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2021/02/21_Trip Report_Mystery Ridge

The monks and lay helpers at Wat Kio Tam, a sleepy Wat in the middle of nowhere, must have been amazed to be inundated by a large convoy of vehicles and humans descending on them from all points of the compass. Numbers were too much for the two pick-ups originally intended for the shuttle, so a third was pressed into service to help convey 23 hikers the 4km to the hike start point. Realistically this is the most vehicles that can be parked safely off-road at the take-off point.

Conditions were perfect for hiking. The weather was cool and pollution monitors were reading in the green zone.

The initial section of the hike flatters to deceive being more like a Sunday after-lunch stroll along the lovely Mae Wan stream, with bucolic views over flood plain and forest. Once the trail starts to climb, though, it keeps climbing. never overly steep but only occasionally flat and never down. The initial part of the climb up on to the ridge still offers panoramic views back over the Mae Wan Valley, but after turning right onto a forest trail following the ridge line no more views are to be had because of all the damned trees.

The thick layer of leaves and lack of those nasty little stones that have one roller-skating down any slight incline makes for pleasant underfoot conditions. An impromptu snack stop turned into an irresistible photo op and eventually, just as lunch time was approaching, some large rocks appeared from nowhere to make perfect picnic benches.

By this time the forest trail has broadened out into what must be intended for a firebreak.

Alas, though, as we approached the high-point of our hike, our trail deviated from this majestic highway onto an easily-overlooked small trail through thick undergrowth. Although this trail continues all the way through, it is not much used and is sometimes difficult to follow where blocked by fallen trees. Inevitably at one point the leaders managed to execute a perfect loop, which had the entirely unintended consequence of allowing the back-markers to catch up and meant the entire group emerged from the jungle onto the wide coffee road at the same time. The short hike back to Wat Kio Tam along Highway 1252 was enlivened by the sublime white flowers of the Dok Siew trees and these magnolia look-alikes.

This is a good hike for the descent-averse. Not only is the down much less than the up, but the cushion of dry leaves and lack of slippy stones makes for a relatively comfortable descent.

Home at last! A temple with all mod cons.

Having finished in a little under 5 hours, there was plenty of time to enjoy a cold drink and some hot food in Doi Saket on the way home.

Thanks to Oliver, Kissinger and Andrew for help with the car shuttle and to Andrew, Michael, Champ and Young-hee for photographs.

2 Responses

  1. My pm2.5 meter was reading 55-70ug/m3, which is in the “unhealthy” red zone.

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