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  • On this website some experienced Chiang Mai hikers post open invitations to join their hikes in the area.
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  • Hike descriptions may be posted at short notice. So it may be worth checking the website frequently.
  • Hikes may be cancelled or varied at short notice due to weather conditions or other factors. So it is advisable to check the website beforehand on the day of the hike.
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Trip Report_17/02/19 – Buddha Footprint – Easy Alternate Hike

We were all surprised when 12 hikers showed up for this shorter hike, all eager to go! There were enough cars too, so we set off on good time for the drive up to Baan Doi Pui. When the parking attendant at the upper parking lot saw our hiking gear, it was obvious to him that we that we would be gone a long while, so we were relegated to the school lot below. After regathering at the upper lot, we counted noses, welcomed the 2-3 new hikers to the group, and set off.

Group at the garden entrance, minus the leader

Group at the garden entrance, minus the leader

On the trail, photo by Sharon so leader could be in it

On the trail, photo by Sharon so leader could be in it

We never reached any record high speeds, though a few faster walkers managed to create a gap between us. About 1/2 way we took an enforced break for water, and then forged on to the ridge, reaching it about 2 1/2 hours after we set out. The view was “dusty”, but at least we were not enveloped in fog, and the temperature was very pleasant.

Snack break on the ridge

Snack break on the ridge

 

After a longish snack break, we went to see the Buddha Footprint. I think I remember there was a time when it did look like a footprint, but one would need a good imagination to see one now. Some of the hikers continued a bit farther to look for a better footprint, and came back having to admit that the one we had seen was it.
From here we kicked up great clouds of dust as we “raced” back to the village in 1 1/2 hours and crowded around the table in our favorite khawsoy restaurant. What a surprise to have Peter, in the midst of a much longer hike, appear and join us for lunch!

17/02/19_Trip Report – Roller Coaster Ridge Hike To Doi Pha Ngom

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Summit photo

23 hikers drove the 50 km to the microwave tower on the Chiang Rai border, to find the gates locked and very limited room to turn around at the end of a narrow road.  Fortunately it wasn’t far for those at the back of the convoy to reverse back to the new car parking area for hikers that convoy leader had missed noticing, expecting the gates to the microwave tower to be open.

At a starting altitude of around 1400m, temperatures were cool, & a very refreshing breeze was blowing.  The trail along the ridge to our peak of Doi Pha Ngom was in great condition & easy to follow.  This trail is marked with yellow metal tags nailed to trees all along the route that continues to Doi Langka Luang.  The trail is shady most of the way, and the cool breeze was present for most of the hike.

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It wsn’t long before we were climbing our first summit, with clear views back towards Doi Phi Pannam.

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Arriving at our first peak, a snack break was taken to allow the hikers to regroup.  From here we could see the rocky outcrop of Doi Pha Ngom with the higher summit of Doi Langka Luang on the horizon.

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Doi Pha Ngom

 

Steep ascent

Steep ascent

 

The climb to the summit was very steep & looked more of a problem to descend, but that would be later…

On the summit

On the summit

 

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Time to head back

 

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Steep, slippery descent

 

The descent was quite a struggle for some, and the group separated into 3 groups, with the first group of fast hikers having quite a wait back at the cars for the last to arrive.

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View back to our summit & Doi Langka Luang

 

Hike stats :  Length 10km, climb 950m, duration 6 hours (quicker for some).

 

Thanks for joining.  Twas a great hike 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17/02/12_Nam Mae Kwong Loop: Trip Report

The Leader was as good as his word and the assembled group left the meeting point at Susco sharp on 07.30. Susco has proved itself as a good place to meet, with all mod cons and within easy reach of downtown both out and on the way back (there is a proper bus stop on the other side of the highway with regular silor service to central Chiang Mai).

29 Hikers assembled in front of the resort barrier

29 Hikers assembled in front of the resort barrier

The start point was in front of the guard post of a resort set alongside the scenic Mae Kwong River. No motorised vehicles shall pass, but the somewhat bemused guard is used to hikers by now and greeted us as we all trooped by. This part of the hike is a surreal experience as one trudges through what were obviously beautifully manicured grounds dotted with huge stylish chalets, which have now been left to the decay of time and climate, but are still fully-furnished as if awaiting new guests. An analogy with The Shining occurred to more than one person.

The resort behind us, we began a slow steady climb onto a low ridge line, which would have afforded good views to the south under less hazy conditions. There is still a good leaf cover for sun protection, but dead leaves are starting to shower down and early warning signs of the hot and dry season to come are well evident.

Down into that valley, up the other side, and it's all easy really

Down into that valley, up the other side, and it’s all easy really

Our Leader assembling his flock

Our Leader assembling his flock

There is a decent trail along the ridge line, around the head of a small valley and then on to a higher ridge line heading back along the other side of the valley for the return trip, and once on the ridge line there was a persistent cool breeze. Good (but hazy) views to the north and south, shady trees and nothing too steep added up to very pleasant hiking conditions.

