THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY HONG KONG
in conjunction with the LRC Club
"The Appalachian Trail"
"Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan"
Thursday, 7 May 2009
The Ball Room, LRC Club, 10 Old Peak Road, Mid Levels
6.30 pm Drinks Reception; 7.30 pm Lectures
We are delighted to welcome to the Royal Geographical Society in Hong Kong Amy Lam and Wilson Cheung. Amy Lam is the only woman from Asia to have completed an unbroken trek of the famed Appalachian Trail in the USA, which she completed in 2005, taking some 130 days.
The Appalachian Trail extends between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately 2,175 miles (3,500 km) long. The majority of the trail is in wilderness of stunning beauty, although some portions traverse towns and cross rivers. Along the way, the trail goes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. An extension, the International Appalachian Trail, continues north into Canada and to the end of the range, where it enters the North Atlantic Ocean.
Amy Lam started her hike on 30 Apr 2005, only to need to climb trees when she found the trail blocked by bears in North Carolina. She continued through fabulous mountain scenery and some famous Civil War sites to the trail museum, which preserves the natural, scenic, historical and cultural resources of the trail. Into Pennsylvania, she trekked through the scarred landscape of unregulated mining to New York where the trail cut through a zoo. In the Mahoosuc Notch in Maine, she pushed her rucksack through the boulders' gaps before fording the Kennebec River, a wonderful experience "far from the madding crowd".
In her lecture, illustrated by slides from her book published in 2008 on the expedition, Ms Lam tells of the trials, beauty and fun of one of the world's great treks.
Born in Singapore, Amy Lam was educated and worked in Ireland and Norway for 20 years, coordinated events and travels in USA for 15 years and coordinated outdoors events in Singapore for 8 years. She now frequently lectures about her trekking to associations, groups and societies around the world.
In 2008, Wilson Cheung became the first foreigner to trek over the Tien Shan mountains from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan. While studying at Kimep University in Kazakhstan, with a Polish climbing partner, he decided to follow nomadic routes into the Tien Shan mountains, through into the steppes of Kyrgyzstan.
In this short talk, Mr Cheung tells of the thrills and spills of this uncharted trek, using undecipherable Russian maps, each carrying some 70kg of gear, while trying to avoid Kyrgyzstani troops who wanted to know how the team got into the country in the first place. Eating horse meat with wild strawberries which clad the mountain, the team went from forest to steppe to nearly 5,000m in the mountains. From snow storms, moonscapes, yaks to overly friendly steppe horses, they climbed across a bridgeless river by clambering across a high voltage cable, before slipping undetected back into civilisation in Kazakhstan. The talk is richly illustrated by slides of the stunning scenery of the region.
Wilson Cheung read Geography and Physical Education at Hong Kong University. Mr. Cheung is a Scout Group Instructor and an outdoor activities instructor for Outward Bound. In recent years, he has been on numerous expeditions, including to the Everest region for water resources research, to Antarctica to study global warming and the natural environment, but specialises in central Asia, having spent seven months studying in Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests.