26-Mar-2011 -- We left Chiangmai around 7.30 a.m.. The reports of the first visitors were very useful, but as we came into to the area from the North I am not sure we found the same lanes off road No. 1268. From the village Ban Na Khum we headed in towards the confluence point. The first lane ended up by a lake/reservoir where a soldier had lined up about ten fishing rods. He told us about a road heading further west through an agricultural area. That brought us to a point about 2.5 km from the c.p.. We continued walking on the track which was no longer suitable for our Toyota Vios. We then lost the track and just followed the GPS.
In the forest we met a forest warden who told us about another track, a bit to the North of where we were going. About 1 km from the c.p. we lost that track too, followed the GPS up a steep field, through some dense bamboo forest, up a ridge covered by big stones and rocks. With a bit of imagination we could believe it was the remains of an imperial road. From there on we had a rather steep decent towards the confluence point. The first kilometer from the car took only half an hour, the remaining one and a half kilometer took close to two and a half hours. At the actual destination it turned out to be very difficult to get a good reading on the GPS.
We had a quiet bite and headed up the dry stream just below the c.p. in the hope that that would provide an easier return to our starting point. But that was not the case, and we sought back to the route we had come towards the c.p.
Like the week before (N19E98) it was getting dark when we were returning to the car. But this time we had a headlamp and a torch. As it was difficult to walk in the rough terrain in the dark, we used only the headlamp to begin with. We would not risk running out of power. We followed the GPS plotting and recognized stones and trees on our return, following the route closely. The speed was slow, we drank lots of water and the return took us almost four hours through rough terrain and vegetation with lots of thorny bushes we could not distinguish in the dark. Hands, arms and bodies were ripped and hungry insects surrounded us. But we noted no tigers or ghosts which, according to Peh, might have followed us in the dark.....
It was not as bad as it sounds. Peh knows these forests, she picked out wild fruits, berries, herbs and other interesting items, red ants' eggs that are used in curries etc. etc.
I could never have done this c.p. visit without a guide like Peh. She reads maps and seems to become interested in the concept of going to confluence points. On the way out of the area towards a hotel of some kind, she took over the driving, I dozed off and only woke up when she parked outside a guest house along the road 1047 where we just before midnight had to wake up the owners to get a couple of rooms. There was no food available, but a good traditional bathroom with a water container and a dipper. A bath and then some rest! I fell asleep immediately, but woke up a few hours later realizing I was not alone in the bed but sharing it with lots of fleas or others bugs. But then, what can you expect when you pay 200 baht (6 -7 USD) for the room. Some tiger balm kept the beast away for the rest of the night.
We had talked about going to a cp near Sukhothai, the old 13th century capital of Thailand, but settled for a quiet return to Chiangmai instead.