Duration: 2 hours (medium pace; you can do this in 1.5 hours if you’re quicker)
Difficulty: Very difficult. But not as difficult as Sunset Peak.
Altitude: Around 436 m
Start: Stanley (Stanley Gap Road – we took bus 6/6X from Exchange Square/City Hall Central)
End: Wong Nai Chung Gap / Parkview (Tai Tam)
Achievement unlocked! Words cannot express how proud of myself I am (pat on the back) for having finally finished the entire length of this section. This takes me back to my first-ever hike in Hong Kong, 2 and a half years ago. Some other new interns were going on a night hike spearheaded by Ana Kristina La Adventurera (Filipina intern-turned-banker at UBS and now farmer):
I thought – cool, night hike, why not? The plan was to take the trail from the tail end, starting from Parkview going south to Stanley.
Little did I know that a spoiled-assed car-driving zero-physical-activity skinny weak girl like me would never be able to tackle this in a million years. So I gave up after Violet Hill somewhere in the middle of the night, borrowed some people’s torches (I called them flashlights back then), and walked along a storm drain (I think it might have been “The Twins Catch Water”) and ended up in Repulse Bay somehow. From there I caught a bus back to civilization. But after becoming more active since arriving here, I thought I would finally try that hike again, and actually finish it.
Overlooking the valley – that’s the Tai Tam reservoir in the distance, another beautiful trail.
Although it doesn’t seem to make sense, if you take this trail from Stanley north to Parkview, it’s much easier. Parkview to Stanley seems ideal because you start from a higher point going ‘down’ to the beach – and then you can have dinner or snack or sunbathe. But then doing this involves going up from behind the mountains (shaded, with nothing but steps and trees in front of you) multiple times, making the whole hike seem like step after step after endless step… (literally thousands of them)
Starting at Stanley, you finish the bulk of the uphill climb at the very beginning, with fantastic views of the beach and sea to make up for the pain, and then it all seems easier after that. The downside is, you don’t end at a beach with seaviews and restaurants, you kind of end in the middle of nowhere (Parkview). We just took a cab down to Wan Chai and had Fajitas and Mahi-mahi at Coyote (Lockhart Road). We even treated ourselves to the BBQ Baby back ribs and Caramel Flan. Ha, so much for exercising.
And that’s it for Wilson’s Trail Sec. 1 – until the next leg! (See: Best Underrated Hike on Hong Kong Island: Wilson Trail Stage 2)