Twelve plus 3 dogs enjoyed a longer than usual hike, about 14 km., with an elevation gain of about 800 meters. We took longer than estimated to complete this, about 6 ½ hours, partly because one new hiker became exhausted early on, requiring extra rest stops for the group.
The weather was wonderful, with a bit of sunshine, but all under a canopy of trees. The forest through most of this area between Mae Hia and Wat Pa Thammachat is composed of either bamboo or reforestation which followed forest fires.
The excitement for the day was meeting up with 2 snakes: a bright green whip snake and a repeat of a Malayan pit viper. A few of the hikers also heard and spotted an eagle far overhead, now identified as a crested serpent eagle.
About 2 hours into the hike we came to a clear view of Wat Pa Thammachat, and yet we had a long circuitous way to go before arriving.
Pam decided to avoid going into the meditation center we passed through while exploring, and so made a wide detour which probably added at least one km. to the trip. We all enjoyed a good lunch break when we did arrive about 11:45.
Afterwards we began the return trip from a high trail on the north side of the temple grounds.
The route we followed involves a repeat of about 2 km. at the beginning and end, with a large loop in the middle. There are also 2 rather steep sections of several 100 meters where there is no trail. Pam had marked one of these with long, orange paper strips, which looked like finish lines. Mike made a dash at one of these and, unable to stop in time, pulled it down.
Filed under: Hike Reports