For the first time that I remember, no regular Sunday hikers turned up for the hike (cowards! ;-)), apart from the three hike leaders, who were joined by three irregulars and three visitors. At the meeting point we had 7 hikers but only one pickup so one hiker had to continue out to Doi Saket by motorbike, where luckily we were joined by another driver and one more passenger.
We started hiking from a cool (23ºC) Ban Khun Lao at about 08.45 but the leaders let their guard down with such a small number of hikers and, busy chatting while strolling through the fruit orchards and coffee plantations, soon deviated off the intended route in a slightly tiring short detour, during which Mr V’s advance guard of 4 (full loopers), and a middle pair, surged ahead of the rear three.
The going was steep, as advertised, but the morning was cool, breezy and clear so the slow pace allowed us to keep comfortable and enjoy the ever-improving views as we rose above the lower forested hills onto the barer, and even cooler, ridges. The rear group made it up to the peak of Doi Mot in a very respectable 2 hrs 45 mins, had a quick lunch and continued on towards Doi Phi Pannam but, after meeting the “middle pair” on the way back down from the peak, we decided to turn round and return together. The “together” didn’t last long however and soon seemed (to the back three at least) to again become a front pair and the same rear three.
On reaching the vehicles/village shop, which Mr V’s full-loop group had reached about 20 minutes before us, we discovered that one of the the middle pair had been at the shop for more than an hour but the other one was nowhere to be seen. (It’s getting quite a frequent occurence for hikers in the middle to be the ones who go missing.) After a quick refuel (ice-cream), most of the group set off back up through the village ready to start the search and rescue, but then the missing hiker appeared down the lane on the back of a villager’s motorbike, exhibiting perfect last-minute timing and a belated good sense of direction.
The rear three hiked about 7.9 kms, up/down 700m, in 6 hrs 45 mins. Four full-loopers estimated 10 kms, up/down 900m, in 20 mins less. The middle pair, … who knows? Thanks to all for a great day and to Mr A for additional transport services. More photos and details may be added soon.
Filed under: Hike Reports