REPORT ON FEBRUARY 2014 HIKE: SAIKUNG EAST, LUK WU

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REPORT ON FEBRUARY 2014 HIKE: SAIKUNG EAST, LUK WU
 REPORT ON FEBRUARY 2014 HIKE: SAIKUNG EAST, LUK WU PLATEAU – WONG SHEK PIER Twenty people met on Sunday 23rd February at Sai Kung Country Park Visitors Centre to begin the Luk Wu Country Trail hike. The hike was advertised as “in search of the Chinese New Year Flower” as at this particular time of year the enkianthus quinqueflorus, commonly known as the Chinese New Year Flower, can be found. In the past these shrubs were collected and sold at the New Year Market in Victoria Park but were later added to the protected plant list. Now only plants that have been commercially grown are allowed to be sold. This plant is found in many parts of Hong Kong but on the Luk Wu plateau there is often has a spectacular display. Given the hot weather over the Chinese New Year period this year we were unsure if there would still be any flowering shrubs. The hike started with a short walk from the Visitor Centre then a gradual climb of 360 metres through wooded areas overlooking valleys. After the climb to the top of the plateau we had our first stop. We soon headed off again and on the top of the plateau near the steep descending steps members were delighted to spot a shrub in full flower – pictured above. Mission accomplished! Being such a beautiful sunny clear day, the plateau provided us with fabulous views of some of Sai Kung’s beaches, the famous MacLehose Trail, and the village of Chek Keng, which we headed to next. We started our short but steep descent into the valley and continued along a water way cum path, which was quite difficult to walk in parts, until we reached a small rocky stream where we had a lunch break. After lunch we continued to Chek Keng which is an abandoned Hakka village over 200 years old. As we walked through the village we could catch glimpses of what life in the houses was like with the decaying pots, woks and so on that had been left behind. From here we continued along the MacLehose trail for a short time before heading to Wong Shek Pier. Along the way we managed to see two troupes of monkeys leaping from tree to tree and calling to one another. We finished the hike in good time and after many calls and wrong numbers I found that the bus was unable to pick us up as the new driver had been unable to get the pass to get through the barrier. Fortunately a no 94 bus was just about to leave for Sai Kung so we all boarded as far as the Visitor Centre where our bus was waiting. Thanks to everyone for their patience and support. Francis Bradley Photos by Jan Campbell and Julie Moffat 

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