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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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2020/09/27_Report_Buddha Footprint dual hike

19 or 20 people participated in this hike; it was hard to count because we were never all together. While most of us arrived for the start in Ban Hmong Doi Pui, one unlucky carload carried on up to Ban Khun Chang Khian. It’s members therefore started hiking more than half an hour later than the rest of us. These, by the way, were people who have taken part in literally hundreds of Sunday Chiang Mai Hikes and have been up down the mountain scores of times. It’s worth mentioning because we also enjoyed the company of five people who were joining the Sunday hike for the first time.

Roughly equal numbers of hikers chose the tougher and the easier option. Both groups left the village through the flower park gateway, enjoying the perfect weather conditions and with pristinely clear air.

Cloud strata and either a nearby insect or a distant dragon

The less athletic group headed directly toward the Buddha Footprint, reaching it in about two hours. At this moment, the ridge on which we stood seemed to be valiantly holding back a sea of cloud from the north. We were just in time to catch a good panorama from the viewing platform while we ate our sandwiches.

Immediately on departing for the return walk, the non-athletes encountered the misguided folks who had started late. And not long after that, we came upon some of the quicker hikers of the quicker group.

The quicker group – i.e. those who opted for the longer and more vertically challenging hike – had descended easily down the road from the village towards the Somung Loop road. At the insistence of one of the more veteran CM Hiking members we took an early turn off the road to cut across to the trail. This made the hike somewhat shorter and also reduced the elevation climb from the advertised figures.

As this was a clear trail with no intersections we could go all at our own pace to the junction where we managed to meet up with the shorter hike option participants on their way down from the Footprint. Most of our group continued up to the summit before returning to the village.

 

By now the cloud was spilling over the ridge

On the last leg, the quicker of the quick overtook most of the less-athletic group. But the slower of the quick did not. So we were all pleasantly jumbled on arrival. And we stayed that way because, while some wanted to eat the excellent Kau Soi in the Muslim restaurant, others felt unable to face post-hike existence without a cold beer. A few managed to do both (consecutively). It seems a good time was had by all.

Buddha footprint

For the longer hike: Total distance was just under 14km with 900m elevation.

For the shorter hike:

Total distance was 9.5km and elevation recorded (surprisingly?) as 737m.

Hike leadership and reporting by David and Michael. Photos by Champ, Bussakorn and Michael.

 

2020/09/06_Report_King Cobra Trail Up to the Palace

Hiker turnout, before the two groups separated (see also the next post)

Fourteen brave (or foolish!) hikers opted for the more challenging option of going up to Bhuping Palace for a well earned lunch and refreshments.

Starting on the exposed and rocky Last Man Standing trail we ventured onto the King Cobra Trail. This then gradually descended to a stream crossing causing us to lose over 100m of our hard earned elevation. The trail was soft underfoot and much more shaded but then turned into a gentle but relentless uphill climb to the Bamboo Trail. At this junction we followed two cut through trails running parallel to the road all the way to the Monks View Point.


Whilst still on LMS Trail one of our hikers decided that he was unable to maintain the group pace and due language barriers we understood that he was heading back down (indicating that he was able and happy to do so). Much to our surprise when leaving Bhuping Palace we came across him at another eatery! So he now rejoined us for the descent but was now suitably refuelled and charged off not to be seen again until the end! He had continued solo up the shorter but more gruelling LMS Trail to the Palace.


So we reached our target on time at 12 o’clock and spent and hour enjoying a vast array of delicacies and drinks. From here I was not looking forward to the 1km (uphill climb) on the busy main road to the start of the LMS Trail. Fortunately Richard came to the rescue and offered an amazing interesting shortcut!



There were many variations on the distance and elevation figures from the various participants devices but I think it was pretty much as advertised at just over 17km with some extra elevation over the 1,000m and timing spot on at 7:30 hours.

Most of the group participated in further well deserved post hike treats at ChamCha@DoiKam Cafe.

Thanks to Othmar and Haley for the pictures.

