We have had 4 rainy days in a row, and still 15 people registered for our boat trip and walk at Ban Pa Sak Ngam, and showed up at the reservoir. We were very glad to have clear weather, which lasted all morning, but by afternoon a light rain started and continued throughout the rest of the day. After a lovely boat trip over, the pickup truck ride was a bit crowded and rough, but fun!Pau Luang Jaroen, the village headman, did well by us, giving us 2 very good local guides, Noi and Dan, who were pleasant, ready to share their knowledge, and very patient. I had told the headman we wanted to “see everything and have a longer walk than our previous one”, and so we saw a cave new to us, Tam Pra Pu, skipped the smaller cave and the ancient Chedi ruins, traversed the Spirit Market, stopped for a break at a lovely resort-in-progress (note the new bathroom section in the background), walked the very slippery nature trail walkway over the wetlands, saw a wealth of insects and mushrooms, and had lunch at the beautiful waterfall as we have each time. Before we descended to the waterfall, the guides pointed out a large, high waterfall some distance up, beyond the “beautiful” waterfall, and offered to take us there too, but then felt it was unsafe because of the rain. It will make a nice addition to any future hikes. My guess is that we probably walked no more than 5 km. at a very slow pace, which allowed us to see much and avoid too many falls on the slippery trail. After lunch the pickup truck came all the way in to the waterfall/resort area to pick us up, but then had to make a detour around an area of the road where a water pipe had broken and was being repaired. The detour involved an incline cutting through a muddy field, so all in back had to get out. It was touch and go for a while to get traction even with 4 wheel drive, a test of the guide/driver’s skill, and an adventure for the 3 of us sitting in the seat behind the driver!
We had never seen the water level in the reservoir so low before, and were told that much water is being released for agriculture, which it seems is the purpose of this reservoir. The cost per-person was 180 baht, but most gave 200 baht, and so we were able to leave a 380 baht tip for the 2 guides in appreciation for their good services. Our thanks to all who made this an enjoyable hike!
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