MacLehose Trail, Sai Wan. October 2, 2011. The day that was. Poser phrase because I don’t know how to talk about this day. I’ve told this story countless times in skype, in person and in my head. Yes, in my head. I was trying to review everything that happened. Haha. No way else to start than from the beginning: Jihed’s friends from France who are currently exchange students in the Philippines (in my university) came to visit Hong Kong and we came along with them to hike somewhere in the New Territories.
Murphy’s Law. I am in no way a hiker. I take the trike within school because I end up late when I don’t. I am not fit or athletic and I seriously believe I can get blown away by a mildly strong gust of wind. But of course, I would love to try it out especially since I’m here and apparently HK is largely a forest/nature place despite the fact that people know it just for its huge shopping malls (guilty). The place was beautiful and that’s coming from someone whose backyard is a watershed and whose country is packed with beaches.
I realized that I can tell you the gist of the story by enumerating the mistakes we made. Of course, I can only say that they were mistakes, in retrospect. Well, at least most of them. Some of them were not really mistakes, just unlucky things.
Mistake 1: We hiked on a day with Typhoon Signal 1. We were well aware of it but it was just drizzling outside. Mistake 2: We didn’t get to each lunch because we were already late. Mistake 3: I was wearing a canvas shoulder bag because I didn’t have any backpack. Mistake 4: We went to the place, not with a local, but with another exchange student who has been there – once. Mistake 5: The ‘cliff’ where you can cliff dive is not easily reachable, you had to conquer very steep rocks, not to mention slippery. Mistake 6: I was wearing my beaded no-lace Chucks. Mistake 7: We only knew one way back and that was by riding a ferry across the other side of the mountain. Apparently, there were no boats anymore when we got there. Mistake 8: The only people who could find a boat for us did not speak English. Mistake 9: We followed a ‘trail that was less traveled’ – not cemented, no lamp posts, muddy ground crawling with roots and random cows sitting along the trail. Mistake 10: Realizing too late that it was going to be dark in that trail, so went back all the way to the path that was ‘more traveled’. Mistake 11: There were barely lamp posts in the area. Mistake 12: There were no people in the area. Mistake 13: No one had a flashlight, thank God my phone had one. Mistake 14: The path was forever uphill. Seriously, I felt like crying because the path was so steep and it did not stop. Mistake 15: At one point in the darkness, a dog-looking animal passed us by. It was too dark to see but Julian told me, “Don’t worry I don’t think it’s a wolf. It’s a fox.” Mistake 16: There was no phone signal. Mistake 17: We finally found the boat that was going to fetch us, but had to take another way because after waving our arms like crazy and shouting at that tiny point of light from a distance, we realized we had to go the other side of the lake.
Looking back, I can’t even say that they were bad because these made the whole trip a lot more exciting and it really is something to share. Well I guess that’s really how nostalgia works. I don’t think I’ve ever climbed rocks like I did then, or went uphill for more than 2 hours, saw an animal that may or may not have been a wolf or a fox or a dog, or got lost in literally the middle of nowhere with no phone signal or people around. There was the excitement (and panic) while feeling like I was in a suspense/horror/animal-horror-whatever movie the entire time. Aside from making me realize I watch too much movies, these “unlucky” circumstances made the happy side – a lot happier.
The Silver Lining. Great hiker buddies; Titi (his nickname is seriously that), Rafael (who loves (to try) speaking in Filipino, Jiji (who is always awesome and actually jumped off the cliff), Achraf (who took our pictures and kept calm the whole way) and Kathleen (who will forever make me laugh because of the towel on her head in this picture. Naglaba ka sa batis teh?); Julian (who grabbed me when I was running/falling in the steep downhill); great great waterfalls, mountains and beach; great damp weather; and the bitter that made the sweet, sweeter.
Would I do this all over again? Yes …but maybe with a decent flashlight this time.
Masaya ka ba? Minsan. Hindi maganda yung lagi. Dapat minsan malungkot ka rin. Para mas magkaroon ng kahulugan yung minsan na masya ka. -Bata, Bata Paano ka Ginawa?