Make the most of summer and go hiking

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2006, 12:00am

If you have already run out of things to do with your summer holidays, why not try hiking?

A new book published by Friends of the Country Parks and the Scout Association of Hong Kong is a user-friendly guide that plots the routes of some of Hong Kong's most popular walks.

'Hiking is an easy-to-pick-up activity that's suitable for all ages,' says Chan Ka-Lai, the author of Hiking-All-in-One 2.

The bilingual book is a comprehensive hiking and camping guide that caters for beginners and experienced hikers.

It covers the four long-distance trails, namely the MacLehose Trail, Hong Kong Trail, Lantau Trail and Wilson Trail, and divides them into shorter trails, ranging from 45-minute walks to five-hour hikes.

Photographs of the entrance and exits of each trail are provided along with transport information, duration of the walk, campsites along the route, length of the trail, scenic spots and maps.

The book also includes a handy difficulty rating scale based on four factors: the length of the trail, how long it takes, how steep it is, and the condition of the road.

Different sections of the trails are ranked from one to four stars, one star being the easiest.

The ratings allow readers to choose the most suitable trail according to their ability.

The second part of the book involves practical skills for hiking and camping.

Topics include how to improve mobile phone reception, arranging hiking and camping gear in your rucksack, and making tripods out of walking sticks.

It also offers guidelines on how to camp and hike with minimal impact on the environment.

Tips include ways to dispose of garbage in camping sites, how to save water and how to avoid polluting water sources.

Here are a few tips for a safe journey from Chan: always be well-prepared and plan the entire route beforehand; note down a few exit routes in case of contingencies; check weather conditions before you start; bring sufficient water with you; always take a first-aid kit; hike with an experienced hiker and never hike alone; and, most of all, have a good night's rest the day before.

Hiking-All-in-One is available at major bookstores and at the Hong Kong Book Fair, which opens today. It costs $110.

Elita is a summer intern from Diocesan Girls' School