Tai To Yan (Knife’s edge ridge), Tai Mo Shan Waterfalls and Kadoorie Farm
We set out to do what we called the “Nature’s Call” hike. Not only because we wanted to answer nature’s call in the wild (i.e. go for a pee in the peace and tranquil of nature), but also because we wanted to feel the touch of nature in one of the most pristine areas of rural Hong Kong. Actually, Hong Kong has been generously bestowed with many such tranquil spots. For today, we thought of two such spots which were especially worthy of an encore visit. The Tai To Yan ridge (called Knife’s edge ridge in Cantonese) and Tai Mo Shan waterfalls (one of the highest waterfalls in Hong Kong). Oh, and we decided to throw in Kadoorie Farm as well, which was more of a picnic than anything else. I last visited the farm back in 1994 and I’ve been meaning to go back! Yes, talk about procrastination! In fact, Hong Kong’s first ever wild crocodile found temporary housing in Kadoorie farm after a highly paid Australian crocodile hunter rescued the croc from the swampy waters of Yuen Long. Since then, the croc Pui Pui has been moved to Mai Po Country Park but, heck, croc or no croc, the passage of 20 years was enough of a reason to revisit the park!
Tai To Yan (Knife’s edge ridge)
After persisting through the initial concrete steps for about 30 minutes, we were happy to be on one of the most beautiful trails of Hong Kong.
We saw many waterfalls – the Lower Falls, Middle Falls and Upper Falls. Some more minor ones were in between the Middle and Upper Falls. The trail was popular and very accessible from the road Kadoorie Farm road. That meant many fellow hikers on this Sunday, so we had to go prepared with our “ngois” to make our way past the old crowd. Adrian and Joyce had the pleasure of listening to an old grandma break wind as she was going up the trail on the large boulder steps. She emitted a loud and sustained noise right when Adrian was behind her. It made his day.
Only four of us remained to check out Kadoorie Farm. The rest was too displeased with the way they were smelling and decided to better serve the general public by heading home for a shower. However, the four of us decided that our stink was no barrier to entering Kadoorie Farm. So, in we went.
Of course, 20 kms of running involving 1300m of elevation and 4.5 hours of time immediately meant one thing — food! Kadoorie farm had a nice vegetarian cafe right by the entrance. We downed pastas and drinks to refuel.
Animals, what animals?
Adrian put on his thinking cap as we strolled past the various exhibits that Kadoorie Farm boasted of. First came the caged animals. Well, caged animal to be precise, as many of the other animals “have been taken off display temporarily”.
Fruits, what fruits?
We then walked over to the greenhouse exhibits. We saw some cactus in different pots enclosed in a Hong Kong style 200 sq ft glass exhibit. That was it. We were questioning the return we were getting on our $20 entrance fees when we saw a sign that read “Fruit Walk” which sparked curiosity in us. Adrian was also quite excited at the prospect of seeing some fruit trees.
We entered the “Fruit Walk” enclosure after going past a closed gate and saw a sweet potato farm. Joyce exclaimed that she didn’t even know that sweet potatoes grew under the soil! After saying that out loud, she said “maybe I should keep quiet before everyone thinks I am stupid”. I didn’t say anything then but even I didn’t know that sweet potatoes grew below the soil! Well, you live and you learn.
Then we walked by what was supposed to be a pineapple tree which had no visible pineapples on it. And, we walked by a couple of more bland looking trees before reaching the end of our little Fruit Walk!
Adrian grew a bit impatient. Perhaps because there wasn’t enough mental exercise for his brain.
“What’s going on?” he questioned. “The animal exhibit only had one deer, the greenhouse exhibit only had one cactus and now the fruit walk only had one sweet potato farm which I am not even sure counts as a fruit, so what’s next?!” he wondered. It was a fair statement. He needed something to stimulate his brain.
The offspring of a Peacock and Parrot
And then, came his brainwave as we saw a peacock and a parrot in the same cage.
After spotting the peacock and the parrot, Joyce said that they would “make a great pair” which was probably the cue to Adrian’s question-of-the-moment. “If a peacock and a parrot were to mate, what would the offspring look like?”
Hmmm. Hannes weighed in on the question as well, but, unfortunately, despite having the benefit of four great brains during that moment, we drew a blank and had to defer the question to the expertise of the scientific community.
We accepted that the peacock and the parrot could “just be friends” and made our way past some caged parrots, falcons and non-existing owls in the “Owl Exhibit” to see a familiar signboard in the Insect Exhibit.
We walked around some more and then, all of a sudden, Adrian had his second stunning brainwave. He noticed how different distinguished individuals had their names prefixed to some of the exhibits in Kadoorie Farm. For example, here’s Mr. Normal Wright who has the unique honour of being named after ….. a chicken display!!
Of course, this signboard naturally reignited Adrian’s deepest ambition. “I want my name to be plastered to something of higher status!” he declared with great conviction in his voice. It didn’t take long for us to figure out what that “something of higher status” was.
“Adrian’s Cocks Summer Camp“. Bull’s eye. It’s got a nice ring to it too.
After a couple of laughs, we walked past one crocodile and several pigs to conclude our little Kadoorie Farm adventure. It was a nice little adventure and it felt good to see the Hong Kong Government promote nature. Kadoorie Farm is also a place where injured animals are housed as they recuperate. Of course, we do have a strong suggestion for the HKSAR Government. We vehemently ask that they prefix Adrian’s name to the Cock’s Summer Camp. He sure deserves it.