Southeast Asia 2023 – Thailand: Chiang Dao

After a few days back in Chiang Mai to clean up and dry out following my trek in the Mae Wang Area, I took a local bus north to the small town of Chiang Dao. I had heard that its namesake mountain, Doi Luang Chiang Dao, in the Pha Daeng National Park, offered some notable self-guided trails, and I was excited to get out on my own. It became the first of many instances on this trip that my plans didn’t pan out, resulting in some improvisation that yielded unforeseen rewards. I was reminded of my mantra in Namibia: “Expect the unexpected!”

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Southeast Asia 2023 – Thailand: Mae Wang Area Trek

A full year after my long walk across southern France and northern Spain, I was anxious for another long trekking adventure to close out an active 2023. I had recently read about hill tribes in Southeast Asia, so I decided to focus my efforts on hiking among some of their villages in the northern mountains of Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. In this and upcoming posts, I will share stories, photos, and videos from my trip. As always, this blog is intended to document the experience for posterity and to share with anyone interested in my visit to this beautiful and fascinating corner of the globe. I hope you enjoy it!

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Italy 2023 – Via di Francesco: Days 7-8

We made it!

This is the final post of the series documenting our trekking holiday to Italy in the summer of 2023 and its transformation into a hybrid trip for both pilgrims and tourists.

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Italy 2023 – Via di Francesco: Days 5-6

We’ve adjusted.
We’ve adapted.
We’ve accepted.

This is no longer a through hike…

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Italy 2023 – Via di Francesco: Days 3-4

Via di Francesco – Day 3: Sansepolcro to Citerna

We learned too late about the forecast of afternoon thundershowers…

Today’s stage was always planned to be a short one and relatively flat across the agricultural fields of the Upper Tiber River Valley before a final climb up to the medieval fortress town of Citerna, so we were in no hurry to get up and out.

Then, too late, we read the weather forecast. Sure enough, the weather folk called it right, and we were forced to put the rain covers on our packs for the last 30 minutes of the route. It was still too warm and humid to comfortably don our own rain gear, so two soggy bodies arrived at the doorstep of our apartment in the mid-afternoon hour.

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Italy 2023 – Via di Francesco: Days 1-2

La Via di Francesco (The Way of Saint Francis)

The Via Degli Dei we just traveled is a relatively new recreational trail. In contrast, the Via di Francesco is a pilgrimage route that commemorates the life and inspiration of Saint Francis of Assisi and is built in two main segments. We plan to walk the northern path from the Sanctuary of La Verna to the beautiful hilltop town of Assisi over the next eight days. The southern way lies between Assisi and Rome. Both trails are typically walked from north to south, but there is signage for anyone wishing to do the trip in reverse. Some pilgrims walk just one or the other segment, with a few combining them into a longer trip.

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Italy 2023 – A rest day in Florence and a travel day in Tuscany

Rest days are always challenging when on long through hikes. You’re often in unique places that call out loudly for attention. Florence is no different. We did our best to stay off our feet, recovering from the Via Degli Dei, but still managed to get out and explore a few of the famous sites of this magical city. Here are some pics and videos from the day, plus a few from our travel day to the start of our next journey on the Via di Francesco.

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Italy 2023 – Via Degli Dei: Days 5-6

With only two completed days out of four on the Via Degli Dei, we were excited to get our legs beneath us this morning. From now on, I vowed to use only the main AllTrails routes and to stop trying to second-guess the connections from the Via to our lodgings and vice versa.

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Italy 2023 – Via Degli Dei: Days 3-4

Bypassing the long trail yesterday for an unscheduled rest day wasn’t in our original plan, so we were extra motivated to get out and hike this morning. Our B&B host kindly prepared our breakfast at 5 am, allowing us to get onto the trail early. We hoped this would help us beat the worst of today’s forecasted heat.

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