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  • On this website some experienced Chiang Mai hikers post open invitations to join their hikes in the area.
  • We use the date format YY/MM/DD where YY is the year, MM is the month and DD is the day of the month.
  • 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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2019/09/08_BKCK NNW loop


Four veteran Chiang Mai hikers chose this moderate alternative to the big hike.

Fitting comfortably into a single car we began by driving up to Ban Khun Chang Khian (BKCK). The new road surface makes the journey easier than in the past, up to the National Park campsite. The improvement still has not extended all the way to BKCK. We paused at the coffee shop of CMU’s agricultural research garden, but it seemed not to be in operation today.

Parking in the village, we took the northerly foot/motorcycle path down through a mixture of cultivated land and woodland.

Morning mist in a high valley near BKCK

Reaching the T-junction, we decided not to over-extend ourself by turning right for the NE loop, which would have involved losing even more altitude. Instead we started the uphill phase on a vehicle track. (See headline picture.) We reached BKCK after three hours hiking, in time for the planned rendez-vous with the main group. (See separate post for their report.)

Since the restaurant chosen by the main group was quite full, the four of us repaired to the rooster restaurant instead, for a tasty lunch before driving back down the mountain.

Hike initiation, reporting and photos by Michael

 

 

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2019/09/01_Report_Doi Lanka Noi circular hike

 

Some ten people (including hike leader) turned up for this hike. The skies were somewhat overcast but thankfully it did not rain. True to form, the hike leader took a wrong turn early in the hike but twenty minutes bushwhacking got us back one the right track. Just before the final assault on the summit one newcomer, who had perhaps overestimated his fitness level, decided to turn back. The summit was cloaked in mist but occasionally would part to allow some nice views.

On the descent the overnight rain make the going slightly heavy and the path slippy in parts and slowed our progress, while the water level in the river was higher than last time, necessitating wading through rather than stepping from rock to rock. But everyone made it down and back safely with the hiker who had turned back waiting for us at the wat.

Given the heavy underfoot conditions and the hike leader induced diversion the 11.2km hike took  slightly longer than last time at five hours forty minutes. Afterwards we abandoned our normal restaurant in favour of the “White Cat” for beer and refreshments.

Leadership and reporting by SRR. Photos by Richard and Bussakorn

2019/08/25_Report_CMU++ loop


Despite thick cloud, eleven people turned up for this suburban hike. Setting out from the Arboretum carpark, we started by visiting the Huay Kaew waterfall, in which our newest hiker showed us the right way to the bridge over the stream.

Crossing over the main road up to Doi Suthep, we took the lane in to Wat Moo Boon. In fact we first went right through Wat Moo Boon and out the other side into open fields. This had not been the plan, as we wanted to follow the perimeter of the former fortified settlement of Wiang Ched Lai. But walking back through the Wat, we spotted the small path which was the crucial link.

Aerial photo from about 50 years ago, clearly showing the perimeter of Wiang Ched Lin. Source: Source: Sarasavadi Ongsakul. Old Community in the Chiang Mai Lamphun basin. (Bangkok: Amarin Printing and Publishing, 2543), p.130. Via http://www.sri.cmu.ac.th/~elanna/elanna_eng/public_html/history/history6.html

Returning to Huay Kaew Road, we entered the north gate of Chiang Mai University (CMU), and passed successively the Sala Dham, the Geology Department dinosaurs, the Palm Park and the Fine Arts mural.

Exiting by the north gate, we visited the many statues of Ban Ling Ha en route to Wat Umong, our most southerly point. Returning via Wat Pa Daeng, we were disconcerted to find the gate locked into the grounds of the Royal Project Foundation, so we had to take a more easterly route. We sat down for a breather in a quiet coffee shop before returning to our starting point via the pleasant lakeside walks of the CMU campus.

The hike was longer than previously estimated: 15-16km, which we completed in five hours including coffee-break.

Hike initiation and reporting by Michael.

(The big altitude spike is a technical malfunction.)

2019/08/04_Report_Mon Cham field trip

In spite of a light rain falling thirteen people (including hike leader) turned up for this hike. it was decided that we would drive out to Mon Jaem in the hope that the rain would ease off. When we reached Mon Jaem the rain had stopped but the overall inclement weather made for a chilly start and everyone had to wrap up well. An unpleasant surprise awaited us as this part of Mon Jaem has fallen victim to rampant development over the last couple of years with scores of wooden chalets dotting the slopes: a serious deterrent to future hikes in that area.

