Posts with Lots of Photos

This category is for posts with lots of photos – hike descriptions or reports. Please again do not include a post in this category if the pictures have been attached to another post already.

Trip Report : Sunday 30 January 2011, “Dtaat Mook Thahan Waterfall”.

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The service of two hikes on the same day, brought us with a varied company by the Huay Tung Tao Lake for an easy walk up to the Tard Mork Waterfall.

There was Brian, our leader; Andy, also a “Hash” runner; Linda, the Thai lady from Chiang Mai; two lovely girls, Ishani and Indai, 2 and 4 years young (!) with their mother, Heither and Ans.

The forest trail brought us to a river bed; we crossed it and followed the way up along the stream; a good path, sometimes slippery rocks through a mostly moist forest. Banana trees at the base; and above us the water is really falling!! Time to enjoy, after a 3.3 km. climb, which we did in 1 hour and 45 min., the freshness and sound of falling water, some flowering shrubs and our snacks. Down on the same trail until we can use the bamboo bridge to pass over the stream. Away from the water, we went down in the forest, which is dry with other vegetation: mostly deciduous trees and grass. On a fork junction, Brian chooses to try the trail on the right hand side to go further down. This trail, following the little irrigation canals, was still marked from a last Hash run, so easy to find. From here we had several very nice views over Huay Tung Tao lake and the area of Mae Rim/Mae Jo!!

A descent of 3.9 km in 1 hour an 37 minutes brought us back to where we started the walk. And the “high five” was for the 2 youngsters.
Reported by Ans

Pics from the Hike

Trip Report : Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th of January 2011 Chiang Dao Camping Trip

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Around 18 of us had a wonderful trip to the peak of Chiang Dao, the third highest mountain in Thailand. Most of us stayed the night before at Malee’s Nature Bungalow’s in Chiang Dao the night before. We had a lovely buffet dinner the night before and left early the next day to hike to the our camp ground near the peak of Chiang Dao.

Thanks!

A big thanks to Dorothy and to Kurt and Malee at Malee’s Nature Bungalows for all their hard work organizing this fun trip!

Pics of Our Departure from Malee’s in the Morning and the Start of Our Hike Up to the Peak

More Pics of Our Ascent and Our Camp

Pics of Our Trip to the Peak

More Pics of Our Camp in the Morning and Pics of Descent and Our Destination Den Ya Kot

Dog Rescue Story : Abused Dog Near to Starvation Found on Trip to Peak of Doi Pui

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by Deborah
On a Thursday hike to Doi Pui in December Jamie and I were struck by the misery of a female dog in the Hmong village, tied up to a post 24 hours a day for months, near to starvation and nursing 3 pups. Poorly looking and emaciated we wondered how she could provide nourishment for her pups. Thanks to Deng, we were able to talk to the owners and negotiate for her to be taken to the vet’s. However we realized that we would have to wait until the pups were weaned. On Thursday 13th January Jamie returned to confirm the pups were no longer nursing and that we could come and take her on Sunday 16th. The reason they gave for tying her up was that she had chased chickens. She was 2 years old. Whilst hiking the name Angel came to me and although for a while she was Charlie (Jamie’s choice) he decided he preferred Angel. During the hiking group’s lunch break I collected 1330 baht from generous hikers and we put this towards the cost of her hospital care. (more…)

Trip Report : 28 November 2010, “Mystery Hike to End of the Trail”

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“NOT LOST IN THE JUNGLE;” Leader and group fattened up after snacks at end of “Trail to Nowhere.”

A healthy 21 people showed up Sunday to check out “old guy” Joe, the founder of Chiang Mai hiking group, and come along to see how mysterious a “mystery hike” would be. Among the 21 were fellow old timers Janet Greenleaf and John and Maggie Coaton, who participated in this hike when last done in 2006.

Hike leader Joe was pleased not only at the good number of people showing up, but with the overall physical condition and attitude of the group. People marched briskly up a steep, rutted jeep track, in the blazing sun leaving Joe in a soggy pool of sweat, “challenged” to keep up, then they waited obediently at each and every junction, as requested.

