Ban Krut To Hat Wanakon 57km
The idea today was to have a look at Hat Wanakon NP, because MJ and Cindy had recommended it as a nice place to camp. Stephanie and Vincent had kept going yesterday, so I was alone. I hadn't slept well(Ju is coming) so I wasn't feeling really enthusiastic, so I decided to find a breakfast feed....Western food. Hash browns, eggs and toast, pretty dashed expensive, but oh so good. Then I set my map programme alive....take me to the National Park......bike route version.
Fiona was looking a little different this morning. The other day she had an incident, in an elevator. She wasn't meant to be there....just another "making impossible possible", and the elevator was perhaps a little small...and ooops, her tail feathers snapped. The flag pole broke. I did some first aid. Splints, tapes, bandages, with the aid of a coupIe of procured chop sticks, but the northerly wind yesterday was just too strong, and the chop sticks snapped as well. Never mind. She is now flying at half mast, and looking as pretty as ever.
So where was the navigation app going to take me? Answer? To Funville. More concrete roads through palm plantations. Then gravel roads through rubber plantations. Then four wheel drive tracks through native rainforest. And even some single track past grazing cattle, and their accompanying herons. We even followed the maintenance road for the railway, through river fords, muddy holes, over home made railway crossings, and under bridges. At one stage, I thought we were going to ride the beach, but a track appeared. And occasionally we'd pop out on a real road, with traffic.
There was a major road running parallel to my route, but I know where I would rather be. The route even took us through the back streets in the small villages. Along one of these, I stopped to chat and photograph a group working with coconuts. Basically, they were peeling them, taking off all the various layers, and the knotty bits, then slicing up the meat for drying. One of the guys opened one up for me, and produced a straw, and told me to enjoy. It was yummy. So refreshing. They were just dumping all the coconut milk in a bucket. I'm unsure whether it was going to be used, but I suspect so, as it seems every part of the plant is used in some way. Lovely people.
Another time I popped out, I found a shop...ice cream. There were heaps of Germans turning up on scooters. Seemed a little bizarre, to come off a wilderness trail, and be confronted by German Tourists on scooters. Just along the road was a resort, with lots of seemingly "timeshare" type accommodation. And even though the area was still reasonably rural/beach, there were funny businesses dotted everywhere. Hairdressers, beauty salons, foot massagers, fancy restaurants, steak houses and the like. Not what you might expect on a rural road, still the locals obviously are responding to a need. Some of the businesses looked like they were owned by Germans as well.
So how do you get into this National Park? A policeman gave me directions, which sort of tallied with my app. But the road got muddier, and the ruts got deeper, and the vegetation more dense. And then a sign told me I would be fined if I didn't have an entry permit, which can be purchased at the main gate. But where is the gate? Did some back tracking, and a loop around a Timeshare Estate, and hit the major road....A dual carriage speedway. Jumped the medium strip, because the U turn was only available 3km the wrong way, and put my life at risk for the first time all day.
Thankfully, the NP entry was only 1km down the road, so a quick scramble over the central "ditch", and I was out of the traffic, setting up my tent, and having a welcome swim.
As I was doing so, I reflected that today, off the road, out of the city, in the wilderness of National Parks, I have been relaxed and comfortable, less stressed, and have really enjoyed my day. Hmmmm.