We made out way down to the bottom of the valley but as we started to ascend Mon Jaem the rain came back, and walking up the slippery mud path through the fields proved a bit of a challenge for some. With the summit of Mon Jaem covered in mist and constant rain we decided to abandon the walk up to the summit and head back to the cars, on the way witnessing continued chalet development, for a total hike time of just under two hours.

Some of the new chalets appear on the hill, top right.

Unfortunately the Therma Doi restaurant appears to be no more, so we stopped off at the Between restaurant on the way back for much need hot drinks and food.

Hike leadership and reporting by SRR. Photos by Michael.

2019/07/28_Report_Arboretum to Wat Doi Suthep

Heavy rain during the week – and a fear of more – caused the scheduled hike to be cancelled, so this less difficult one was advertised at the last moment: at 6.30 on Sunday morning. Only four people turned up, but it went well. The weather turned out to be very good for hiking: overcast and relatively cool without actually raining.

None of us had visited the Huay Kaew waterfall area since paths had been laid with yellow-painted concrete sleepers, which look at least a year old. They are a benefit, but they sightly confused the leader so that he initially missed the un-renovated path on the south side of the stream leading up to the road. But after a short delay we got there, crossed the road and the bridge, and on the other side found the path leading toward Five-way Junction. The climb then is quite stiff but pleasant. Gradually the sounds of road traffic faded and birdsong became prevalent.

Taking the shortcut southeast of the Five-way Junction, we got onto the former vehicle track toward Wat Doi Suthep, and found that this track (1) was obstructed by a lot of newly-fallen trees again; (2) seems to be used more by guided groups than in the past (we passed three such groups), and (3) was marked out as part of the trail for an upcoming long-distance race. The racers will be going up to Ban Khun Chang Kian and beyond, and coming through the Montha Tan Waterfall area.

We managed to get through the new tree-obstacles, and reached the Wat Doi Suthep market area after four and a half hours of hiking. Total hike distance was about 10km. About 900m elevation gain, 300m loss.

It is also worth noting that there was almost no litter of glass bottles or plastic, in contrast with many of our out-of-town hikes.

After a satisfying meal and drinks in one of the local restaurants, we took a songthaew back to the Arboretum.

Hike initiative and reporting by Michael.

 

 

2019/07/07_Report_Nam Mae Kwong exploratory hike

A total of eight persons (including hike leader) turned up for this exploratory hike. At the starting point there was an unusual amount of traffic as a tree planting ceremony was scheduled for later in the day, but we were waved through the gate and made the turnoff to the new unhiked path in about twenty minutes.

Once on the new path we faced a dilemma as the path quickly forked into a low and higher path. We stayed on the higher path and had a pleasant ridge walk through forest with some nice views, with the path eventually meandering down towards the river. At the agricultural area beside the river we met a farmer who informed us that the village was at least a further ten kms away but, as hoped, we could walk back along the river to the ranger hut.

On the satellite map it appeared that there were a number of steep rock banks along the river and there were, but never on both sides at the same time, so we were able to simply wade across the river (we made a total of twenty five crossings) to a relatively easy path on flat grass islands on which the grass had been chomped to almost lawn like levels by water buffalos, whose paths along the river we gratefully followed.  We eventually came upon two of said creatures having a mid morning wallow in the river, and who regarded the passing group of hikers with considerable disdain. The rest of the herd we discovered about one kilometer further on, both in and out of the river.

The river meandered  back and forth several times but by following the buffalo paths and zigzagging across the river we had a relatively easy hike. When we reached the former park area the tree planting ceremony had already taken place but a sizeable crowd remained, listening to a bizarre medley of easy listening western songs sung by Thai singers on a PA system.

We reached the cars in a time of four hours and forty six minutes with a distance of almost fifteen kms walked. The unanimous verdict was that this hike would be appropriate for the Sunday group as it was not particularly hard with few hills and easy paths and some good views and a nice river, although with the river over two feet deep in parts hikers must be prepared to get both feet and lower legs wet.

Leadership and reporting by SRR. Photos by Richard

 

2019/07/07_Report_Tat Krok Waterfall Hike

Short and sweet. 14 hikers. A little over six km in a little over two hrs. Good company. Swimming facilities for dogs at the half-way mark. Coffees and pad kra pao gais for the humans at the end.

Leadership and reporting by Michael. Photos by Michael and Janet.