Thirteen hikers showed up on this hot and sunny day and drove south along the Canal Road to Op Khan, now recorded as 29 km. from the meeting point. Two more were waiting for us at the gorge, for a total of 15. We were pleased to see just enough water in the river and a new refreshment stand with drinks and snacks where we parked. The upper trail, which we chose to use first, was fairly clear other than a few spots with fallen bamboo, and a nice surprise waited us at the point where we had previously had to slide down from tree to tree, as we found an old “stair case” had been uncovered, making the descent much easier. Also we did not need to work our way along the stream bed as much of the old trail on the other side had been cleared of fallen bamboo. We found the bamboo handrails which Pam had made, where unsafe bridges crossed ravines, were still in place and even re-enforced.
When we came down to the river it was only about 10:30, a bit early for lunch. Two of the hikers said they would go 10 minutes downstream to a safe place to swim, and the rest of us, after a short break along the gorge, decided to join them. We clambered up over a couple steep rocky points to do so, and continued on for about 20 minutes before realizing that the other 2 had changed plans, as we didn’t find them. They were both well acquainted with the gorge, so we didn’t worry about them. We then retraced our steps to the bend in the river, where we ate our lunch and some went in the river, to various degrees.
We followed a lower route on the way back and saw a group of water buffalo enjoying the river also, probably one of the reasons the water didn’t smell very sweet.
It was about 1pm when we got back to the headquarters and found one of the missing hikers there, which was a good thing as he was one of the drivers.
Filed under: Hike Reports