3 Days In The Wilderness - Doi Wiang Pha Mountain

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by ianyonok, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Dec 9, 2008
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    After many years of riding around the north and looking at the majestic mountains, I had acquired a growing desire to climb up to the top of some of them. After a night camping at the HQ of the Doi Wiang Pha National Park, I talked with a guide, Khun Tiang, who told me I could do the 3 hike to the top of the mountain. Fantastic.... so I spent the next month or so, acquiring more kit; a new backpack, modern lightweight hiking boots, water bladder and more. This was to be quite a personal test, if I could manage it..... being a old bugger...

    This worked OK for the ride to Chai Prakarn. The rucksack straps are loosened so the weight is resting on the back of the seat.
    2016-11-26 11.02.05.
    Hiking clothes. I should really have had a long sleeved shirt but the short sleeved dryfit shirt was nice and cool.
    2016-11-26 14.39.03.
    I took a bumbag for essentials and easy to get items with the pack on.
    2016-11-26 14.39.22.
    Fully loaded and weighing about 12kgs, with all I need for 3 days in the wilderness, including food for 6 meals and 2 litres of drinking water. Osprey Kestrel 48 (48ltr capacity). It turned out to be very comfortable.
    2016-11-26 14.45.04.
    2016-11-26 14.45.25.
    The contents of the pack; including a Hennessy hammock in its snakeskins, SeatoSummit down sleeping bag and inflatable mattress, Sawyer mini water filter & leech socks, firesteel and more. 2016-11-26 15.06.11.

    While out for dinner I met up with Roger, who lives in Chai Prakarn and he showed me his bamboo bicycle..... marvellous...... all bamboo tubes!
    2016-11-26 18.21.16.
    Next morning I rode down to the park HQ, to meet Khun Tiang.
    2016-11-27 08.38.02.
    It turned out I was joining a whole team of rangers. We jumped into a 4WD for a 2 hour drive, first down the 107 a bit further, then the 1346 Phrao road, before turning off to a Lahu village where we checked in with the Phu Yai Bahn, somewhere to the south of the mountain.
    2016-11-27 09.38.52.
    2016-11-27 09.47.14.
    After a rough dirt road ride, we arrived at the trailhead to start the hike up the Doi. There were some machine guns and shotguns with us, in case we met poachers.
    2016-11-27 09.47.15.
    It was at about this point I was wondering what I was getting into.....
    2016-11-27 11.27.40.
    After a short hike we stopped for lunch; sticky rice, Sai Uah and other northern foods, on a banana leaf picnic cloth.
    2016-11-27 11.27.41.
    Easy stuff to start with...
    2016-11-27 11.27.49.
    But it soon started getting much steeper.
    2016-11-27 11.27.53.
    I was there to try and learn some bushcraft too. This is a common plant I have seen in many areas and the crushed leaves can be used as an antiseptic.
    2016-11-27 11.28.14.
    Recognisable by the three spines in each leaf.
    2016-11-27 11.28.29.
    It was a cloudy day, so nice and cool for a jungle trek. This guy was carrying the veggies for dinner wrapped in newspaper.
    2016-11-27 11.29.05.
    Trekking poles unnecessary here, bamboo everywhere. I discovered 2 were good for ascending and one for descending.
    2016-11-27 12.58.36.
    Up into the drifting fog banks.
    2016-11-27 13.53.59.
    2016-11-27 13.54.00.
    The team were pointing out any special plants etc on the way. One guy was writing notes about plants as this was a study and filming trip too.
    2016-11-27 14.50.24.
    These tiny flowers are carniverous. Small insects get stuck on the sticky surface and get slowly dissolved......
    2016-11-27 16.20.03.
    Wildlife photography. Khun Tiang was a keen birdwatcher and we spotted a few special birds.
    2016-11-27 16.20.59.
    2016-11-27 16.32.38.
    Doi Wiang Pha mountain is granite with layers of quartz throughout. Also structurally fractured in many areas.
    2016-11-27 16.33.01.
    2016-11-27 16.33.16.
    This was evidence of a large wild boar. It had been rubbing mud off it's body on the tree and you can also see the marks of it's fangs.
    2016-11-27 16.34.39.
    These little tubes on the trees are made by sweat bees.
    2016-11-27 16.37.15.
    After an afternoon of some severely steep up and down hiking, we got set up at camp 1 at about 1500m.
    2016-11-27 16.47.19.
    Just before arrival at the campsite, we had gone to a mountain stream to refill fresh water bottles. I had also had a full wash in the stream although the rest of the team chickened out as the water was a little cool.....
    2016-11-27 16.48.01.
    2016-11-27 16.51.55.
    Dinner was probably better cooked than I recall from my old scout days....
    2016-11-27 16.52.55.

