My initial plan for the day was really simple and definitely not as tough. I was looking at a half day trip up The Peak – one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attraction, taking the historical Peak Tram Ride up and spending the afternoon shopping at The Peak Market. Little did I know that my Japanese friend Shinichi San had more ambitious plans of conquering Pat Na Shan (Mount Butler) via Wilson Trail, Hong Kong Trail & Jardine’s Lookout. We got off Quarry Bay Train Station and walked a short distance to reach this sign that point up Mount Parker Green Trail.
There is a little shrine at the foot of the Mount Parker Road that marks the start of the gradual ascent. At this point, I still thought that I was heading up The Peak.
After walking along the concrete path for a while, I was baffled by the great inconvenience to reach the Peak Tram Station. A quick check with a couple in trekking gear revealed that me and Shinichi San had totally different objectives in mind! He was bringing me to one of Hong Kong Popular Hiking Trails, not The Touristy Peak.
To be perfectly honest, hiking up a mountain was not part of my itinerary in Hong Kong. But since I am already there, I might as well make the best out of the situation. In fact, it was my idea to ditch the boring straight concrete path.
It was definitely a tougher path but at least the twist and turns offered challenges and some changes in scenery.
We caught an auntie taking her 40 winks on a bench along the way!
The trail leads us to an open shrine dedicated to Goddess Of Mercy. She was holding a child in her arms and the mandarin characters besides her statue read ‘Goddess Bringing Children’. I wonder if the shrine is popular with couples who are trying for babies.
We continued till we have reached the end of Mount Parker Road and took a turn up Wilson Trail.
The trails can get a little confusing for 1st time hikers like us. Fortunately, we met an old kind couple who showed us the steep but relatively shorter option to Mount Butler Summit. They did cautioned us that the sky was getting dark and we should make our way down while there’s still light.
We arrived at Jardine’s Lookout shortly. Its a narrow strip of land that overlooks the buzzing skyline of Hong Kong Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Kowloon on one side and the lush greenery, streams and reservoirs on the other. However, with tall vegetation lining both side of the ridge, you can’t really enjoy a clear, unobstructed view.
A group of garang ladies we encountered told us to just ignore the ‘No Unauthorised Entry’ Signboard of the Mount Butler H.F. Radio Receiving Station and push on for Mount Butler Summit. Its supposedly less than 30 minutes away from where we were.
After another 10 minutes without any signs of the summit, I was seriously considering turning back. The sky was definitely turning dark and our surroundings were getting kind of eerie.
That’s when we met yet another trekker who told that we were already at Siu Ma Shan Bridge, sort of like the final base camp of Mount Butler. It’s just another 10 minutes more to our desired destination.
I must be suffering from some kind of summit fever at that time. The long flight of stone steps before the bridge seems never-ending and
the summit looked dauntingly far from where we stand. Why did I ever agree to plough on?
Fortunately, the final part of the climb wasn’t as bad as I imagined and the scenery along the path was gorgeously rewarding. Whenever we stopped to catch a breather, I would turn back and savour my hard-earned view of Hong Kong skyline.
Finally, we were greeted by the trigonometrical station landmark at Mount Butler Summit.
Could not resist taking a photo with the ‘You Are Here’ signboard to prove that I conquered Mount Butler!
Enjoy the video of the panoramic view from Mount Butler Summit. If not for the light haze, the view would have been even better.
We got down by a rather gentle long flight of stairs that goes directly down to the initial boring concrete path we were on. We could have had a much easy time if we just kept by the path! Me and my bright ideas….
But if I had gone the boring and safe route, I would have missed all the beautiful scenery and the satisfaction of overcoming challenges along the way. This got me thinking about how many companies choose to deal with operational challenges.
Despite today’s competitive environment, many companies are still stuck in the past and happy with just following the easy, established route. They are uncomfortable with venturing out to upgrade their existing operations (aka the boring concrete path) or actively research, innovate or adopt new technology (aka the interesting new path). It’s seems like a market default to opt for the easy route – maximise profits by cutting costs. But cost cutting without substantial improvement in productivity is not the only way to obtain a healthy balance sheet.
Management should actively look for ideas to make work processes easier, smarter and safer for employees. That will help employees achieve more in their respective job scopes and in turn enhance productivity and competitiveness for the company in the long run. All it takes is a positive and open mindset together with the commitment to consistently challenge status quo.
From this adventurous journey up Mount Butler, I learnt that it’s not that difficult to try something new. I got out so much more out from this off-the-beaten-path trek than I would have had via the typical route.
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here