Phuket High Trail Continued into 2009

Feb 16, 2009

Ah success.  Finally after 7 days of working to find a way around the big mountain with the big ball (Sip Song is what is called on Google Earth which means 15).   It is a radar station for the military so restricted. 
And I have now spent a lot of time on both sides of this mountain trying to find a suitable way around it without dropping all the way down to near sea level.
Today i finally made it.   On the west side where i went in from Patong and rejoined my route where the last entry ends.    

I continued on the road to the right going north past the junction where you can go down to Patong.   The road goes up steeply.  Since it is now dry season, the road wasn’t too bad and i could actually go up there with my motorbike.   Forget that in rainy season as the road is not only steep but full of deep ruts.

Follow the road, forever going higher until at last you come to where it forks off to just two trails going to different rubber tree shacks.    I continue on the one to the left, which goes between two shacks, turns right and then follow the path.   After about 300 metres, you come to a spring that has now been dug out and built up with cemented rocks.  The man was there today and i tried to tell him nice job and sometimes i drink the water there.  I don’t think he understood me though but felt it was a positive vibe coming from me. 

I turn right at this spring and ascend steeply up following paths thru the rubber trees where i can.   

I had been up here before and always got stuck at the end of the rubber trees and it just got too thick to get through.  

Eventuall, as before, i get stuck and today even dropped my GPS in the thick brush.  It took me about 30 minutes to find it.     Then i headed a bit south to a gully and on the other side is thick jungle and steep terrain.   I thought i have to give it a try as sometimes the real jungle isn’t as thick as the overgrown rubber trees.  

Sure enough i could get through although got tangled up in vines a lot.  They are very strong and you can’t break them.  You have to climb your way out of them.    My new machete would’ve been the very thing i needed but i still don’t have a sheath to carry it and don’t know if it’s legal for me , a farang to be seen with it.   I really need it here though.   

So, i got through there and found another path up higher that lead in the direction i wanted to go.  (I had come in from the Kathu/Patong road’s high point once last year and set some GPS points to shoot for, and that’s where i now was trying to hook up)

Now also, i have the Thailand maps in my Gps and although they are not topo, they show a lot of roads including some smaller ones.    One showed up that was a bit below my point that i had reached before and closer.   Since it was still very thick in here (overgrown rubber trees) I headed for the end of a road and after another 45 minutes or so, found it.   There was a house there with 2 dogs barking excessibly.   

So, after a rest and a drink, (it was getting hot now as it was close to noon) i headed back on my track but forever searching for a better way.   I had this feeling that i would find an easy way to skip the jungle, steep, thick brush portion but it wasn’t to be.    I had to eventually follow my track on the GPS as it is really thick in there.    One time through with the machete would fix that though.

So, i got back to the bike around 1 after about 4 hours to go about 1 or 2 miles but finally connected the trail around this Sip Song mountain.     I was a little bloody and very hot and glad i had left a 2 litre bottle of water (now very warm) at the bike.     And it was quite dangerous and Very Steep going down.   Not a good road for a bike for sure.

So, next time out, i will go in from the north side again and try to find the best route over there.   So, i consider myself to be past Patong now although it’ll take until i get to the Kathu/Patong high point temple until i really can call it complete up to there.       sorry, no pictures today.

Ok, i’m adding to this a few days later (Feb 23 now).   Went out today and came in from the Kathu hill side.  I go to the top of the hill where the small Buddhist temple is and everyone beeps their horn as they go by.  

  Head south on the small but cement road.    I drove as far as i could along the ridge and then walked about 300-400 metres right to where i previously stopped near the house with the dogs.    I kept a track on the GPS and basically went back to the bike, and followed the road back.  

xpatong02There were 2 places where it would be best to leave the road and go up for some better views but it (ridge) returns to the road again.    A nice roadwalk though.    I saw that some adventure race signs were left up from a race probably this past weekend.  

  Near the northerly end, it would be best to leave the road and follow the ridge i think.    I didn’t do it though as it was pretty thick and a trail would have to be built.    All in all, this has some nice scenery looking down on Patong along this whole section.xpatong

After i got to the big road (Kathu/Patong road)  After seeing views of the next section and how wild it looks (no sign of any houses or construction or anything except mountains and nature)   I decided to walk in a little bit to see if there was a path.  Sure enough, a beautiful path that reminded me of the Appalacian Trail back in the states except for the trees being a different kind.    I met a monk in there who told me it was beautiful.  Not sure if he meant the day, the trail, or the mountain.   But it all looked excellent to me and i can’t wait to go back on my next day’s adventure.