It has become a sad litany this past month, with this being the third time a hiker dies in Hong Kong in under a month. This time, however, tragedy hits closer to home, as I had met the deceased hiker on Suicide cliff during a previous hike.
Presuming of one’s strength
Apparently, Albert Poon, the hiker, had been hiking in the geopark of Sai Kung. He then tried to swim to an island and was overcome when returning from that island, according to records in the media.
Local water temperature must have been around 15°, which would be easily conducive to hypothermia. Furthermore, starting a swim in cold water after the stress of a hike, must have taken an additional toll.
Albert was not hiking alone. He was with a group of hikers, but he presumed of his own strength. Hiking groups are often flaunted as a solution to reduce the danger of hiking… But if someone presumes of his strength and/or is pushed beyond his limits, they offer no security. However, the friends of Albert were able to call for help to get him evacuated.
Why does it hit close to home?
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I met Albert during one of my hikes up on suicide cliff. At the time, he had even asked me why I was hiking alone. I took a picture for him, and we exchanged our phone numbers. Albert came across as a friendly and cheerful guy and from the looks of it, he was extremely fit.
In a way, when we lose someone we knew personally, it is always a reminder that we are mortal. And since we are both hikers, it is an additional reminder to be careful when hiking. Hiking is a stressful experience for the body. So, when you do that, you should always be taking care of not pushing your body too far.
So rest in peace, Albert, and thanks for that brief encounter on suicide cliff.