most of us urbanites have forgotten.

Swire Coca-Cola and Care Action are organising a day out just for Young Post readers, their friends and family on November 23. The one-day excursion will take participants to the scenic trails leading up to the plateau of Cheung Sheung in Sai Kung, which is known as the 'Leisure Garden of Hong Kong'.

'The outing is to encourage students to have a healthy and active lifestyle,' said Leone Leung of Swire Coca-Cola. 'This hiking trip meets exactly our objectives.'

The two designated trails were picked by Care Action, a non-profit group that organises local hiking trips and raises educational funds for children living in remote parts of the mainland. (The three-year-old charity has built two schools in Guizhou and a third one is being constructed in Guangdong.)

The 400 participants will be divided into two large teams. One will take the route that starts at Ko Tong while the other at Pak Tam Au. Both trails take hikers to Cheung Sheung and everyone will take the same return route to Pak Tam Chung. Two hours will be spent exploring Cheung Sheung. Care Action chairman Ng Siu-wai said these trails, which take hikers roughly four hours to complete, are perfect for beginners.

'Cheung Sheung is one of three plateaus in Hong Kong, the other two are both called Ngong Ping,' he said. 'These routes are very scenic and not physically demanding at all. The route starting at Pak Tam Au is actually part of the MacLehose Trail.

'On a clear day, the plateau commands a sweeping view of two reservoirs as well as Pat Sin Leng and even some outlying islands. The view of the landscape is beautiful.'

Cheung Sheung is located in Sai Kung West Country Park and is very popular among hikers and campers. It is also rich in history. Most of the houses in Cheung Sheung village have collapsed and inhabitants of the area have all moved out except for the Hui family.

There is also an abandoned school in the village, where the children from Wong Chuk Long and Cheung Sheung once attended. During the second world war, the school became a military base for communication and transportation of guerilla forces against the Japanese.

'Another reason why we have chosen this particular destination is that we hope participants will learn about what schooling was like for villagers in the past. Some actually had to walk quite a distance to get to school,' Mr Ng said.

'Today, the place is pretty much abandoned with livestock roaming around the fields quite freely. Hikers can really get a good feel and sense of country life and nature there.'

Since hikers are likely to run into different types of geological and botanical features, the event organisers and Young Post will also be running a photo competition on the day. So apart from dressing appropriately for the occasion - 'Just treat this as an outdoor PE lesson and dress accordingly,' advised Mr Ng and Ms Leung - don't forget to bring your camera along !

So, hurry up and don't miss this opportunity to explore and get fit. Since places are limited, each applicant can take up to three friends or family members. The application form and other details are available on Page 3.