One of the most interesting and exciting AND challenging trips I had the pleasure to experience with my son, was the hike in the Mae Kuang area, just north east of Chiang Mai. For the better part of 7 years I have tried to find a small interesting spot, far from everything, where I could enjoy nature, silence and hone my bushcraft skills. I came close with a friend of mine, but still did not manage, so I thought I would give it a shot together with my son. End of rainy season, yet it was raining hard just at we had parked our motorbikes, to hike the 5-6 km to the campsite. So much, that we did not neither film or take photos of the hike. Muddy roads and massive rain, just gave us enough to think about.
But we arrived, in good mood, ready to setup camp. From previous hike I knew a nice spot, elevated about 1 meter above the river, in a flat area with plenty of trees for the hammocks. Perfect area to chill.
Since we only had to hike 5-6 km, I took the liberty to bring an extra tarp with me, 3×4 m, as a kind of dining area. Then we did not have to wrap hour hammocks up all the time, to create space for cooking under their tarps. But, then things started to go wrong.
I always teach and preach, that one has to have everything in good order and wrapped up, so that one can get on the move with few minutes notice, should that be needed. But here we were, Jacob never been camping before, we had setup, what we considered “permanent” camp for the trip, and we had plenty of room. Things were hanging to dry, Jacob had not been packing things for rain, and his blanket got wet, among other things.
But we were happy, it was nice to get away from the city, and though this was his first real camp experience, then no complaints. He even had the energy to do some cooking in the night.
Jacob used a tarp cut specific for the Hennesy Explorer, but when the rain came down hard, and he had not adjusted the tarp correctly, it did not take long before he ended up having the rain coming into his hammock too. So, did not take long before he was sitting in a chair, under our big tarp. No complaints, just accepting that this was to be his place for the night. But we found a solution, and he went to bed again.
All the rain had me nervous though. There were signs in the area we camped, that flash floods had happened before. But we were at a wide spot on the river, and at the end of rain season. So, I thought it would be ok. But…….. nervous as I was, I kept an eye on the river just to the right om my hammock. And sure enough, about 4 am I noticed a change in the sound from the river, looked out, and could visible see how the river had started to rise. It was already 40-50 cm higher than a few hours earlier. But it was going fast. So I yelled at my son, that he should wake up, get things gathered and moved to higher ground. 17 year old, sleepy, and finally fallen asleep, I feared it would take a while before he was in motion. But I should be proven wrong. 3 sec and he was out. Disoriented, yet in motion. Man he impressed me. Not one single instruction needed. He needed about 30 seconds to really get into fast motion, but then he was as efficient as one can ask for. Everything on the ground was taken care of first, and 5 minutes later it was flooded. Second was tarps and hammocks, and by the time we had that pulled down, we were knee deep in water, fast flowing water.
Everything was wet, we were tired, and though a part of me wanted to continue the quest for the secret spot in the jungle, and Jacob was totally Gong Ho, then we decided that was enough excitement for one day. Weather forecast did not promise better conditions, humidity through the roof and with rain, meant we would have a hard time drying our hammocks and sleeping gear. So we wrapped it all up, and prepared to head home instead.
When we got home we decided to weigh our equipment. I had 2 bags, and Jacob one. I was certain that I had taken all the heavy things, after all I am biggest and strongest, and I was feeling very heavy loaded, but I was in for a chok. We were both carrying exactly 50 pound (22 kg) of gear each. And though it was muddy, it went up and down on hills, slippery and wet, not a word of complaints. Hiking and camping with people with such an attitude is just a true pleasure.