April 19- Chiang Mai-Doi Inthanon-Maesalieng

Doi Inthanon highest mountain in Thailand at 2565 meters (8336’)…… three levels of trees depending on elevation….dry on bottom, mixed in middle and evergreen tropical on the top. Around 1000 metres you notice pine trees…. Imported to reforest. Thai people love to come here cuz is cooler. The Royal Project start by king to have farmers grow flowers (under covers) when they previously grew opium. I don’t know what the grade is getting up here but it was a struggle. (6.4-13.4% …. Looked it up later) Rhododendrons and datura growing wild. Apparently the rhodos attract green-tailed sunbird….. wow! We saw one but unfortunately couldn’t get a picture.

On the way down we stopped at the market run by Hmong hill tribes. We bought at least 4 cups of strawberries for 20 Baht (.80 ). They were soooo good. Got some dried fruit as well.

Next twin pagodas. Wow, so many steps. One for the king, one for the queen marked 6th cycle. It is so high up but looking down you cannot see a thing. Amazingly the smog doesn’t smell or congest me.

Wachiraton waterfall….. another beautiful spot coming down the mountain. Had lunch there too.

Op Luang National Park…. Chiang Mai Grand Canyon,,,kissing mountains. Gorgeous and peaceful with river Mae Chaem River over huge boulders. Bamboo and pink lilies that I think are from the amaryllis family along the walk to the canyon. They have found relics, bones and caving’s estimated at 28,000 years old.

From there we head to Maesalong for the night. Along the way we managed to see a real cloud. Most of the time there is no blue sky so no view of what should be spectacular views. In one place they were burning. I had been told they do that after crops are done… makes for good fertilizer but these were not farms. It was among the trees. Joe told us that they do it so that when the rains come it will grow mushrooms. He said they are selfish because they are ruining the environment.

We arrived at Maesarieng very close to the border with Myanmar. The roads are very windy cuz it is mountainous….. not too unlike many parts of BC. The hotel is quit nice although not in the same category as what we have been staying. It is located along the Yuam River. Interesting…. You take your shoes off before entering… just like all the temples.

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