On Knife’s Edge

After a two week break, it was back to some hiking this weekend. The Tai To Yan trail runs along a mountain ridge through Lam Tsuen Country Park  in the northwestern New Territories. Tai To Yan (大刀屻 – literally Big Knife’s Edge), also known as Razor Back, is so named because the trail follows the very top edge of the mountain range with fairly steep falloffs on either side.

The hike tracked by Runkeeper.

The hike tracked by Runkeeper.

The trailhead starts at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Gardens, easily accessed by taxi or bus from Tai Wo. The trail snakes north along the ridge and is mostly exposed, so it can be a tough walk in the sun. The two main peaks of Tai To Yan and Pak Tai To Yan mountains top at 566m and 480m, so it’s a strenuous climb right from the start and plenty of elevation changes along the way. On our hike, we connected to another trail towards the end (the Butterfly Mountain trail) that eventually ended in Fanling Station. On a clear day, this hike offers great views of the countryside and towns below – but unfortunately winter haze and pollution limited visibility this weekend. Still, a good hike and a pretty serious workout.

Click on the photos for larger versions.

Tai To Yan

About half way up the first peak, looking eastwards you can see Tai Wo down below.

Tai To Yan

The work ahead is clear – just follow the trail on the ridge.

Tai To Yan

Looking west, Yuen Long below. On a clear day, you can see Shenzhen and mainland China across the bay.

Tai To Yan

The trail is narrow and steep at the first peak, and very busy. Hiking with umbrellas for the sun seems to be uniquely Asian!

Tai To Yan

If you only look down, you’re likely to lose your head here.

Tai To Yan

The first peak reached, an unnamed mountain at 441m.

Tai To Yan

Looking back, it’s clear why they call it Knife’s Edge or Razor Back. The railings were installed for safety.

Tai To Yan

Ahead, still a ways to go before reaching the main peak at Tai To Yan mountain.

Tai To Yan

Almost at the top, looking back at the great view.

Tai To Yan

Finally at the top! Time for a break.

Tai To Yan

But only a third of the distance covered so far. So we push onwards.

Tai To Yan

A fellow hiker taking a break.

Tai To Yan

Trees in bloom in January?

Tai To Yan

The second peak reached.

Tai To Yan

On the descent, there are thick woods and some welcome shade.

Tai To Yan

Now on the Wu Tip Shan (Butterfly Mountain) trail, another climb to a modest 256m peak. At this point my legs feel like jelly…

Tai To Yan

A resting area near the end of the trail.

Tai To Yan

Finally, we reach the end of the butterfly trail and arrive at Fanling Station.

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