Shooing thousands of ants off the balcony, Dasher and Dancer join us on our hike, and planning the next stage of our adventure.

Day 181: Soppong, Thailand. We had a later start to our day today, feeling a little tired out after yesterday’s long hilly hike.

Lil plonked herself on the balcony outside our room with her book, after sending thousands of ants that had gathered overnight on their way, involving a decent amount of flapping and loud shrieks.

At one point a guy from one of the other chalets decided to rescue a blown-away sock by making his way down the steep hill beneath our balcony. The damp morning ground, steep incline and his not-so-great decision to make the precarious attempt in bright white Birkenstock sandals, made for a fine bit of comedy.

After breakfast we walked through the village and across a series of fields, and climbed up what is known locally as ‘The Big Knob’, a pretty steep ascent up through the forest.

Two local dogs decided they wanted to join us on the adventure.

The dogs were adorable and very friendly – we nicknamed them Dasher and Dancer, though not surprisingly, they didn’t respond to either. They were both very useful, in that they knew exactly where the trail went, which helped us to steer our way up the mountainside (they were up and over a makeshift bamboo gate before we’d even found its location) and also a bit of a nuisance, as they had a tendency to keep running back and forth, and several times nearly knocked us over in the process.

We reached the top of the trail, and after some debate decided to skip the last bit of the climb, which involved scrabbling and scaling up lots of craggy rocks. The two dogs by now were super excited and were already trying to clamber up the rock face, and Lil worried that either they’d knock one of us off, or vice versa. So we decided to call it a day and retraced our steps back down through the mountain and into the town.

We had a chilled out afternoon, reading our books, snoozing and making plans for the next stage of our adventures. Tomorrow we head back to Chiang Mai for a quick overnight stay, then fly out the next day to Taiwan, which we’re really excited about.

We’ve loved staying at the Cave Lodge, it’s a fabulously relaxed environment, with great scenery and walks and a lovely ‘get away from it all’ atmosphere. We have a feeling we may well be back at some point.

Tomorrow we pack up again, and catch a minibus from Soppong back to Chiang Mai. We’ve already reserved the front passenger seat for Jim to keep any travel sickness at bay, as we wind our way back over the mountains.

More then.

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