Hike leadership and reporting by David

2020/09/06_Report_on search for Crying Dogs

Out of the 19 hikers that assembled at the start point, five chose the easier alternative: an attempt to visit the Crying Dogs waterfall and ravine. We set out with the main group but soon found their pace too hot for us, and settled into a more casual rhythm. Looking for the turnoff from the Last Man Standing trail, we chose a path that brought us to a pleasant stream crossing place, where we had a short break. We were unsure whether this place was upsteam or downstream from the Crying Dogs area. Rather than retracing our path at this point, we decided to explore by crossing the stream and climbing the hill on the north-east side. In this way we discovered a helipad, but saw that we would have to climb a lot more if we were to make a loop. So we did then retrace.

When we were almost back at the LMS trail, we saw another path alternative and – bonanza! – arrived at our Eldorado.

As usual there were no crying dogs: the place was inhabited mainly by red ants and a lovely golden butterfly.

Photo by Janet

With a feeling of accomplishment we returned, crossing the stream again a little lower down, and taking the much-degraded vehicle tracks back to the former Valley Cafe, and then tramping the lanes a little to get back to Chamcha, where we enjoyed our refreshments and conversation.

Recorded distance was less than 6km, but it felt more because of various hesitations and the pathless climb up the hot helipad hill and back. We got back to Chamcha three and a half hours after setting off.

Hike leadership and reporting by Michael. Photos by Michael and Janet.

 

2020/06/16_Report_Doi Lanka Noi

Thick cloud, the start of the school year and a long drive combined to deter all but the most dedicated.

We started out through the coffee orchard. A rainy-season growth-spurt in grasses had hidden the start of the path onto the ridge, so we made two false starts along wrong paths before discovering the secret entrance to our adventure.

The long hard climb onto the ridge was punctuated by a hiking-pole accident. (Lesson: if the little round thing at the end of your pole gets stuck in a creeper behind you, don’t tug wildly at it without considering the person behind you.)

Surrounded by cloud, we enjoyed none of the usual views approaching the peak, and the final steep scramble up to the summit almost caught us by surprise.

At the summit, with the fabled grand view in the background

As we descended, though, the clouds were rising, and the outline of the peak could fleetingly be discerned.

The stream-crossings towards the end were a little more exciting than usual. No hope of keeping feet dry.

Despite high risk of leeches from the thicker vegetation at the end, nobody caught one. 

While we enjoyed our coffee, beer, crisps and noodle soup, the cafe owner noticed the picture of Doi Lanka Noi on our phone and asked us if it had been raining up there. No, we said. Chok dee, he said. Indeed.

Length:- 11.3km
Elevation Gain:- 911m
Total Time:- 5h 15m
Moving/Walking Time:- 3h 45m (or 4h 45m? – Ed)
 
Leadership by J. Reporting by M. Pictures by M and D.

 

 

 

 

2020/08/09_Report_Mae Khanin river hike

 


In spite of the ominous weather forecast some sixteen people turned up for this river/ridge hike.

It had been raining overnight and the dirt road was muddy in parts and the water level in the river crossings somewhat higher, but it did not prove any real obstacle and we reached the clearing in just under one hour.

The walk up and along the ridge was occasionally obstructed by falling trees but did not prove any major problem, and we had an early snack/lunch break in the clearing before the turnoff down to the river.

The stream crossings were a bit chewed-up by dirt bikers

Halfway along the river trail we came upon two ATV’s, one of which had broken down and was being towed by the other. It was later abandoned in the river, to be collected later. When we reached the clearing the weather forecast for once proved accurate and it started to rain, but thankfully it was light and short lived. We finished the hike in a good time of four hours and twenty minutes with most of the hikers retiring afterwards to the Canyon restaurant for food and refreshment.

Hike leadership and reporting by SRR. Photos by Michael and Bussakorn.

Amazing black flower. Photo by Bussakorn

2020/08/02_Report_Mae Wang Waterfall loop

In an exploratory ramble, as a shorter alternative to the main Ban Mae Sapok trip, three of us discovered a lovely little loop taking in the Mae Wang Waterfall.

