Journeys to Keng Tung

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March 6th

March 6th.—From camp in the hills to Muang Pak, 19 1/2 miles. Leaving the Me Hai river at the last camp, the path takes a steep spur of the Louai Chang mountain in a north-north-west direction, the ascent being very steep, with occasional easy bits. Only scattered trees, and at first bamboo clumps, on a bare hill, covered with dry grass.
The crest of the range is reached at 3 1/2 miles, aneroid 26.6″; the path then runs along it for 3 miles, when the highest peak is passed over; aneroid 26.0 1/2″.* Still following the crest, and later the spur in which the mountain ends, the path descends very steeply, and latterly through thick forest to a small stream flowing east, 914 miles; aneroid 27.3″. Then ascend the opposite hill, which is thinly wooded, reaching the summit at 11 miles; aneroid 26.7″; after which there is a gradual descent, with occasional steep bits, to the Pak stream at 13 miles. From here there is a fine view of an extensive valley, about 10 miles square, full of low hillocks, which are either thinly wooded or else entirely bare, with cultivation on the level bits between them. There are many streams flowing in from the surrounding hills. The path winds about amongst these hillocks, keeping out of the low-lying land, and at 19 1/2 miles reaches the small village of Muang Pak, situated on a mound, with extensive paddy land around it. It owns about 60 cows. Poultry and rice are obtainable, but the latter is very dear. It was a very stiff climb over the Louai Chang mountain, but a road could be made with ease either to zig-zag up, or taking a long curve round the hill. There are few trees, and the soil is soft, and not stony or rocky. There is no water between the Me Hai and the stream at 9 1/4 miles.

There is space for two Infantry regiments to encamp at 7 miles in a hollow on the crest of the range, but there is no water there, though there is a green swampy-looking patch, where water could be got by digging.

There is no large encamping ground between Paboung and the head of the Pak valley, a distance of 34 miles. In this valley there is plenty of room anywhere, though the low-lying bits are inclined to be wet. No villages were passed. Aiam was seen at 8 1/2 miles; about 6 miles off north-east and at 18 miles a few huts were passed.
The Pak river is here 20 feet wide and 2 feet deep.

Owing to the mist I got no view from Louai Chang mountain. This Muang Pak valley is bounded on the west by several ranges of hills, the furthest about 15 miles distant and fairly high. To the north is a long, low range ending abruptly to north-west, where there seems to be a gap.

To the east there are ranges of low hills, and on the south is the Louai Chang range. The general run of all being north-west to south-east, more or less. Next Entry