Our hike on July 31 proved little more than a stroll in a Mae Takhrai Park, especially thanks to assistance from the park authorities that was over and above what we had called for. Setting off from the park visitor center at around 8:45 a.m., we found we had no less than five park guides for our band of 13 hikers—at least one of the guides had not been on the hike before, however. We got to Mae Tong Falls in good time thanks to a little machete work by our lead guide—one hiker even expressed disappointment at not having encountered any leeches. Nor did we suffer any rain for the entire hike.
As on the previous occasion when we did this hike, we lingered at the falls, made our way upstream and then through some paddy terraces to Ban Pong, where everyone had lunch. After a quick tour of the village. we returned by the motorcycle track to the end point where we had left two of our four vehicles. The Park chief had also kindly sent a pickup to get us and we found ourselves back at the visitor center at around 1:30 p.m. after what turned out to be an easy hike of around 11 kilometers (not the 13 that hike leader Oliver had originally posted) with an elevation gain/loss of around 300m. On the way back to the city, half the group stopped at a small local place near Mae On that had little but cheap cold beer, which was enough for most.
Thanks to all hikers whose generous contributions combined to make a decent tip for our friendly park guides.
Report, photos and hike organization by Oliver