I Walked ALLLLL the Way to the Top

I’ve been told that if you come to Chiang Mai without going to Doi Suthep, then you haven’t really been to Chiang Mai. I’ve now been 7 times.

This weekend’s most recent trip was different from the others because I walked all the way up the mountain to the temple at the top.

The Doi Suthep Walkers hike the trail to the temple at the top of the mountain every weekend. We met at the base of the mountain at 9am and it was already terribly hot. I thought it was supposed to start cooling off in November. Not so much.

I can walk forever if the ground is flat. Up is hard. Up is really hard.

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About half way to the top it was time to stop for a bit to catch our breath and reapply bug spray. It’s so hot that I’m pretty sure all of the bug spray has melted off, or has been completely absorbed into my skin. This time I used all-natural, deet free. But, after 6 months should I start to worry about the amount of deet seeping into my pores and breathed in. Every time I spray and feel it in my lungs because of accidental inhalation, I say to myself, “at least now my insides are protected from bug bits and dengue.”Does prolonged exposure to deet lead to strange mutations? I’d choose glowing in the dark over getting dengue fever any day.

We didn’t just stop to reapply bug spray. Before reaching THE temple on top of Doi Suthep mountain, you reach another, smaller temple. It’s called Wat Palad. It’s a bit more secluded and jungle-y.

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According to our hike leader (who does this every week, and also sometimes runs up the mountain), this was the easy part. The rest of the way up is a little harder. According to this guys, if you get this far you can totally do the rest. Ha. There was a bit there where I thought I wouldn’t make it. But, here’s the thing about hiking through the jungle: At some point you don’t have a choice. There is nowhere to go but forwards. The only way out is to keep going. So that is what you do.

It was worth it. I got to the top. It really is a beautiful view from up there. I’ve seen it 7 times, and it still doesn’t disappoint. You can see the whole city from up there. I’m proud of myself. I feel accomplished. 6 1/2 km up a mountain and it’s only noon.

After a well-deserved smoothie, we opted to take a red taxi back down. Maybe next time we’ll hike both ways (but probably not, who am I kidding).

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