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Ta Thon and a Mountain Range Hike

Written on: Sunday July 15th, 2007

A journal entry from: South East Asia

Did some rustic bus/truck/bike/small boat riding methods in the last few days. Left Pai fairly early on a local bus that dropped us god knows where, mid-random town, where we were left in the middle of the road with not a clue where to catch a bus or get to Ta Thon. Finally, with a small Thai note a women had written for me asking for directions and a little luck we found what could have been either an abandoned fruit stand or a bus stop. There was another Dutch traveler waiting there for the same bus, so we joined her.

While standing their aimlessly, a bus stopped abruptly and a small man ran off and with no English or other transaction, five seconds later we were squished onto a bus to who knows where and off down the road. A few hours later we ended up in a place called Fang, where our mysteriously soaked bags were thrown on the ground, our queue to get off, and got on the back of a pick-up truck the rest of the way.

Ta Thon, is a small town built around the river, placed right in the middle of the mountains. Adam, this Dutch girl we were with and I may have been the only tourists there. We spent one night up in the mountain at a monk monetary watching the monks chant. During the meditation bit, I all but passed out. My only problem, that while at the stage of relaxation needed to meditate I usually am asleep. You can image what happened.

The next day we took a long narrow boat, 7 person fit (almost on top of each other) per boat, down the river to a hot springs. Lots of fun dodging fishermen, water-buffalo, random piles of branches, rapids, and accidentals. The river goes right in between a mountain range, so their were some spectacular views. Then just as we were getting the hang of it we were dropped at a small stair case on the side of the river. Apparently the hot springs, there was no one in site, and our non-English speaking driver was gone, only leaving three of us there before we could ask any questions.

We had been told it was an hour hike to this 'hill' house we wanted to stay at in the jungle. They left out extreme terrain, mostly directly up hill with now switch-backs, and must be in decent shape to obtain without passing out and falling into the abyss of jungle never to be found again. This hike would have been overly exhausting with only a 10 pound bag. In our case our 40 pound bag adding thirty plus degrees weather with now wind and direct sunlight made this hike unbearable at points. Needless to say, all of us were waterfalls of sweat and were considering collapse for 45 minutes of the hour and 20 minutes spent moving. The views along the way were worth the pain luckily. Beautiful mountain range with babbling brooks, small rivers, roaming cattle and everything in between gave a good distraction along the way. Once we got to the top, I felt as if I might have just won the lottery.