Once we left the main route, then, the secondary junction, turning off on a dirt track through a Thai farm, some local workers called out in concern (in Thai) fearing that we were “lost” – just as they did back in 2006! (Why else would a whole gaggle of farangs be marching along a path which did not go anywhere?)

This path continued, overlooking an increasingly lush valley, with no buildings in site, as the trail became increasingly more narrow and overgrown. And then…. it stopped. The “trail to nowhere” ended In the middle of a hillside lychee orchard. Some of us took our snack break in shade on a decrepit, quite filthy wooden platform, apparently rarely used for respite by the farm laborers. Others squatted in the grass in the shade of lychee trees.

Alas, Janet had other obligations requiring that she miss the lakeside lunch at Huay Tung Thao reservoir/resort area, and John and Maggie, as her drivers, also left early to accommodate her needs, as did a couple of others, but most of the rest of us reclined over lunch in the shade of a waterfront platform, afterwards. There seemed to be a consensus that any slog in the heat could be justified, as long as a cold Chang (or Fanta) be available to hold up and slosh down, at the end of it.

And Joe, sporting a bigger belly than when last seen wandering these hills in ’06, learned in this 2010 adventure to be sure not to stand sideways, when the camera was pointed his way!

Photo Credits: Andy Weysham

“”Shake it up baby – work it on out!” … up hill, in the sun….


“up the hill, in the sun…”

“relief at the top of the hill!”

“the trail levels off, gets narrower”

view across valley

farming up the hillside

“There’s people in them Lychee trees!”

snacks in grass and on the platform at end of the trail

Thanks for bringing your camera Andy, and sending in the pictures!

stupa2

Thursday 16th of December, Hike Up Doi Langka Noi

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This will be a steep hike ascending from 1177m to 1737m, a total ascent of 560m in 3.12 km. The path is quite narrow at times with a steep drop off to one side and there is tall grass and plants crowding the path. There is also a quite scary very steep last 100 m of the path before the peak that switches back and forth up the side of the mountain between rocks we will have to be very careful here and this section of the trail makes this hike unsuitable for anyone with vertigo or balance problems. A good level of fitness is also required for this hike.

The peak of Doi Langka Noi and the view from it are spectacular as is the walk up to the peak up a ridge of the mountain. We will walk up to the peak and then come back down the same way a total distance of more than 6km. I expect it will take us around 3 hours to get up there and 2.5 hours down and we will hang out on the plateau at the top, have a nice lunch and explore for around an hour. So this will be a 6.5 hour trip.

I really love this area which I have been exploring a lot over the last few weeks since I discovered it. We will be able to see in the distance 2044 m Doi Langka Luang, the big daddy of Doi Langka Noi which is around the 6th highest peak in Thailand. (more…)

Trip Report : Pics of 21st of November Loop Past Buddha’s Foot Print

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Below you will see pics of our recent trip round the Buddha foot print loop. Here is the original description of this hike Sunday 21st of November (Loi Khratong Weekend), Hike to ‘Buddha’s Foot Print’, Around to Chiang Mai University Agricultural Research Center (site B).

We had our new Garmin Oregon 450 GPS unit along for the first time on this trip. Members of the group chipped in and bought the device between them. One of our members who has not used a GPS before and has never done this hike before successfully led the hike with the aid of our new device which had the trail loaded onto it.

Pictures of Hike

Group of elite hikers who did the 14km Buddha's footprint loop

Group of elite hikers who did the 14km Buddha's footprint loop


stupa6

Trip Report : Saturday 23rd of October Triumphant Ascent of Doi Langka (Noi)

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Wow!! Yesterday I went to check out whether I could find a pathway to ascend Doi Langka. Doi Langka is a 2004 meter high mountain in the mountain range on the Doi Saket side of town. I didn’t make it all the way up Doi Langka but managed to make it to the top of Doi Langka Noi (1740 m). The scenery was spectacular with mountains and relatively unspoilt forest all around us for the whole trip. (more…)

Trip Report: Sun. Sept. 26, 2010 Hike from Ban Doi Pui Unmanned Chkpt to Wat Doi Suthep

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On this hike we passed through three parts of Doi Pui/Doi Suthep: hill evergreen forest, “developed” areas (the Hmong village, the National Park headquarters and the coffee plantation) and then from around the 5-way junction down to Wat Doi Suthep, we passed through evergreen deciduous forest, where some (but not all) of the trees lose their leaves during the Thai summer.   