After everyone had parked near Wat Tham Do Ton, our hike began with an impulsive decision to follow the main group across the paddies and over a bouncy cable-bridge in order to get a closer look at some still-furloughed and happily well-fed elephants. We then climbed up half a dozen tiers of flooded terraces where the new rice was coming up. Arriving at a track along the contour separating forest from farmland, we headed eastwards (whereas the main group had gone west). The view was delightful.

Before long we turned off this track, northwards down a slope to where more elephants were stuffing themselves, and across another bouncy cable-bridge so that we almost got back to the place where the cars were parked. In fact we hit the dirt track which is the continuation of the road we had driven on. It led after less than a kilometre to the waterfall park entrance.

This park is not highly-publicized at the best of times, and in this Covid year it appears almost abandoned. However, the steep and winding cement stairway down to the waterfall is fundamentally sound. At the bottom we crossed a rickety bridge and enjoyed the view.

 

On the other bank we found ourself in an idle camp resort.

A small Isaan family living nearby called us in a friendly way to visit the lovely sloping garden they are making, and to give further advice on our route options. The one of us who was experiencing after-effects of yoga overload promptly opted for the shortest way home: a choice which, to be fair, suited us all. While still ascending the south side of the little valley we passed a paddock where a mother buffalo was fiercely standing guard over her baby.

We reached the contour track taking us back toward the starting point. On the way along it we stopped to eat our packed lunches at an abandoned house that had a good view across the valley. Soon after that we arrived at our turn-off point for the second time (from the opposite direction) to go down past the busily-eating elephants and over the bouncy bridge and thence back to the cars.

Our total distance had been barely 6km. With many pauses to chat and enjoy the views had taken about three hours. This meant that we finished too early to make it worth trying to link up with the main group. We got in the car. The sky all morning had been overcast, but by the time we reached a cafe for our post-hike refreshments it had begun to emit specks of rain.

The specks had become a steady drizzle by the time we finished our meal, and gradually intensified on the drive into town, to become a real downpour, the sky getting so dark that the street lights came on. Fifteen hours later it is still raining…

Alternative hike leadership and reporting by Michael

 

2020/07/19_Report_Mon Jaem forest loop

Some 13 people turned up for this hike of three surprises. The first surprise was that we were unable to park at the designated parking spot and had to park in the lower cark park, which appeared to be hosting a market day with many stalls, cars and people. The second surprise was that the unsightly and evil smelling rubbish dump about 1km from the start of the trail has been removed, to everyone’s approval, and the third surprise was the excellent clear weather, which allowed superb views along the trail. Indeed at the main viewing point the vista was so pleasant that the hike leader momentarily regretted not bringing some wine and cancelling the hike in favour of a long lunch.

Nevertheless we ploughed on and finished the hike at a leisurely time of three and a half hours. Mercifully there has not been any significant development in this particular area, which will allow for future hikes. Unfortunately, the opposite ridge, however, with its multi white domed chalets, now looks like an umbrella laden beach in Spain.

After the hike most of the hikers stopped at the Between restaurant. Immediately after our arrival at the restaurant the PA system incongruously began playing 1970s lounge music. Although there were a number of suspects, none of the hikers admitted to requesting the music.

Brilliant purple berries

Hike leadership and reporting by SRR. Photos by Michael and Bussakorn

2020/07/05_Report_Ban Mae Sapok Waterfall Loop

A total of fifteen hikers, including some newcomers, turned up for this elephant camp hike. We were also accompanied by three canine volunteers from the meditation centre, who were rewarded with doggie treats and assorted titbits at the snack stops.

The new and improved bridge over the river, reinforced with steel wire and now less shaky, provided the location for the group photograph, but unfortunately there were no elephants in the outside enclosure so there was no feeding session. The initial path was somewhat overgrown but did not prove any real difficulty and the group made it up the hill and down to the “Rambo” beach in a good time of just over two hours. The water level was considerably higher than during our last visit and several hikers and one dog enjoyed a leisurely swim.

On the back loop along the river, with different walking speeds, the group became spread out but everyone made it back in a reasonably time of just over four hours. Unfortunately the “high tower” restaurant was not opened but the hike leader found another shop/restaurant a few kms further on with good food and service and, equally important, which served beer.

Elephants having a rest until tourism picks up again

Upstream bridge more rickety than ever

Nice house