Just before the high point, we stopped for refreshments and resuscitation. From here it was an easy stroll to the high point and the deceptively broad initial descent. On previous reconnaissance trips Anders had explored the obvious ways on from this point, expending much time and effort with little reward. So by the time us late-comers arrived on the scene there was really only one option left – the intimidating-looking slope leading directly down to the valley below – and sure enough there is a distinct trail heading steeply downhill. This trail, sporadically marked by human trace fossils, descends by way of a subsidiary ridge to safely deposit the careful hiker back into the resort. Congratulations to Anders for finding a new, attractive and (relatively!) easy hike within comfortable reach of Chiang Mai.

Our Leader received final vindication when he was able to point out the promised large group of natural mowing machines, which would have made a Swiss farmer proud.

Our Leader with a group of natural mowing machines

Our Leader with a group of natural mowing machines

Post-hike refreshments were taken at the Pong Din Hot Springs, or would have been if they had been open. There was a large Poy Luang ceremony at the village wat and all owners and staff of the bathing cubicles and small restaurants had downed tools to dance and make merit. Fortunately we found one restaurant next door that was able to provide adequate foodstuffs and plentiful beverages to the hiking hordes.

17/02/12 Chang Khian waterfall easy alternative hike

This is an alternative to the Nam Mae Kwong hike (posted beneath) for those who want or need a shorter outing and even easier hike. We will meet at the arboretum at 7:45 for an 8:00 start, carpooling up to the starting point just short of the Boy Scout Camp. The actual hike includes a loop and takes only about 1 hour round trip, but we can spend some time at the waterfall, which has a much diminished flow this time of year, but is still a pretty spot.

Chang Kian Waterfall

Chang Kian Waterfall

Wear good shoes, bring hiking poles if you have them, and at least a liter of water and snacks to enjoy by the waterfall, energy and a sense of humor. After the hike we may want to enjoy an ice cream at the dairy across from the arboretum. Your leader is Janet

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17/01/30-17/02/03_Trip Report_Phu Kradeung Outing

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Seventeen members of the Chiang Mai Hiking group traveled to Loei Provence for a three day exploration of Phu Kradueng National Park. Established in 1962, Phu Kradueng is Thailand’s second National Park. The Park is comprised of a large sandstone plateau with an average elevation of 1200 meters which provides a cool climate year around. Pines, oaks and maples populate the summit plateau, which is inhabited by elephants, tigers, back bears and several varieties of deer. The southern rim of the plateau is bordered by cliffs and waterfalls. The headwaters of the Lam Nam Pong River course through the plateau providing a unique riparian zone home to exotic flora and fauna.

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Our group traveled to the village of Phu Kradueng on Monday and spent the first night in the Khum Bong Kaew Resort in the shadow of Phu Kradueng (Photo 1). Accommodations at this new small resort were quite comfortable. The proprietress of the resort, Khun Sarunya, kindly referred us to the Ban Phuean Restaurant in the village of Phu Kradueng, where our group enjoyed a delicious meal of Thai and Issan style dishes.

Early Tuesday morning our group left for the Park entrance, there to pay a 400 baht fee per person for foreigners and to make arrangements for porters to carry our heavy items to the summit camp. We started the 5.5 kilometer, 1000 meter climb to the rim of the plateau at 9 am. Along the way we found many small shops where one could buy snacks and drinks, as well as T-shirts and other souvenirs. The route was steep in places, especially near the summit where several sets of steel stairs have been installed (Photo 2). We completed the climb around noon, and enjoyed a brief rest at the Mountain Top monument (Photo 3) before hiking an additional 4.5 kilometers to the summit camp where our cabins were located. Our group had reserved two cabins, each with three bedrooms and two baths which included hot showers. After some preliminary exploration we enjoyed an early dinner at one of the six restaurants located at the summit camp (Photo 4).

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Early Wednesday morning after breakfast our entire group hiked through a beautiful riparian zone surrounding the headwaters of the Lam Nam Pong River. About 2 kilometers from our cabins we encountered Pen Pob Mai Waterfall (Photo 5) which unfortunately contained only a trickle of water at this time of the year. From this point we descended into the river ravine, encountering interesting rock formations (Photo 6) along the trail and many log bridges across the stream that provided challenges for the adventurous (Photo 7). One hiker who had forged ahead of the group reported sighting a wild elephant through a thicket of bamboo. After hiking another 2.5 kilometers, we arrived at Than Sawan Waterfall (Photo 8), the last waterfall on this trail. While the volume of water was low, the beauty of the forest and the rock formations (Photo 9) provided ample compensation for our efforts.

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At this point, the group split into hiking groups and biking groups (Photo 10) to explore the trails along the southern rim of the plateau. Cliffs with spectacular overhangs provided interesting backdrops for photos (Photos 11 and 12). Both the hiking and the biking groups traveled as far as Lom Sak Cliff, the site of many famous sunset photographs. Several in our group stayed long enough to capture their own sunset photos (Photo 13).