The first half of the hike was fairly high up, from about 1400 meters down to about 1200 meters. This is a relatively cool part of the mountain where many plants grow (or are grown) that are familiar to people from Northern latitudes. And there are also tropical highland plants that need cooler highland temperatures (like coffee).   

Developed Areas:    

At the Doi Pui National Park headquarters, around the CMU Coffee farm and Baan Khun Chang Kian village there were a number of interesting species introduced species.     

CMU Coffee Plantation

CMU Coffee Plantation

Besides the many coffee trees, there were a number of Persimmon trees (Dispyros kaki) along the trail at the coffee farm. Although D. kaki is native to NE Asia, it is one of many temperate fruit trees grow in Thailand at higher elevations. Dispyros is a genus with about 500 species found in both the New and Old Worlds. About a dozen of these have edible fruits. These trees are in the ebony family (Ebenaceae) and so many are also well known and valued for their hard wood. 

The Hmong Village also had a couple of “exotic” conifers. One was the Himalayan Cypress, Cupressus tortulosa. The Himalayan Cypress, is generally found at higher elevations of 1800-3000 meters in the Himalaya mountains from Pakistan to Bhutan and Southern China. In Thailand, it has been introduced into lower areas and can be seen at various locations on Doi Suthep/Doi Pui. It’s easy to spot from its scaly needles and small, hard round scale-covered fruits.   

Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pine

The other conifer we saw at the Hmong village was the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla). There are 13 Araucaria species found around the Pacific in Australia and South America, and a few Pacific islands. The best stands of Araucaria are in Patagonia, where they must have been for quite a while, since you can buy fossil Araucaria cones on the Internet from the Jurassic (there’s a nice one for sale at Christie’s for about 3000 Euros).      

The Norfolk Island Pine, is, of course, native to Norfolk Island, which lies between New Zealand and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. This pine is the most famous thing about Norfolk Island (it’s even on the N.I. flag). After their discovery in the late 18th century by Captain Cook, it was hoped their tall, straight trunks could be used in shipbuilding as a replacement for oaks from the former American colonies, but their wood turned out to be too soft for making masts.   

Datura flowers

Datura flowers

Chinese hat flowers

Chinese hat flowers

There were also some nice flowers planted in the village such as orange Datura and red Chinese Hat flowers.   

Hill Evergreen Forest   

Back to the forest: Through much of the higher elevation forest on the hike, on the way to the Hmong village, and around the 5-way junction we passed through forest in which oaks and sometimes pines were fairly common.  For example, we saw a lot of chestnuts (another oak family member) on the ground, which are little balls of needles (Castanopsis armata  and C. tribuloides). The Thais eat these (Mark Crittenden says they’re worth 300B/kilo) and sometimes you can see piles of the needle-covered husks where they have been gathered and shelled. Sometimes we saw acorns from another very local oak species, Lithocarpus sootepensis, whose acorns grown in a clump of 8 or 10 in a row (see fruit basket photo below).  Finally, there is a tall pine tree, Pinus kesiya, called “Son Sam Bai” in Thai (สนสามใบ), meaning 3-needle pine. This species is native to Northern Thailand and fairly common in the hill evergreen forest on top of Doi Pui.    

Another tree species whose fruits we saw a lot of is Schima wallichii, which is a member of the Tea family (Thecaceae). Although it needs some moisture, S. wallichii is found at all elevations on Doi Pui/Doi Suthep. It’s small, round, woody fruits that have a five-way split in the middle are easily recognizable (sometimes you find one with a six-way split, as I did, there’s one in the fruit basket).   

Cyathea chinensis (tree fern)

Cyathea chinensis (tree fern)

We saw two other native hill evergreen species planted together next to the Park headquarters building. First, there was the small tree fern, Cyathea chinensis. They are native to northern Thailand, but that one was planted. Though generally tropical, tree ferns grow in cool, moist highland environments (some grow in New Zealand and other temperate locations, too). While C. chinensis doesn’t get very big (about 4 m), other Cyathea species really are tree-sized, growing up to about 20 meters in height. And although the genus Cyathea “only” goes back about 150 million years to the age of the dinosaurs, tree ferns are very old, dating to the Carboniferious, over 300 million years ago, long before mammals and birds and flowering plants (and so most of the insects we see today) existed. 

