Hikers arrived in dribs and drabs at the starting point – first Andrew at 08.00, the only one to actually venture as far as the project’s “car park” (that’s what the sign reads anyway), then two of the leaders who had pre-arranged a pick-up truck at the end-point and finally the main group at 08.30 ably marshalled by Mike. All except Andrew parked along the roadside near the project entrance.
The group set out along the project access track, which runs through a pleasantly shady wooded area, and eventually met up with Andrew and his two lads at the “car park” making a total complement of 29 hikers. For future reference the track to the car park is not suitable for low clearance vehicles and parking at the project entrance is the recommended alternative.
A straggling line of hikers was soon wending its way up the steep slope to the ridge, a task not made easier by a clear view of the ridge top from well below. However, all reached the top in good spirits, where we re-grouped at an impromptu snack stop. The views from here are tremendous.
The route runs through open agricultural area for a while before taking a sharp right onto a narrow but well-trodden footpath and passing into forest for the remainder of the hike.
The views to north and south are spectacular in the open area and even the forested section is open enough to afford excellent views. With slight overcast, a pleasant breeze and clear air conditions hiking along the ridge was extremely pleasant. We are collectively certain we had a clear view of Doi Inthanon even if we disagreed on which mountain it was.
Nature had laid on a perfect lunch stop at a point where a huge fallen tree trunk provided comfortable seating for a number of us. Others hikers played tarzan in the vines.
From the lunch stop it was largely downhill (though admittedly with a couple of short, sharp ups) until we arrived in the Hmong village where the pick-up was parked at just after 14.00.
The total hike duration was in-line with pre-hike estimates at around 5 ½ hours.
There was a rush for the village shop offering cold beer. The drivers clutching their beverages piled into the pick-up for the long drive back to the starting point. Hopefully supplies held out until the drivers got back with their cars and were able to take their weary passengers home.
Thanks to Anders and Mike for their support in managing what could have been a logistical nightmare into as smooth an operation as could have been hoped for.
Filed under: Hike Reports |