31 hikers began climbing from Huay Gaew. There had been no rain for a week, the sun was bright, and after an hour there were many sweaty shirts. But the gradient became less demanding, the sun less aggressive, and a few cool breezes came into the forest to greet us.
Passing the bridge over the strange lateral crevasse, we entered the cultivated highland valley. The lychee trees enjoy some recuperation at this time of year, so we were not distracted by opportunities to buy kilos of fruit. But the location was pleasant and we stopped there to eat our packed brunches.
Moving back into the forest, we reached the highest point of the hike at 5-way junction. After that things were easy, except for frequently having to cross numerous trees across the lane down to the Wat Doi Suthep area. Bending under, clambering over, and skirting around broke our rhythm a little, as did stops for appreciating the small fauna.
For a large group,we kept together well. This included the restaurant meal at the end, in the Wat Doi Suthep carpark and shops area, before we clambered into the songthaews to return to base.
- Distance covered: 12km
- Gross elevation gain: 1000m
- Hiking time: 5h 10m
- Bee stings: 3
- Disintegrated boots: 1
Many thanks to Tom for developing and leading this very satisfying hike.
Report by Michael.