The group set out at 07.50 from the Irrigation Office above 700-Years and commenced the long slog up to the subsidiary summit of Doi Pa Ka. This route has two positives – it is in the forest all the way and it gets a large part of the elevation gain out of the way right at the beginning. Half-way up we came across a large termite mound riddled with tubes made by some kind of colonial fly or bee – we couldn’t quite agree on which. The mighty summit of Doi Pa Ka is marked by a small triangulation station, but is otherwise pretty much underwhelming.
From there we went down a small hill to a large cross-road, which marks the beginning of the farmed area.
Turning left we made good time up the vehicle track to Ban Chiang Khian, arriving at a perfect time for lunch at the village coffee shop. The route is part shaded and part in the open, but at that altitude the sun was very pleasantly warming and all were in good heart. Having partaken of a leisurely lunch and some excellent coffee we headed up the final section to Doi Pui arriving at about 12.30. The weather was excellent and the views quite clear – not only that, but some kind people had thoughtfully swept the steep sections clear of leaves and pine needles, so we were feeling really good at this point.
Anders knew of a motorcycle trail that cuts down to the 5-way Junction area from just below the campground, so we were able to do a loop involving only a few hundred meters on the road, rather than back-track down to the village. From 5-ways junction we contoured north along the hillside to above 700-Years and then dropped down through an agricultural area with lovely views into forest and thence down to Porcupine Falls.
With our final destination in sight we than made the only error of the trip by listening to the blandishments of one who shall remain nameless, who promised a clear, pleasant trail that would avoid going back down our outward route and would make a proper complete loop. 30 minutes of bushwhacking through a wilderness of dry grass and thorn scrub plus a tangle of large boulders followed. Having negotiated this unexpected last hazard, we got back to our vehicles at 16.10, having covered 23.6km of distance and 1,750 meters of up (including down-up) in just over 8 hours.
All hikers agreed this was a beautiful hike, with much varied terrain and conducted in perfect weather conditions.
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