Ninteen people turned up at 6.30am to begin the two-hour drive to Ban Pong Tham, gateway to Doi Nhog. Khun Chan had made arrangements with the village organization, so they had two tractors with trailers ready when we arrived. There followed another hour of driving of a more exciting (if slightly uncomfortable) kind.
We passed some rice paddy in the valley bottoms, but most of the slopes were cropped with maize. Where the highest maize field gave way to forest the tractors stopped and the hike began. It was about 10am.
The path through the forest was clear but slippery in many places. We climbed fairly steadily for two or more hours, to reach the buddha statue at the top of the ridge before the final ascent.
Already quite tired, a few of us hesitated before the intimidatingly-steep-looking rock pinnacle of Doi Nhog. But after eating our lunches, all nineteen accepted the challenge and scrambled up.
After climbing down to the base of the outcrop, we took a diversion along the ridge. Some people thought this was to be our route back, but the guide was looking for a cave which he wanted to show us. However, time had already swept past 2pm, and few of us felt like joining the hunt for the lost cave. If any of us found it they did not want to talk about it. Nevertheless, the diversion was worthwhile for the view along the ridge toward the pinnacle, as seen in Matsu’s lovely picture at the top of this post.
Then came the return down the steep and slippery forest path, a rain shower adding to the challenge already experienced by those of us with stiff knees. Poor Mr B took a thumping, losing his feet at least a dozen times, but still with a smile on his face when finally reaching the tractor for another good hour of shaking. (Those of us with the second tractor broke that hour by pleading with our guide and driver to stop and let us eat some of the pomelos off the trees.)
So it was nearly 6pm before we were all back in the village, receiving our certificates. Fried rice had been cooked for us, but too many mosquitoes and too few cold bottles were present for us to enjoy our meal immediately, so we drove off and met again in a restaurant on the way back to Chiang Mai. Most of us finally reached home after 8.30pm, stiff and tired, but with the memory of a wonderful experience. Many many thanks to Chan for organizing it.
Stats from Anders:
- Altitude at the village 530 M
- Tractor drive to the start point 1 h 18 m, distance 4.2 km.
- Altitude at the start point for the hike, 719 M.
- Altitude at Doi Nohk 1540 M.
- Total time for the hike (not tractor) 6 h 22 m.
- Distance for the hike 9.3 km.
Report by Michael