21 people met at CenFes at the appointed time and shared 7 cars out towards the trailhead (where parking was a little difficult as half our normal carpark is now used to grow plants). One vehicle (with 2 hikers) apparently ran out out of fuel on the way but another (with 4 hikers) met us at the trailhead and we by 08.45 we’d split into 2 groups, a slower one of 14? aiming for Doi Mot and back, and a faster one of 9 to do the whole Doi Phi Pannam loop.
The faster group made good time, despite again getting one of the early junctions wrong (note to self: it’s the second turn, not the first or third) and made it to the first peak (Doi Mot) in about 90 minutes, quickly continuing on, in the overcast and windy conditions, up to the cloud forest and second peak by about 11pm. We lunched just before the fence-climbing section between the peaks and reached the final top just after noon. Great local views, but smog hiding the more distant views.
The long downhill claimed a few slips but 4 of us enjoyed a romp down the soft going of the last 100+ vertical metres of descent. We got back to the vehicles about 2.10pm and met the other group enjoying the rare Mingo icecreams and not-so-rare beers in the village shop, where we were later caught up by the two refuellers.
Slower Group Hike To Doi Mot Summit:
Setting off on the same up route as the full loop hikers, we were soon left behind. After a short detour to visit coffee farmer, we found the correct path up through coffee plantations to the ridge on the Chiang Mai / Rai border. After a short snack break, we began the 350m steep ascent of Doi Mot. It wasn’t long before the slow group became two groups, reuniting on the shoulder of Doi Mot, where the only views were of Doi Phi Pannam, all over peaks hidden by haze or cloud.
All of us were on the summit after about 2 hours from the start. Quite a refreshing cool (cold) wind on the top.
After lunch we started back down the same way we came up. Lots of dead leaves on the trail made the going slippery, but everyone made it down without serious incident (ie lots of slips). The first hikers were back in the village after a total of about 5 hours, whilst others got distracted purchasing fruit from the villagers. By the time the full loop hikers made it back to the village, the beer fridge had already been restocked.
Our hike was 8km long with 617m ascent.
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