    Next morning, it was porridge for me..... easy to cook and nice and warming...
    2016-11-28 08.14.29.
    Drying my shirt out...
    2016-11-28 08.14.30. 2016-11-28 08.14.41.
    The full team; 6 Thai, 3 Karen, 1 Yao, 1 Englishman. Just before leaving camp 1. They all worked for the National Park, but with varying jobs. Some were guides and studying nature, while the guys with guns were from the anti-poaching unit.
    2016-11-28 08.14.42.
    These 3" long spiders were everywhere.
    2016-11-28 08.54.08.
    More uphill trekking, a little easier than the first day.
    2016-11-28 08.55.08.
    Flowers that you can eat; tasted pretty good to me....
    2016-11-28 09.08.24.
    2016-11-28 09.08.56. 2016-11-28 09.09.33.
    The Fang river starts at Doi Wiang Pha and flows in this valley below.
    2016-11-28 09.12.19.
    A simple Tung placed by local tribes people on a sacred rock, place of the spirits. 2016-11-28 09.21.59.
    It was about here, we found a simple old poachers hide. It had been there some time and clearly long since abandoned, but the guys ceremoniously smashed it all up.
    2016-11-28 09.23.39.
    These trees were on a ridge and had been blown down in a storm.
    2016-11-28 09.32.58.
    Footprint of a wild boar.
    2016-11-28 09.38.10. 2016-11-28 09.43.35.
    Forever Onward and Upward.......
    2016-11-28 10.24.46.
    Civet dung.
    2016-11-28 10.55.08.
    Mole hills.
    2016-11-28 11.01.48. 2016-11-28 11.02.07. 2016-11-28 11.07.39.
    Fresh civet dung...
    2016-11-28 11.11.23.

    2016-11-28 11.22.53. 2016-11-28 11.24.29.
    the 5,000 Baht rucksack versus the 5 Baht rucksack. Guess I'm a spoiled softie...
    2016-11-28 11.29.53.
    2016-11-28 11.38.46. 2016-11-28 11.41.45.
    Fox tracks
    2016-11-28 11.56.08.
    Nearly there.... Yeah right....
    2016-11-28 12.00.23. 2016-11-28 12.02.45.
    Lunch by the next water source; the last of my home made bread.
    2016-11-28 12.19.55.
    A small stream that will dry up in January. But the water was clean and cool to top up water bottles. 2016-11-28 12.47.43. 2016-11-28 12.51.49.
    Upward some more.....
    2016-11-28 12.52.40. 2016-11-28 12.54.47. 2016-11-28 12.54.59. 2016-11-28 12.57.02. 2016-11-28 13.00.49. 2016-11-28 13.02.35. 2016-11-28 13.08.31.
    Finally at about 14:00 on day 2, we had reached the summit at about 1826m, according to my phone GPS. Satisfaction....!
    2016-11-28 13.18.10-1.
    I strung my hammock right on the peak of the mountain... Fantastic.....!
    2016-11-28 13.30.21. 2016-11-28 17.05.40. 2016-11-28 17.05.59. 2016-11-28 17.26.21.
    Unfortunately, no views due to the fog. It was a steep drop-off 5m from my hammock... no hand rails, no 7-11s, no bathrooms, only nature...... except that we did get a phone signal unfortunately... an odd place to hear a phone ringing..... Cellphone being VHF line-of-sight, we were getting a signal from down in Chai Prakarn 30klms away.
    2016-11-28 17.26.36.
    It got cold quickly once we had stopped walking. I was wearing thermal pyjamas, socks, t-shirt and jumper in the sleeping bag with the hood on.
    2016-11-28 22.21.25. 2016-11-28 22.21.59.
    The fog opened occasionally to see the sun setting.
    Later in the evening the fog cleared and we could see the lights of Chai Prakaen and all the way to Fang, way down in the valley. What a great sight.
    2016-11-29 06.25.40.

    More to follow....

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  2. Goran Phuket

    Goran Phuket Ol'Timer

    Apr 2, 2008
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Jan 16, 2003
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    Awesome. GTR goes to a new level with Ian Yonok
    Glad you're still able to enjoy the wilds of North Thailand like that = jealous.

