30-Jan-2012 -- During a touring bike ride from Hanoi in Vietnam to Chiang Mai in Thailand in January 2012, I happened one day to be only a few kilometres from this CP in Laos. My travel buddy Bob Helleman and I had previously tried to reach 20N 102E but the terrain there only allowed us within 1.4km of the point. This CP was reached alone…….
I had come to Muang Sing on a side trip from Luang Namtha for a look, to check travel options for onward travel down the Mekong from Xian Kok and to reccy the confluence point at 21°N 101°E which is about 25km from MS. The look was taken, the options dismissed and so I took off for the CP by bicycle. The first 6km of road out of Muang Sing lulled me into thinking this would be easy....then the road surface changed from black & smooth to a rocky, dusty, lumpy goat track - not nice on a touring bike. After 20kms of slow bumpy riding the CP was off to my left. Taking a left turn at Baan Thad the road (which soon became a track) kept heading in the right direction. Chasing a CP out in the bush is a bit of lottery but this was a lottery I almost won.
The track I was on eventually led through a village then on towards some low hills. I had to leave the bike about 600m from the CP and continued walking along a newly cleared track and eventually arrived within 10m of the CP - almost like the track had been built to this point. The last 10m were a step too far as it was down a steep bamboo covered slope which I didn’t fancy risking on my own. So I took the obligatory photos, GPS fix and description for this website then backtrack to my bike taking more photos as I go. I send Bob an SMS boasting of success but am quickly deflated when he tells me the CP has already been visited - ah well it was a good adventure.
The countryside had changed since the original visit by Momo Aly and was obviously being cleared for agriculture - I wondered if being so close to the border whether Chinese money was involved.
Well done to Momo Aly for reaching the point 3 years earlier – it must have been far tougher then before the track was cut and the land cleared for farming.