On a chilly morning 23 of us gathered at the arboretum. There were several first time members of the group, one with a bicycle which he took up to the temple to ride down after the hike. The song tao ride up to the temple and back from the check point was a bargain at 140 baht each.
The walk up to the 5 way junction was pretty much up hill all the way, and always much longer than the leader remembered from previous years. We became quite spread out along the trail, but then all came together again at the junction, where we enjoyed snacks and conversation so much that we almost forgot to go on.
Nearing the village we noticed changes in the tracks and many new houses which caused us to take different trails. But still all reached Ban Khun Chang Khian where some of the group stopped for coffee and noodles, others went on to a temporary restaurant set up near the CMU coffee shop, and the rest went on to the coffee shop to enjoy hot coffee and biscuits with a pack lunch.
The sakura were past their peak, as we expected.
Anders then led 7 of the group up the north face of Doi Pui and the rest of the group continued along the road. There was so much dust from the motorcycles, cars, and trucks of those who came to enjoy the sakura, that by the time we reached the campground, we had decided to leave the road for the “leech trail” (which is leech free this time of year). This took us up close to the peak of Doi Pui, making our hike as long as those who climbed from the north. We all met up again at the pick up point at 2pm, completing the 15+ km. hike in about 5 ½ hours with 2 lengthy breaks.
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