Thirty intrepid hikers assembled this bright and sunny Sunday morning at the Wat in Ban Mae Ton Luang. Several participants made offerings at the Wat whose monks provided friendly greetings and ample parking spaces for our vehicles.
After being reminded not to attempt climbing the summit routes until everyone had assembled at the base of Doi Lanka Noi, hikers departed the Wat at 9:40 am. Through the village, over the bridge, and up through gardens and a coffee plantation, the group quickly reached the trail at the bottom of the ridge. Three hikers in the lead briefly followed a false trail until being called back by the hike leaders.
The climb up the ridge was very steep and some hikers found they needed more rest breaks and a slower pace than those in the lead. After an hour of strenuous climbing, most had reached the crest of the ridge and entered a cool and wondrous environment with territorial views of the surrounding hills and valleys. A cool breeze wafted through the pines as the party traversed around the ridge tops and through gentle ups and downs to the base of Doi Lanka Noi. With the entire group assembled again, the leaders were pleased to discover only one eager hiker had elected to proceed on her own. Fortunately, she had scrambled safely to the summit.
About a dozen hikers chose to follow one leader up the steep, exposed scramble route to the summit. With a deliberate and cautious pace, and in spite of one dislodged rock careening down the slope, the scramble group made the summit without incident. The remainder of the group followed a second leader up a longer but less exposed route on the backside of the mountain. Having successfully arrived at the broad, open summit plateau, the group enjoyed a leisurely lunch while appreciating the magnificent panoramic views.
After a brief discussion about the possibility of returning by a different route, the leaders decided to follow the original plan. Six bold hikers chose to descend the scramble route, and all of them felt it was not as intimidating as it looked from the top once they had made it to the bottom. Other more prudent hikers chose the less exposed alternate route for their descent.
Once safely off the summit, hikers followed their own pace across the ridge and down the steep initial slope. All hikers arrived back at the Wat by 2:40 pm. Most then proceeded to Pang Hai Coffee shop for welcome refreshments and good conversation. Everyone agreed it was a most enjoyable outing!
Hike length 8km, Total climb 770m
Report by Mike G
Photos by Andrew, Michael M & Janet
Filed under: Hike Reports