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Thursday morning we checked our bags at the porter station, had breakfast and began our climb back down the mountain, arriving at the Park entrance between noon and 1 pm (Photo 14). Having developed a healthy appetite, we called the Ban Phuean Restaurant to inquire about lunch for 17 hungry hikers. The owner and cook (Photo 15) was again able to provide a variety of delicious dishes on short notice. After lunch the group departed Phu Kradueng. Most then traveled to and spent the night at Phu Ruea. On Friday morning we completed a quick reconnaissance of hiking possibilities in Phu Ruea National Park (Photo 16) before returning to Chiang Mai that afternoon.

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This was a very enjoyable outing to a National Park that offers scenery and wildlife different than seen around Chiang Mai. I believe the group consensus would support another visit to this area at some time in the future.

 

Report and trip leadership by Michael G. Photos by Chan and others

 

Appended photos

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17/02/05_Trip report_700p to Doi Pha Kha loop

After a little delay in gathering, due to some kind of ‘fun’ run along the canal road, 21 hikers, including many newbies (Norway, Oz, …) and one long-time-no-see-er,  braved the cold start and eventually assembled at the meeting point and started hiking at 07.45. No group photo as the leader forgot and didn’t even bring his camera.

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We hadn’t used this trail since November and the first section was quite overgrown. (Can someone please get out there with a machete/lawnmower/scissors before we go again? We almost, but not quite, wished someone had burned off the dry grass.)  Despite having the usual range of comfort speeds, we managed to stay together (until near the end) without over-long stops and also to talk as we walked.

One hiker left us to do his own additional Everest preparation as we reached higher elevations but he was soon replaced, to our great surprise, by two newbie hikers who had started 10 minutes late and caught us up, over two hours into the hike, just before our first snack stop at a sala in the lychee orchards just below the highest point of the day. Well done you two … and please seriously consider adding to our meagre number of female navigators/hike leaders if you are sticking around for long. (Mr S, eat your heart out!)

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After a brief snack stop we continued, reached the decidedly non-majestic peak of Doi Pha Kha at around the three hour mark, and started the long descent, punctuated by brief stops to re-group and re-hydrate as the temperature climbed. We made quite good time and at the stream crossing at the falls we had a decision to make: stop for another snack or keep going straight back to the carpark.  In true CM hiker fashion, we did something in between, with some expressing an intention to go on through full mouths.

To rebalance hiker numbers and ensure we finished with the same number we started with (hope you are keeping count), one hiker managed to get lost between the front runners and the main group about 20 minutes from the end, on the way back down from Porcupine Falls. This was communicated to the hike leader at the hike end via a mobile phone translation app which seemed to tell him to “get lost” (not the first time).  Phone communication then focused on a “black rock” so the leader retraced his steps to the first black rock junction (in vain) and then on to the second, where shepherd and lost sheep were successfully re-united.

Distance about 10 kms, elevation gain 800m, in about 5 hours. Additional 45 minutes for flock restocking. Reminders: (1) if you don’t know the way, stay with a leader who does and (2) don’t drink the stream water anywhere on Doi Suthep-Pui; there are orchards, fields and villages at higher elevations and we don’t know what pesticides, fertilisers and toilet arrangements are in use.

Thanks to a series of patient back markers for their assistance and to Ms J for photos.

17/01/29_ Trip Report – The Many Peaks of Doi Ton, & Into The Heart of Huay Lan…

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Group photo at the stupa on top of the cliffs

11 adventurous hikers met up at our new meeting point on hwy 1317 for the drive to Huay Lan reservoirs in San Kamphaeng.  There we were joined by 2 hikers arriving by motorbike.

It was nice & cool as we started our steep ascent.

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When we arrived at the base of the cliffs we found an amazing sight – wild bee honey combs attached to the cliff face.

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No sign of any bees.  At least one comb, lower down had been removed by local forest gatherers.

After a short rest we proceeded to the steel step ladders for the ascent to the top of the cliffs.

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We then made our way to the Stupa for a snack break, & a chance to enjoy the views.  Unfortunately it wasn’t as clear as a few days earlier when hike leader checked the trails.  We could still see Doi Suthep & Chiang Mai cross the valley, & the ridgeline above Mae Kamphong to the north.

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We then continued south along our ridge to the summit of Doi Ton at 900m.  Lunch break was taken at a rocky viewpoint on the descent into the heart of the Huay Lan catchment area.  We eventually reached a deep, narrow, mainly dry ravine with dense bamboo.  As we followed the trail along the rocky stream bed, we were halted by what sounded like a rockfall ahead & higher up the ravine side.  I think it was actually a stand of the very thick bamboo collapsing on the near vertical side of the ravine.  Negotiating the low hanging bamboo tunnels was tricky for the taller members of the group, but our youngest member hardly needed to duck his head.

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Eventually we emerged in to the sunlight of the main Huay Lan valley, & enjoyed an easy hike back to our start point at the southern most dam.

A few of us stopped off for some refreshments at a village shop to the north of the dams.

Total hike time about 5 hrs 30 mins, distance covered 11 km & about 700m ascent.

 

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Thanks to those who joined us.  It was a grand day out 🙂