12 October 2014

  • Technical data:
    • We started this track at the Pho Kao Ton water regulator in Lopburi and ended at Wat Chao Pluk in Chao Pluk of Maha Rat District.
    • The weather was partly cloudy and sunny.
    • Total Distance: 34,45 Km; Overall time: 7 Hr 52 Min; Moving time: 5 Hr 51 Min; Stopped time: 2 Hr 1 Min; Overall Speed: 4,4 Km/Hr;  Average Moving Speed: 5,9 Km/Hr; and Max Speed 8,3 Km/Hr.
  • Number of participants: 2 (Pat & Sean)
After a good night sleep it was time to tackle our second day on the Lopburi River. We met at the breakfast buffet of the hotel at 0630 Hr; mainly a sober Thai buffet. At 0730 Hr our pick-up was expected, so we hurried back to our rooms to gather our stuff. Coming down from the guest quarters, we found the "song thaeo" already waiting. We threw our gear in the rear of the car and signaled the driver to take off to Wat Khok Mo. After a 20 minute drive we arrived at the temple premises. We hurried to the river bank to check whether or not the water gates of the regulator were open. We found them closed. We pushed our kayaks, which were guarded under the holy auspices of the monks, into the truck and drove off to the Pho Kao Ton water regulator. Initially we planned to launch on the right bank, but after observing it would be rather difficult due to the scrubs, we asked the driver to take us to the left bank. After a bit of scouting we found a quite muddy place to enter the river. It took us another fifteen minutes to get the kayaks ready and finally at 0815 Hr we were on the river and paddled off. It was a clear day. The early sun started to chase already the coolness of the morning. We paddled in silence, passing temple by temple.

More than an hour later we made a first break near Wat Talung. We sought a spot in the shadow of the river bank and refueled our bodies.

As this was the fifth time we paddled this river, we started to know this waterway quite well. We knew we had normally no obstacles until later at noon. Once again monasteries passed by for another hour.

We took a second break at a floating platform near Wat Chi Wae, just opposite Wat Pho Loi. Our timing was still all right and on this rhythm we could be at our arrival point shortly after 1500 Hr, but never sell the bear's skin before one has killed the beast.

And then the unexpected arrived. We hit a large pack of water hyacinth blocked by a bridge near Ban Phraek; impossible to pierce with our kayaks. It was 1135 Hr. We sought for an easy exit and pulled our kayaks up a field near an habitation. Pat went scouting and got authorization to cross the premises. We wheeled the kayaks to the main road, and continued till the junction with the road leading to the bridge in the vicinity of the Ban Phraek Hospital. Before the bridge there was a noodle shop en we decided to take a quick lunch here. People were friendly and inquired about a lot of things. At 1230 we launched our kayaks on the right bank after having crossed the bridge.

We paddled along the green river banks. Trees were filled with weaver bird nests. Bamboo rocketed high into the skies and the views on the water were magnificent. Often a king fisher would fly out in front of us, seemingly guiding us along the river, his blue feathers contrasting with the bamboo green wall.

Shortly before 1400 Hr we took a break at Wat Sam Phaniang. The years before we took here lunch, but as we did earlier, we remained afloat in our kayaks. After ten minutes we continued our trip through bamboo land. 

At 1510 Hr we hit the water hyacinth obstacle at Wat Kuti Thong. Nearly every year we find an obstruction here. We were aware as we biked the week prior the full length of the river and we had observed the blockage. The bank is very steep here and there was not one single good spot to land. We had to fight our way up on the bank, which took us at least 5 minutes. Once on the temple premises we needed to gasp for air as the work up was quite intensive. Initially we thought to launch on the bank on the opposite side of the bridge, but the entry was far from ideal. So far we had gathered a bunch of people around us and some kids proposed to launch under the bridge. We recalled we did this also four years ago on our maiden trip with Harald. There were hands enough to help and 20 minutes after hitting land we were back on the water. There were no obstructions anymore and we arrived at Wat Chao Pluk, our end point for the day at 1550 Hr.

We pulled our kayaks up on the high bank and started to unfit them, while we were waiting transport to Teak's Home, our accommodation for the night. Track 2 on the Lopburi River was in the pocket.

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