Twelve hikers and 2 dogs were at the arboretum before 8am after a night of rain and now clear views of the mountain. Three were new to the group and one a returnee. We “songtaoed” up to the park headquarters above Wat Doi Suthep and headed for the trail. Immediately we were faced with a sign saying we needed permission from the park authorities to walk there, so I pulled out my phone and called the number I’d been given, but received “welcome to call back service”. Though I left my number, no one ever called back, nor were we ever faced with an “authority”. Mushrooms were plentiful along side the trail.
It was about 10:45 when we reached the 5-way junction for a short break, and then we headed down to the orchard and up to the hidden waterfall. On the way we found a wild mango tree laden with fruit, so had to wait while attempts were made to knock down a few. We also found a few damaged peaches alongside the path. A lot of tree trimming cluttered the small path and was at least partly to blame for a wrong turn and some more wasted time finding our way. At the waterfall we found a few leeches, but that didn’t prevent some of the hikers for an attempted climb up the falls. Each time we are there the group becomes more adventurous.
Back in the orchard we found a group packing the harvested lynches and we ate our lunch nearby. By then I was feeling the need to hurry on, but again missed the right path and wasted about 10 minutes coming back to the right one. (The pickers had strewn the path with plastic bags so that it looked more like a work area than the path.) Even after that we had some difficulties with following the path because of the ever expanding use of the area for farming. Anders was a great help getting us back on track.
From here it was all downhill, and soon I realized I wouldn’t be back on time for my responsibilities at church, so left the group (now well oriented) and went full out to get back to the arboretum. My apologies to the group, and many thanks to their good humor and for putting up with my poor leadership.
Filed under: Hike Reports