Chiang Mai is located at the foot of a mountain. The mountain is called Doi Suthep.
Near the top of this mountain is a wat (temple) known as Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Since Friday is the last day of my meditation retreat, I’ve decided to conclude it by hiking up the mountain Saturday and visiting the temple.
This is a bit of a challenge. It’s the longest hike I’ve attempted on my post-surgery ankle. Each direction is about 8 miles and, with the steep terrain, is estimated to take about 4 hours. That’s a round trip of 8 hours of walking.
I don’t mind the challenge. It’s good training. But I also wouldn’t mind if the trip was shorter. Here’s the route, following the (only) road that goes up the mountain:
What do you notice about that route? Yeah, it’s pretty circuitous. Check this out:
This is my thought. If I’m willing to off road it, I can cut out a significant section of the hike. This will save time, energy, and footache.
There are problems with this. Usually when engineers make a road long and winding it’s for a reason. The routes in red and orange might go up a sheer cliff. Or other difficult terrain. They’re certainly covered in jungle.
But but but… it would be exciting!
This is the Rogue Priest here. Do you think I got that name following roads? I really like the idea of forging my own way off-road. It appeals to me to say I climbed a mountain to visit a temple and mean it.
I’m a little torn about which route to try. The red route is close to the downhill end of the road. It’s probably not as steep and it won’t take long. The orange route would save me a lot more time, but it’s also higher up.
Either way, there’s a chance I’ll have to turn back and take the main road. The forest might be blocked by private homes, walls, or who knows what. On the other hand, I might find an easy footpath that Google doesn’t know about. It sure looks like one:
Here is what I plan to take on my trip.
- 3 litres of water
- Bug spray
- Crudely drawn map
- 100 copies of the tract, “Why You Should Convert to the Heroic Life”
Okay, that last one is a joke. It’s a joke! I leave first thing in the morning so my wanderings don’t strand me out there after dark. Wish me luck!