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17/12/24_Trip Report_Doi Nhog Special Hike

Braced for a long day the lucky hike participants arose before the crack of dawn to reach the assembly point outside Cen Fes at 06.45. Thankfully the weather was milder than has been the case for the last several days and the shivering group was shivering less than anticipated.

The convoy operation was organised with exemplary efficiency and whisked 20 Cen Fes passengers plus 1 Doi Saket joiner to the hike starting point in Ban Pong Tham village. Two tractor-trailers were waiting for us and with little delay the human cargo was loaded up and we were off.

Here came the second pleasant surprise of the day. The trailer ride was much less uncomfortable than the agonising journey experienced by last year’s hikers. For the most part this seems down to holding the trip later in the year when the roads have had more opportunity to dry out. There was noticeably less water in the streams and the hard road surface made for a smoother journey. Less groans, not many screams and only one piece of baggage crushed.

 

After pausing for a Group snapshot, the hikers filed happily up the Goldilocks trail to the summit – not too steep, not too long and with plenty of tailor-made rest stops. The weather was mild, the sun shining through the foliage, everyone was content and all was well with the world. We re-grouped at the flat area below the summit and stared up in awe at the impressive tooth of rock with a stupa perched on top.

All hikers managed to scale the scramble-cum-climb up to the summit with the assistance of a cable deployed along the steepest section. From the top breathtaking views stretched in all directions to the distant horizon and opened up all kinds of individual and group photo opportunities posed against pinnacles and crags. Photographed-out the Group descended safely back to the staging area and prepared to return to base along a different route.

Noi Doi Nhog: our next adventure?

 

When we did the Doi Nhog trip last year, some of us were disappointed that the guide insisted on going back down on our same up-trail. Be careful what you wish for. The reason quickly became apparent. The alternative route is unremittingly steep and slippery with boulder-strewn stream beds and dense bamboo forest thrown in for good measure. Earlier in the year it would have been a hazardous option. As it is, one member of the hike described the way down as like a typical exploration hike. Although it was good to do the loop, few of the hikers in the Group would choose to use this route again in the future. Progress was slow and we didn’t arrive back at the tractors until 5pm.

We were astounded when we arrived back at the trailers to find them covered with bundles of straw tied down with ropes. In this unprecedented luxury we proceeded sedately back to the village with the impressive tooth of Doi Nhog standing proud of the surrounding ridge and bathed in the golden-yellow light of the setting sun.

 

Final pleasant surprise of the day was the new village restaurant. Not much to look at as we all filed in, but snug, efficient and with very good food at a very affordable price. Not only the pad grapaoers were satisfied, but even the vegetarian options were rated as very good.

Well-victualled the Group then took off on the long drive back to Chiang Mai in good spirits after an excellent day out.

Thanks to Chan for organising yet another enjoyable trip. Participants were even asking when he would organise another one. Where will it be Chan? Thanks also to Chan, Tom and Matsu for the lovely photographs.

 

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One Response

  1. Great write up, excellent hike!

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