Experiencing sea, mountains along hiking trails

From: Shenzhen Daily

An aerial view of the hiking trail in the section of the Dasha River Ecological Corridor. Photos by Sun Yuchen 

During workday rush hours, the Dasha River Ecological Corridor, running through the Nanshan District from the north to the south, is always bustling with commuters on bikes. As the corridor connects the business centers of the Shenzhen Bay area and Shenzhen Hi-Tech Industrial Park in Yuehai Subdistrict with the higher education block of Shenzhen University Town in Xili Subdistrict, the ecological corridor not only relieves traffic pressure but also provides a healthy slow traffic system for bike commuters. At dawn and dusk every day, joggers, alone or in groups, run along the banks of the corridor to enjoy a healthy life.

Now the residents, especially those working and living in Nanshan, have the new leisure option for their weekends with the opening of the new Chaguang-Tanglang Hiking Trail that links Shenzhen Bay via Dasha River Ecological Corridor and the Tanglang Mountain.

A team of hikers walk along the Chaguang-Tanglang hiking trail. 

Hikers can start the 13-km sea-mountain hike from the Universiade Torch Tower at the mouth of the Dasha River, where hikers can see the beautiful view of Shenzhen Bay. As they walk along the ecological corridor northward for about 7 kilometers, they will pass the tall office buildings along the bank, the MixC World mall, Dasha River Park and Dachong Park along the corridor. Hikers then come to the entrance of the Chaguang-Tanglang Hiking Trail, which is located at the newly built community park, Zijianyuan Park. The community park on Zhuguang North Road is about 100 meters away from the Dasha River Ecological Corridor and can be reached from Exit D of Chaguang Station on Metro Line 7.

The 4.37-km hiking trail from Chaguang Entrance to Jimu Pavilion at the top of Tanglang Mountain is rated as level 3 in difficulty out of a scale of 5. At the back of the park, a hand-made hiking trail winds its way up into the thick litchi forest, the orchard under the care of Chaguang villagers.

The hiking trail is abundant with cityscape and lush greeneries.

The hiking trail is about 900 meters away from the entrance to Honghua Ridge, a small hill at the foot of Tanglang Mountain. It was renovated from the tracks used by litchi farmers without much modification. Along the sides of the trail, wooden boards with pictures, maps and descriptions were installed to introduce the plants and animals, as well as how the farmers built the retaining walls for slopes as well as stone curbs along the 1-meter-wide path.

A roadside sign explains about hand-made trails.

A hand-made trail is made without machinery and cement. The stones and wood used on the trail were from the mountain rocks and fallen trees nearby. On the way to the ridge, a group of several families appreciated the information boards. “The hiking trail teaches kids to protect environment and learn about plants and animals species; hiking is good for their health and relieves their pressure from demanding schoolwork,” a father surnamed Zhang, with a child who attends the Nanshan Foreign Languages School, said.

Shortly, the children were attracted to a skink, a type of lizard with shorter legs and an elongated body that was enjoying the sunshine near a board that introduced the species. A skink is called the hermit of the forest as they live in the humid area between rocks or under fallen leaves. This species is very alert to its environment and quickly disappeared. At the top of the Honghua Ridge, you can see the built-up area of northern Xili as well as the Xili Reservoir and Yangtai Mountain in the distance.

A macaque rests along the hiking trail in the Tanglang Mountain.

Though the Honghua Ridge is just a small hill, the good vegetation and natural environment of Tanglang Mountain has attracted wild species like nephila pilipes, a species of golden orb-web spider, macaques and leopard cats. According to experts, Tanglang Mountain is the home of wild cycas, one of two State-level First Class protected plant species in Shenzhen.

This species of cycas is named Fairy Lake Cycas because they were discovered by botanists working at Shenzhen Fairly Lake Botanical Garden.

A downhill trip from Honghua Ridge, which takes about 10 minutes, is relaxing. Upon arrival, the sight is suddenly broadened with a stretch of open land, abundant with wild plants sprawling in the valley between Tanglang Mountain and Honghua Ridge. In this open land, you can easily find different types of insects hidden under bushes and camouflaged on leaves, such as the Chinese mantis.

The tough hiking challenge begins when you step onto the next section of the trail after passing the open land. The trail to Jimu Pavilion is steeper and could be slippery on rainy days. In some parts of the trail, about 400 meters in length, the park managers tied a tight rope along the tree trunks as an aid for hikers going up or down the mountain. When you feel tired and stop for a rest, the plastic cards posted on the tree trunks will remind you of the remaining distance to the Jimu Pavilion.

A squirrel rests on a branch, undisturbed by the hikers.

The final section of the trail to Jimu Pavilion is an open cement road. At the conjunction of the trail with the road, the hiker can choose the uphill walk of about 1 kilometer to the peak or the downhill walk of about 3 kilometers to the Longzhu Gate Entrance, the southern entrance to Tanglang Mountain.