Rhododendron lyi

Rhododendron

Planted right next to the tree fern was a pink flowered variety of Rhododendron lyi, which is a shrub native of Northern Thailand. For me, seeing species like Rhodendrons, Oaks, Chestnuts, and Pines is a bit like going on a trip home to Oregon (Douglas Firs would be needed to complete the feeling).    

Mixed Deciduous Forest

On the last leg of the hike, not long after the 5-way junction and until the end of the hike at Wat Doi Suthep, we hiked down a gentle slope from about 1200 meters to about 1000 meters in elevation. At this elevation, the forest changed to an evergreen deciduous forest, meaning it’s a mixture of some of the deciduous dipterocarp species (which lose their leaves in the hot season) and warm climate evergreen species that keep their leaves year round.

One species we saw at both the start of the hike and in the evergreen deciduous forest was Manglietia garrettii, a kind of magnolia, whose pointed, pinecone-like fruits we saw on the ground. When Ans Scholten asked me about this, I guessed it was a kind of custard apple (perhaps better called “dinosaur apples”). Though wrong, this turned out to be close, since custard apples (in Annonaceae), are close relatives of magnolias. Magnolias and dinosaur apples are both in the “Magnolid clade” of early flowering plants. And like the Araucaria, they date back to the Jurassic. In fact, their pinecone-like fruits are considered a primitive trait showing the relatedness of the magnolids to pines, cycads and other gymnosperms.

Dry Fruits from Hike

Dry Fruits from Hike

I also came across a few of the strange, 5-sided fruits of Pterospermum grandiflorum as well as the small round fruits with one or two small bumps on top of Sapindus rarak, which is in Sapindaceae, the family the includes Rambutan, Lychee and Longan [fruit basket]. Oh, before I finished with the trees, this hike passes a magnificent Ficus altissima tree, a kind of strangler fig, in the evergreen deciduous forest.

Ficus altissima (strangler fig)

Ficus altissima (strangler fig)

Ground vegetation

As always, we saw many flowering gingers. On this hike I saw, many examples of Globba wintii,  with its small yellow flowers, and a white-flowered Hedychium or ginger lily early in the hike, and a red club ginger near the end of the hike (Zingiber sp., though not sure which one).  At both the beginning and end of the hike we also saw pink Impatiens flowers. Impatiens are not gingers, but they are very commonly seen on our hikes.

Other ground cover plants included the very primitive, but fairly common spikemoss (Selaginella, it’s not a moss, just called that), and a number of monocots including wild taro (Colocasia esculenta),  Centotheca lappacea, a very bamboo-like grassy ground cover, and a clump of Bulbophyllum bulbs, a kind of orchid (but they weren’t flowering).

Colocasia esculenta (wild taro)

Colocasia esculenta (wild taro)

Animals.

We didn’t see many animals. There were a fair number of butterflies such as the Common Rose and Great Eggfly. At one point in the hike, there were a pair of easy to photograph Red lacewing butterflies (Cethosia biblis), that were very intent on sopping up some mineral rich moisture in the trail.

Red lacewing

Red lacewing

We also passed a dead McClelland’s coral snake (also easy to photograph!), a non-venomous species with a beautiful dark red color and thin black rings.  

McClelland's Coral Snake (non-venomous)

McClelland's Coral Snake (non-venomous)

The hike ended at Wat Doi Suthep, where we were rushed into song taews and headed back to the Arboretum. It turns out that downhill leg of the song taew ride from Wat Doi Suthep to the Zoo, serves as a reasonable Thai substitute for Formula One racing. We did all arrived more or less safely at our destination, with the except of the guy sitting next to me who lost his lunch… 

-gene mesher  6/10/2010 (genemesher@yahoo.com)

Photo 12. IMG_6911 Polythura eudamippus -Great Nawab

Trip Report : Sunday 12th of September Walk to Fishing Lake Above Baan Mae Ha Via Dtaat Krok Waterfalls

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The Hike

The Sunday, September 12th hike went to the Dtaat Krok Waterfall and then up to a small lake. The start of the hike was on the southern part of the Samoeng loop, about halfway between the turnoff from the Canal road and the turnoff to Samoeng. There wasn’t much elevation gain on the hike, starting at 470 meters and ending at the lake at 627 meters. We mostly followed an old road cut, which leads up to the lake.

