9 July 2016 – the hottest day in record in Hong Kong for the last 60 years. The temperature was well over 40 degree and the relative humidity was well over 90%. As the radio presenter in Good Morning Vietnam says, “It is real hot, damn hot. The hottest thing is my short”. Yes, this was so true maybe one should perhaps heed his advise? But no we decided to head out to Gon Pak Stream to cool off. Well, at least that was what we thought!
At least now I can say, I’ve done the hottest hike in record and the coldest hike in record (read Part 1 & Part 2) in Hong Kong history in 2016. And that was a 50 degrees difference in temperature. It’s amazing how much a human body can cope.
Our Adventure To Gon Pak Stream
So we headed out to the Northwest New Territories of Hong Kong on a green minibus, but since the last time anyone of us did this hike was at least two or three years ago we were a bit confused on where we should get off. The minibus driver was speeding down the country lane like a Formula 1 driver (and yes those live in Hong Kong knows what I’m talking about), so it was difficult for us to work out where we were. We ended up about 2km away from where we were.
When we eventually found the stream after walking through (or possibly trespassing) some banana plantations and down some country lanes, we felt absolutely blessed as we were able to enjoy the water.
Many part of the river was exposed directly to the sun, the approach to the first waterfall was not easy under the intense heat. Even though we were surrounded by the water we had difficult time to cool off properly. As soon as any part of the body left the water, it got heated up again very easily.
After covering some distance in this brutal heat, it was a great respite to stay underneath the first waterfall for a fair amount of time.
Love from More Waterfalls
There are quite a number of waterfalls along this river. A few of those you can use them as a natural Jacuzzi or back massage!
Mother of All Waterfalls
At the Gon Pak Stream, there is an awesome waterfall inside a cave. I would say this is a must do when you are out there. One can go into the cave at the bottom and climb out from the top in the waterfall. All the hikers in the group call this “the birthing hole” as it is a very tight squeeze at the top when one come out from the hole. So, yes, in this sense this is a mother of all waterfall! 😛
The Born Again Hikers
Some say, climbing out of this cave / waterfall replicates the experience of a baby being born from a mother’s womb. I still don’t know if this is true or not. Some say, looking from the outside is like watching a mother giving birth to a child. I’m not sure about that either, but maybe I would find out if this is true at some point in the future. All I know is that a kid climbs from a dark to light and gets covered in some kind of liquid along the way!
Ending The Journey with a Brutal Bushwhack
After a long walk along the river for what it must felt like hours, we reached the exit point, which was near the source of the river. The half beaten group took the last dip in the water before making the way out into the bush. Hayley and I filled up the empty water bottle with stream water for cooling off later. This proved to be strategically useful later on!
We were so glad to see the tarmac when we reach the bottom of the hill, probably similar to what Bear Grylls would feel after surviving in the wild for weeks!
Robin William once said in the film Good Morning Vietnam:
It’s gonna be hot and wet! That’s nice if you’re with a lady, but it ain’t no good if you’re in the jungle.
Well, that was my exact thought, especially people were suffering from heat stroke and other various form of heat exhaustion. Even though I was with my lady (and all the ladies in the group) it ain’t no good when we were in the jungle in this intense heat, but at least we made it out!
- Getting to Gon Pak Stream: Take the MTR (West Rail Line) to Yuen Long Station, then walk to Tai Fung Street and the Green Minibus #33 to Ha Pak Nai.
Have you done a hike in an intense heat like this? Or have you suffered from heat exhaustion? Let us know and comment below!