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18/12/23 Report Pilgrim’s Trail Alternative Loop (sort of)

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We had 13 people and 3K9s turn up to hike the alternative loop on Sunday. It was decided to leave our vehicles at the Suthep Road meeting point rather than possibly incur the wrath of security guards within the grounds, so the group made its way past the reservoir and up into the forest. The initial climb was relentless for the first hour, the path wending its way through bamboo scrub along a good trail towards the observation platform next to the main road high above the city. On the ascent, two hikers decided they had had enough and left the group to return home, one suffering from a heavy cold.

The view from the platform was excellent, a clear blue sky and unusually good visibility bringing the mountains to the east and to the south into sharp relief. Our hike continued across the main road and into the forest once more. From this point the trail became indistinct, so care was needed to keep on course; the important clue throughout was the presence of a blue water pipe which we kept in sight through often dense vegetation, fallen trees, and slippery slopes. Our route took us across several water courses, the last of these a rocky waterfall, the noise from which one can usually hear from the Pilgrim’s Trail (PT). Several hundred meters beyond the waterfall, we emerged from the undergrowth out onto the PT … a reassuring sight following a relatively arduous spell of yomping.

The third section was a breeze, skimming down the trail to Wat Pilat, and a place to snack. People were out in numbers this day, both on the PT and at the Wat. We continued to head downhill, and at about one kilometer beyond the temple, we took an indistinct trail off to the right. A third hiker at this point was having knee problems, so returned to Suthep road via the PT start point rather than risk increasing the pain tackling the off-piste.

Our final section brought us more dense vegetation, indistinct paths and the possibility of losing our way. Eventually, we emerged from the forest and into the University grounds once more. The vote was overwhelmingly to visit a restaurant and a much-deserved beer (or two). We decided upon an eatery close to the B2 building along the canal road on the way to Huay Tung Thao. A good choice as it turned out with excellent food, ambience and good company.

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One Response

  1. If those two hikers “had had enough”, it wasn’t enough of hiking but of the testosterone-fuelled pace of the main group. The two hikers continued (I’m reliably informed) in a gentler and conversational way, up to the observation platform, before returning to the start point, which we they reached about 10.30.

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