During the first part of the hike, we turned off the road cut and dropped down to the stream and waterfall. Krok means grinding bowl, which refers to the waterfall pool’s shape. The riverine habitat includes many species that require high moisture levels such as ferns, as well as gingers and beans, a few of which were flowering.

After this, we followed the road cut up to the lake, where we had a nice break for lunch along the edge of the lake. There were some interesting plants and invertebrates around the lake (described below). After lunch we walked around the lake and then back down the road cut. The total hike length was a fairly level 10 kilometers, one of the easiest hikes we’ve had for some time. We returned around 2 p.m.

There was quite a large turnout for the hike, 23 people, from about 10 different countries, including a Belgian “from everywhere”, quite a few Germans, 1 and ½ from Thailand, several from the United Kingdom which I’ve been told is not a country but a state, plus one person from another state, Louisiana, and a Korean cook who told me about the wonders of kimchi.

The Forest

(N.B., after a year studying the forest, I’m still learning, so some of my identifications aren’t always right, though usually pretty close).

Although often we pass through more than one forest type because of the small elevation gain on this trip, the hike stayed in a single forest type. Though on the ‘wet side’ of Doi Pui, the forest we saw was a disturbed lowland secondary growth forest, typical of what we see around Chiang Mai. Most trees were about 5-8 meters in height (15-25’) and had a girth of about a foot or less. My guess is that this forest is about 20-25 years old.

Dipterocarp seeds - as with any picture on this site click to enlarge

This type of forest is characterized by dipterocarp species, the most common species of which is Dipterocarpus obtusifolius, which has round, slightly flattened seeds. The dipterocarp family includes about 500 species, almost all of which are found here in Southeast Asia. The name means ‘two-winged seed’ in Latin and they are named for the modified leaves that help the seed to glide to the ground. We saw a lot of these seeds on the trail. There was some bamboo, which grows very fast, so it’s common in disturbed forests.

Quercus kerrii

We also saw oak trees, esp. Quercus kerrii. There are about 700 species of oaks worldwide, so no, these are not the oaks that grow in England. There are about 50 species of oaks (including the chestnuts, which are in the same family) in Northern Thailand growing at pretty much all elevations and almost all forest habitats.

We also saw a couple of Casuarina trees growing on the far side of the lake. This is an introduced species. Casuarina equisetifolia trees look like pines, with needle shaped leaves and even have small, pinecone like fruits, but are actually a flowering plant species. Although native to Australasia, this is a coastal species not originally from Northern Thailand. It’s planted in many places because it is salt tolerant, can grow in sandy soils and prevents erosion.

Ground Cover

I saw many interesting plants during the hike, mostly ground cover. I didn’t notice many epiphytes, climbers or lianas, but there were some in the moister areas we hiked through, such as the “sea bean” species, Entada rheedii, whose large, shiny brown beans could be seen on the ground near the lake.

Costus speciosus -Crape ginger

As always, there were a number of wild ginger species, such as the Crape ginger, Costus speciosus, which grows in a spiral to a height of over a meter and has a large white flowers. Another flowering ginger was Boesenbergia larsenii, which has a pink and white bell-shaped flower that grows close to the ground.

Boesenbergia larsenii with Selaginella wildenovii

We also saw many of Globba gingers, with their small yellow flowers, including Globba schumburghkiii and Globba wintii. These grow to about half a meter.

Impatiens flower


I saw a couple of other flowers near the stream, which I think were Impatiens (the small purple ones) and white Thunbergia fragrans and the purple Thunbergia laurifolia flowers.

