Fifteen optimistic hikers decided to ignore the early morning showers, and the forecast of more to come, and turned out for Sunday’s hike. After the drive down to Mae Wang, changing and shuttling up to the start point the group set off in bright sunshine and good spirits at just before 0900. We first negotiated a rather muddy dirt road before traversing a sandbank beside a stream and then cutting through a small area of farmland, much to the bewilderment of the workers, we entered the forest to begin our ascent in earnest. As is quite normal with our hikes, the steepest section of the hike always seems to come at the beginning and today wasn’t any different so, after the summit of this section was reached a short break was taken before continuing a more gentle ascent. A little bit of off-trail hiking was necessary in order to get to the trail we needed but once done it was onwards and upwards, in light forest, along a good ridge trail until we came to a dirt road which runs along another ridge almost perpendicular to the one we had just hiked up. It was then a short distance along the dirt road to the highest and half-way point of the hike and a good place to take lunch which, was just as well as it started to rain as we were preparing to set off on our way back.
The first part of the descent should have been on a wide dirt track with some nice views of Doi Inthanon and the surrounding area but, the dirt track became a little stream and the views were obscured by the clouds and rain but it didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the group and we did have the added benefit of seeing a few miniature waterfalls thanks to the rain. The sound of falling rain and occasional clap of thunder was broken by a group of off-road bikers who were out exploring the trails but, unlike us, they had to turn around as the dirt track finished a bit further on.
The dirt track comes to an end at a small clearing where someone has started to build a couple of small houses but seems to have given up on the project. This was where the bikers had to turn around and go back but we continued on a steeper trail that follows the ridge down through increasingly dense forest and, finally, through some bamboo and into farmland; fortunately the rain had just about stopped making the conditions a lot easier and anyway everybody was still smiling!
Once in the farmland it was a 3km hike along another, fairly flat, dirt road which runs alongside a river and finally to the Wat carpark, where we arrived at about 1500, and the end of our hike.
Our post-hike refreshments were taken at a small restaurant across the road from the Wat where the owner had kindly agreed to open for us and, thanks to Chan who ‘phoned our orders while we were taking lunch in the hills, our food was waiting for us when we arrived.
Tom and I thank everyone who came along, a great day and great company. Special thanks to Chan for arranging the restaurant.
For those interested in stats my gps gave a distance 16.4km and a total ascent of 790mtrs
Photos: Tom and Chan
Filed under: Hike Reports