Trial by trail

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2012, 12:00am


Hiking is the perfect Hong Kong activity. It's free, it's close by and you can feel miles away from civilisation. But, as Jean-Paul Sartre said, 'Hell is other people.' On the trails, it is specifically these people:

Cattle herds: hiking in packs of eight or 10 can be fun, but these large groups are annoying for everyone else. By virtue of size, they tend to amble, are overly rowdy and are hard to overtake. And hiking groups that have more than two dozen people are just ridiculous. I didn't get away from the city to feel like I'm walking around Central at lunch hour.

Righteous runners: I'm impressed by people who run up and down the trails; it sure beats a treadmill. But just because you are a fast-moving object wearing spandex and 'barefoot' running shoes does not give you right of way.

Trail DJs: it can feel eerily quiet to hike alone, but that's the point for many people. Others prefer to carry a radio and listen to it at full blast. But worse are the trail DJs, who play music while hiking, as if they're on a boozy junk trip. That's a whole different scene. This one doesn't require a soundtrack.

Instagram artistes: yes, wow, it's a tree. Please don't point your iPhone at everything that grows. You know those people who bring an SLR to L'atelier de Jo?l Robuchon to show off their photography skills on their blogs instead of just enjoying the meal? Could they please not go hiking?

Women in heels: I don't know what their story is, but women in heels and scarves carrying a latte just look clueless on the trails. I would suggest they hit the mall instead, because as that other sage, Carrie Bradshaw, once said, 'shopping is cardio'.

As for the woman who can be seen clapping and shouting into the great yonder of the Aberdeen Reservoir, she gets a pass. You might be as freaky as the Blair Witch, but we love you, crazy lady.