Thubergia fragrans sweet clock-vine

Ferns

I’ve been trying to understand the ferns and fern allies for the last few months. On this hike, there were lots of Maidenhair ferns (genus Adiantum) whose leaflets are more or less rectangular and connected by black midribs and stalks. Another kind of fern I saw a lot of were what could be called “hand ferns” (Lygodium), whose fronds look more or less hand-shaped, and grow in pairs.

Lygodium and Adiantum ferns

Along with the ferns, there are some fern allies that we see hiking. The most common is Selaginella. These go by the common name “spikemosses”. In spite of the name, they are not mosses and are easily mistaken for ferns. One species that is very common is Selaginella willdenovii. This species usually grows flat along the ground and is often is easily identified because the younger fronds are blue-colored.

Lycopodium clavatum - Clubmoss

We also saw a cousin of Selaginella growing by the lake edge; the “clubmoss” Lycopodium clavatum (also not a moss). This species is sometimes called “ground pine” and looks a bit like a Norfolk pine. It is found naturally all over the world. Lepidodendron, a fossil clubmoss, were the dominant trees in Carboniferous forests, about 300 million years ago, along with tree ferns and tree-sized horsetail ferns. They grew to about 30 meters in height.

Animals

I missed the turnoff to the waterfall. While I was standing around waiting for the rest of the group to return, a family of White-crested laughing thrushes flew through the forest nearby. These noisy birds are communal breeders and are seen in groups of a half dozen or so. They have a pleasant call and handsome colors, with chestnut brown below, white above with a crest and a black beak and eye stripe. They are pretty common in the lower forest elevations, although you can hear them more often than you can see them.

We saw a lot of insects on the hike, including grasshoppers, butterflies.

Horned Shield Bug

Perhaps the most interesting ones were the bugs (Order Hemiptera). On the trail we came across an adult Horned Shield bug, Amissus testaceus, which I incorrectly identified as it’s cousin, the Lychee stink bug. Too bad, because I couldn’t find much on the Horned Shield bug.

Scale insects

Mark Crittenden pointed out some scale insects (Superfamily Coccoidea) on the underside of a plant growing next to the lake. These insects look rather like plant “barnacles”, they have a covering for protection and camouflage that makes them look very uninsect-like and they generally stay in one spot sucking out the juices of the plants they are on. Scale insects are a big group with about 8000 species worldwide and the source of many interesting natural products such as Shellac, the red Cochineal dye. Many are also crop pests. The ones we saw were sort of furry and white and about 3/8” in diameter (6-8 mm).

Junonia lemonias - Lemon Pansy

The butterflies we saw included the medium-sized Lemon Pansy, Junonia lemonias, which is brown and white with three pairs of orange and black eyespots. This is perhaps the most common butterfly we see hiking. We also saw some the Pierid (“yellows and whites” family) butterfly, called a Grass Yellow.

A number of butterflies at the lake landed on our bodies and tried to suck off the sweat, which is high in salt, including a “Great Nawab” (Polyura eudamippus), and the small Ciliate Blue (Anthene emolus), whose larvae are attended to by weaver ants.

Polyura eudamippus -Great Nawab attracted to the sweat on one hikers forehead


Ciliate blue (Anthene emolus) on sandwich


We also an adult female spider, Nephila maculata (aka Nephila pilipes) at the lake. This is a species we commonly see on our hikes, but to me a pretty amazing one. The females are quite large, about 6” across (legtip to legtip). They are “orb weavers”, among the largest in the world, and weave a web that is generally well over a meter in diameter. The trip lines of these webs are very strong. While we were examining it, Mark described it as almost “like fishing line”. This species is sexually dimorphic, but unlike mammals and birds where the mammals are usually the large sex, in spiders, it’s the females. Female N. maculata are more than 5 times as large the males. In human terms, that would be like pairing with a woman who was about 10 meters tall.

Nephila maculata female

Author : Gene Mesher, Chiang Mai, Sept. 13, 2010

Dtaat Krok Falls

Sunday 12th of September Walk to Fishing Lake Above Baan Mae Ha Via Dtaat Krok Waterfalls

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This will be a sedately paced hike covering just less than 9km in 4/5 hours. We will visit various stages of the Dtaat Krok waterfall on the way up to a peaceful little fishing lake where we may be able to have a swim. (more…)

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