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2018/09/23_Mae Nai/ Mae Sa Valley Loop_Trip Report

20 hikers and one K9 joined at 700P and a further hiker joined at the start point.

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It was a beautiful morning and the uphill section into the forest was completed steadily in ideal hiking conditions. All manner of flowers and little beasties were encountered as we hiked through lovely forest scenery, spiced up by some impressive stands of huge straight-trunked forest trees.

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The route had been pretty much tied down during a prior reconnaissance, with the exception of a section approaching the Mae Sa stream. The obvious way forward leads through the Elephant Camp and though we had got away with 2 persons passing through in mid-week, we did not want to take the chance of 21 hikers confronting an elephant on a busy Sunday. Thus we had decided beforehand to look for a trail used by the group in the past that by-passes the elephants.  This turned out to be vegetationally-challenged by wet season growth, with grasses at chest height (and head-height for some). Nevertheless Peter did a sterling job with the aid of his GPS and the group reached the Mae Sa stream on-trail with only one slight glitch.

Once at the stream we stopped for a break. This was a section of rock pools and small cascades just above the highest of the Mae Sa waterfalls and was an ideal place to bathe, graze and generally relax. The water flow was quite high, possibly due in part to elephants evacuating upstream.

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Not only the humans enjoyed a dip in the stream

One of the group left us at this point to make his own way home. The rest of us went a little further along a level trail before plunging down a steep slope into the valley below, where we joined a good trail along the water’s edge. Some of us turned left (upstream) and climbed up onto the lower part of a waterfall, from where we espied our departing comrade passing over to the other side to join the hordes of tourists (well 2 anyway).

The way back is downstream along a fairly level trail that becomes gradually more elevated above the steeply-descending stream. The trail follows on through more beautiful forest, before reaching some scrubby farmland and finally the well-manicured gardens of the swank suburbs of Mae Nai.

Statistics record hike length 10 km, total elevation gain of 350m and an elapsed time of 3 hours 40 minutes. The early finish had two benefits, we avoided being caught in the open during the hottest time of the day and there was plenty of time to make the Nong Frook restaurant while the beer was still flowing.

Nong Frook is perfect for apres-hike refreshment, offering large trestle tables, attentive service and a widely varied menu.

Thanks to Tom, Janet and Nadda for the photos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. After a scary muddy scramble in the bamboo down the side of the waterfall, I was stuck on the wrong side of Mae Sai waterfall level 9, with a big pool of water. So with no choice, I wrapped my shoes and bag in my rain jacket and swam across, with my belongings over my head. Had a bit of a swim for 20 minutes then made my way down the waterfall trail. The waterfalls were much bigger and impressive than I had previously imagined, and I only saw 4 people there. Strava says 2hrs 30 minutes and 8.7Km in total.

    • Hi Philip,

      There’s a much better (safer anyway) way down to the base of the Waterfall a little further along.

      We saw you about to reach the other side and the water looked less than knee deep. We missed the drama.

      Richard

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