These two hikes are very steep and long uphill and then very steep and long downhill. Sticks/trekking poles and strong legs are highly recommended, especially for the descent. The effort is made worthwhile by the wonderful views at these high altitudes. Weather seems fine. Let’s go!
Both hikes are at cooler higher altitudes than recent group hikes, starting at around 1,000m, and with wonderful ridge views over the surrounding districts, and particularly South to the Roller Coaster ridge and Doi Lanka Luang, when clear. But, as well as the steepness, there will be overgrown trails with ‘in your faces’, ‘undo your shoelaces’ grass, bushes and tree branches (but no actual bushwhacking). Some very narrow paths over steep drops, but no streams to cross.
Hike 1. From the village of Ban Pang An (c.1,000m) Ants hike up Doi Mot (1,655m) at a slow, comfortable speed with frequent short stops, and then back down a different way to the village of Ban Khun Lao. 3.5 kms one way, 7 kms total; up/down 680m; 3 hrs up, 30 mins for lunch, 2 hours back down. So 5-6 hrs, including lunch break. Mostly shady trails. Leader: Pam
Hike 2. Water spirits also climb Doi Mot, but starting from the village of Ban Khun Lao (also c.1,000m), at a faster speed, then continue up to the cloud forest of Doi Phi Pannam (1,854m) and return the same way. 5.3 kms one way, up/down 900m, 3 hrs up, a bit quicker down. So 10.6 kms total, 6 hours. Wild monkeys were spotted in the area of this second peak on a previous visit. Leaders: Mike and Oliver
There could be a possibility of a third option, Hike 3. Cheeky monkeys could hike both the above peaks quickly, with the water spirits group, but then continue round a loop, down and along a ‘climbing fence’ and then down the really long, really steep descent a different way back to the village. 10 kms total, 1000m up/down, 5.5-6.5 hrs including lunch. One short section is steeper downhill than the (in)famous Doi Lanka Noi summit goat path, and equally exposed. Hands are needed as well as feet to climb down along the rickety fence between the second and third peaks, where ropes have been used and big dogs have had to be carried! Only those with a very good head for heights and a good sense of balance should attempt this extended hike. Either Mike or Oliver could lead this group, if there are any takers.
If the weather is very wet, the steep slopes might be too slippery, so we will offer an alternative hike instead (possibly the Porcupine Falls loop from the boy scout camp at the end of Soi Chiang Khian). Check the website on Sunday morning for changes.
- at least 2-3 litres of water/rehydration drink, energy snacks and lunch.
- rain, sun, mosquito and leech/tick protection (though no leeches on Wednesday).
- strong footwear; hiking pole or stick also recommended for steep sections.
- Long sleeves and pants for protection against scratches. Machetes would be welcome.
- lots of energy, enthusiasm and good humour. Especially energy.
- 100 baht for your driver if you need a lift, and a spare shirt/clothes to change into after the hike.
We will meet in front of Central Festival shopping mall, on the Highway 118, Doi Saket – Chiangrai Rd, side before 07.30 am. By the bench opposite the Isuzu showroom. No groups, or inexperienced hikers today, please. We will then drive 50 kms and drop the Ants group at their start point, Wat Pang An, and the Water Spririts group will continue another 8 kms to Ban Khun Lao, their start point and the finish point of both hikes. The hikes are on the border between Sri Lanna NP and Khun Chae NP, along the Chiangmai-Chiangrai provincial border, about an hour, 50 kms, from CenFes.
Thanks to Jamie and Hein, as so often, for the initial discovery and exploration of this area.
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