Wow what a hike. Two independent GPS agree on 25.5km (16 miles), combined with 1,200 meters of total up. This comfortably exceeds even the warning given in the pre-trip write-up. Completed in the creditable time of 7 hours 20 minutes.
By the time the long-trip group was extracted from a milling group of hikers assembled at the Standing Buddha it was 07.40. 13 brave souls started out, but it wasn’t long before 2 souls decided they had made the wrong decision, so by the time of the first photo opportunity we were down to 11.
Before too long Anders departed with one companion to “look for a short-cut”. He obviously found one because we didn’t see them again. Presumably he will have compiled a trip report Option C while sitting over a beer next to the lake.
The remaining hikers continued as planned to the stream crossing. It’s funny what some people will do to try to keep their feet dry.
A long up-hill slog followed to the high-point of the hike. From there the trail quickly descends into lychee plantations and contours around the hillside. There are beautiful views both down the valley towards Huay Tung Thao and up to the Doi Pui massif.
Around 11.30 we reached the picnic site in an idyllic setting next to a gurgling brook.
At the intersection with the out-trail a decision had to be taken whether to return by the road or whether to make a second loop above the Dtad Mork Waterfall. Based on the Trip Leader’s assurance that this would not add significantly to the total distance, the group opted for the second loop. The views over Huay Tung Thao along this loop are lovely.
Subsequent consultation with a map shows that the second loop added about 3 km and also involved some additional “up”. However, it is so much nicer than trudging along the road that I am still glad we did it. The group arrived back at the starting point still in one piece at shortly after 3pm.
Trip Report Option B: Mae Nai Circular Hike
For our hike on December 14th, most people were arriving a bit late at the Standing Buddha because of a Mini Marathon on Canal Road.
Group B started with the hike at around 8:05 AM amid fine and cool weather conditions. We were taking the trail towards Dtad Mork Waterfall, but turned then to the right towards the HTT Checkpoint. Before arriving at the Checkpoint, we had to face the challenge of crossing the small dam , but after helping out each other we were getting safely to the other side – beside a pair of sunglasses which we unsuccessfully tried to recover.
We continued taking the trail towards Mae Nai village . After around 15 minutes we met 2 guys with bicycles who gave us a heads-up concerning a bicycle race along the trail scheduled to start at around noon, which encouraged us to walk a bit faster.
After around 1 hour 45 minutes we arrived on the top of the mountain, stopped for a 10 minutes break, continued our hike before we started to walk back to HTT without any other break, but a lot of passing motorbikes forced us to step aside quite a few times.
We finished the hike at noon, after approximately 3 hours 45 minutes.
For the rest of the day, we relaxed in one of the HTT restaurants with food and drinks, with some hikers from the Option A group joining us during the afternoon hours.
I was interested in finding a short cut in Richards long, long hike.
I joined the group for 5.6 km. At this point it is a small dirt road heading down south, down in the river valley. A voluntary hiker and I started to walk on the road which follows the hillside a bit above the river. Fantastic views! We saw often the road that Richards’s group intended to use. But after 1.4 km our road ended. Luckily for us we found a small trail that led us up in the jungle and followed the hillside further on south for 1.4 km. It is a trail for support the water pipes. Suddenly we heard a child cry, so we understood we are soon in a farmer area. The jungle opened up and we entered a hillside with corn. We asked the farmer woman if it was possible to continue, and after some body language we got the answer, yes! An over grown road led us down to the next valley, and here we crossed the river. We hiked up in a new farmer area with potatoes and strawberries. We met the trail we knew Richard was going to use, and we were a bit curious if we were going to meet the group at the lunch break area. But no one was here. We know now we were more than an hour in advance from the other group.
The rest of the hike we followed the origin plan.
Distance 20.2 km
Time 4 H 45 M
One reason why we could do it so fast is that the trail along the river avoids some up hills/down hills. As an extra bonus we found out one more short cut, which can make the hike even shorter!
After we joined Pams group at the restaurant. They had been there for just 30 minutes. Some hours later and after “some” cold beers ,Richards group joined us,,,,,
Anders & “the cutter
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