    These trees look real interesting

  4. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Jan 7, 2010
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    Ian - An outstanding report, packed with detailed & useful information. What a great opportunity, a culturally enriching experience, you had to climb with a mixed group of locals. Keep the great reports rolling.
  5. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Mar 30, 2010
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    Dr Livingstone I presume....

    Well done..

    What a great experience to have the rest of the National Park Team along with you.

    I really enjoy the bike rides with the locals and camping. They certainly enjoy themselves.

    Look forward to the rest of the report.

    Once again.. Well done mate..

  6. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Dec 9, 2008
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    Thanks Guys. It was indeed a marvellous trip. As no-one spoke English, it was a great test of my Thai and I learned a lot. In typical Thai style and the desire for mee kwan sook, there was a lot of laughter and joking going on a lot of the time, so everyone enjoyed the trip.

    Now, the hike down...
    06:30 or so in the morning after a chilly night
    2016-11-29 06.25.46.
    2016-11-29 06.26.17.
    10 deg C. and still foggy on the mountain, so unfortunately, no view of a sea of fog down below. Maybe it has to be colder to get that effect.
    2016-11-29 06.27.16.
    Glimpses of sunrise
    2016-11-29 07.02.48.
    2016-11-29 07.03.33.
    a little later..
    2016-11-29 07.03.34.
    2016-11-29 07.09.24.
    After breakfast, it was time to get down off the mountain.

    2016-11-29 08.59.16.
    2016-11-29 09.13.48.
    Day 1 had been steep downhills and uphills, about 3 hours hiking. Day 2 was steep and moderate uphill, about 4 hours hiking.
    Day 3 was going to be 2 hours of very steep and slow downhill, with a need for great care to avoid sliding or getting tripped up in creepers.
    2016-11-29 09.21.29. 2016-11-29 09.21.34.
    2016-11-29 09.23.02.
    2016-11-29 09.23.35. 2016-11-29 09.26.01. 2016-11-29 09.29.42. 2016-11-29 09.30.07. 2016-11-29 09.31.30. 2016-11-29 09.33.47.

    2016-11-29 09.35.37. 2016-11-29 09.38.17. 2016-11-29 09.39.36. 2016-11-29 09.39.43. 2016-11-29 09.39.56. 2016-11-29 09.42.07. 2016-11-29 09.45.13. 2016-11-29 09.48.09. 2016-11-29 09.57.23.
    2016-11-29 09.57.39. 2016-11-29 10.02.36.
    This wild cucumber was pretty tasty.... as cucumbers go... there was another tree with edible nuts, but after the guys had tasted them, they said the nuts were too old...
    2016-11-29 10.11.20.
    There was a trail, sort of.... 2016-11-29 10.25.42. 2016-11-29 10.25.54.
    Finally, we got to see the view down into the valley.
    2016-11-29 10.42.22. 2016-11-29 10.42.38.
    Chai Prakarn reservoir.
    2016-11-29 10.47.18.
    My legs were really starting to ache at this point with the relentless down hill. Back into the bamboo meant back down near a water source in a valley. About 250m before the bottom of the mountain, steps had been cut into the side of the steep sloping bank. Each step was becoming a bit painful.... 2016-11-29 11.02.59.
    2016-11-29 11.02.58.

    2016-11-29 11.07.18.
    Then we arrived at the bottom of the mountain to see a beautiful twin waterfall in a secluded valley.
    2016-11-29 11.11.26. 2016-11-29 11.11.30. 2016-11-29 11.13.22.
    A short walk further to a Lisau village to the waiting 4WD.
    2016-11-29 11.22.17.
    The mountain team all made it down with no accidents and everyone had had a great time.
    2016-11-29 11.27.18.
    The drive out was on an overgrown steep and rutted dirt road...
    2016-11-29 11.30.57. 2016-11-29 11.35.18. 2016-11-29 11.36.53. 2016-11-29 11.40.28. 2016-11-29 11.42.29.

    What a fantastic adventure and experience. An escape into the wilderness for a few days. I love riding bikes, but this was something a little different and immensely enjoyable too. Great to find a mountain with no buildings on the top. Unspoilt by man. Some wonderful sights, some great fun and a treasured memory....... now..... where is the next mountain......?
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  7. scotty007

    scotty007 Ol'Timer

    Feb 23, 2004
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    Nice one Ian, looked like quite an adventure!

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