Posted by: fiddlehead | January 21, 2010

Phuket High Trail North (and East) of the Heroine’s Monument

Since I haven’t written a blog entry on my exploring lately, I will take up from where I left off just north of the Heroine’s Monument in the middle of the island.
From there, our trail heads east and crosses the highway near the older cashew factory and store about 500 metres north of the monument.

There is a narrow rubber tree area just to the right (south) of the cashew factory.
I went through there and then had to do some ziz-zagging around some houses and residential area and then find a bridge across the small river about 1 km in.
After the bridge, there are more rubber trees and then a huge field that was just being planted.
Eventually I got to the mountains again and breathed my sigh of relief from all the development and farms.  (for some reason, i don’t consider the rubber tree farms as farms because they feel like being in the woods of jungle)

Lots of bushwhacking over on this side of the island as it is more remote.

After attempting to follow my “original white” trail on my GPS, i made it to a waypoint that I call “ravine” which had a good path leading down to a road so I roadwalked back to my motorbike rather than do all the bushwhacking to get back.   (I didn’t have a machete that day so was quite cut up and it was slow going)

The next day I went out, I parked my pickup truck near where the dirt road meets the blacktop road in the valley and walked back up to the “Ravine” point.  From there, I found some decent trail for a bit until I got into some more rubber trees.

This time, I had my machete with me and carry it in a badminton case as I don’t want the locals to feel threatened by me in any way.    Didn’t really matter as I didn’t see any locals until near the end of the day when I came across a huge road being built.   I cannot figure out where or why this road is going.    There doesn’t seem to be much of anything on either side of the mountains here and is a very remote part of the island of Phuket.   But yet, the road seems to be big enough for 4 lanes and there’s a lot of big machinery up there putting it in.
I ended my day at a house that I called “NamHouse” as I asked for and was directed to their running water supply.  They weren’t the friendliest people but were probably scared that their land was being infringed upon with the new road so close and now a farang walking right up to them.    I was somewhat tired at that point so turned around and headed back to where I had left the truck.

On my 3rd day in this part of the island, my goal of the 4th big (and highest) of the bumps of land or mountains was to be obtained.   I knew I didn’t have too far to go and by using Google Earth, could find the road and trail into the “NamHouse”  waypoint that I had made last time.
But from there, after only about 200 meters up and down through some rubber tree woods, I was bushwhacking up the steep side of this 4th mountain.

At least the jungle here seemed virgin with no chopped out areas, which always makes the bushwhacking very difficult.
Hiking through virgin jungle is always easier because the big trees (and some of these were very big) block out all the sunlight that makes the underbrush grow so fast and thick.   Without that thick stuff, my biggest problem this day was the steepness of the climb.
Near the top, I got into a lot of bamboo, some of it being very big.   This can be tough going, especially when it gets thick and the dead bamboo can pile up like pickup sticks.

Eventually I got through and made it to the top.
From my experiences so far on the 48 days of this exploring of the island of Phuket and laying out this possible, future hiking trail, I have found that usually there is some sign of man at the top of these hills or mountains and can usually expect to find a way down that is easier than the route I took up.   Not so today.   I walked around up there for about 30 minutes and it was thick and no sign of man at all.    No views because there were big trees around.
I wasn’t really looking forward to bushwhacking back down the way I had come up because it was tough going.  But I had no choice.

So, I got a bit cut up with thorns and used my machete a lot this day (this was on Jan 19, 2010) and am wondering how I can get back up to the top and the point that I had marked “Hungry” on my GPS as that was my reason for turning around at this point.  I was hungry and didn’t want to get deeper into a spot that I couldn’t find my way out of.

So my dilemma now is that when I get a full day to go back up there, since it is so far away from where i live and takes almost an hour to drive there, do I have to bushwhack all the way up that big mountain again.  It took me at least 2 hours of climbing/walking plus the hour of driving, and to do that backwards to get back is just too big a part of the day.

I believe on my next day out, I will go to the Bang Pae Waterfall and look for a possible road heading into my needed direction.  On Google Earth it looks like there might be one heading south from the waterfall.

Stay in tune for more entries for this wilder side of Phuket.

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