Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Crashed Huey

The Crashed Huey

After reading numerous reports of the ride to the Huey helicopter that crashed in 2011 north of Pai (which is where we are currently staying).We had woke up at 7:30am and headed across the bamboo bridge to get some breakfast before getting our kit on and heading to the petrol station in town to fill up.

All prepared we left for the day following our GPS route we had planned the previous day. Initially we planned a route of 57km to the helicopter and was going to turn around and head back the way we came. (The GPX for this 57km route can be dowloaded here.) But after we arrived we decided to continue on towards Nam Khong and eventually back to the 1095 covering 146km. (The GPX for this can be downloaded here.)

Heading out, the route followed some roads with beautiful scenery and a some farm land. We pulled over to take a few photos.

We continued along the route which went from tarmac to paved to unpaved and dirt roads. The roads were in use by the locals on bikes and 4x4s. Thankfully it had rained the night before so the dust wasn't bad at all in the morning. Here are a few very quick examples of the roads.

We saw quite a few animals along the way from cows and dogs to chickens and pigs.

We arrived at Huay Chang Thao where one of the locals was doing her washing. I know these are stereotypical images but I love them. For me the reflection on the water makes the photo.

Continuing through villages and farm lands we just had to stop for some of the sights. The day was warming up and we were still seeing people using the road.

I rode ahead and took a couple of shots of Neil riding. He has been appointed as the video man and I'm covering the stills and the blog. There are a few videos here but we're trying to put the interesting parts into one. I have a bad habit of leaving the GoPro running and taking gigabytes worth of useless footage (woops). 

We passed through some beautiful places, here I stopped to take some photos just as 4 other riders came pass. They stopped for a drink at what appeared to be a little coffee shop in the next village. We thought we might bump into them again later but this was not to be.

We headed towards the Dam area and the roads around there were great fun. The road were becoming rougher and there was still water from the night the rain before. A few ruts were starting to appear and we throughly enjoyed riding them.

After the Dam the incline was increasing and the roads were becoming more rutted. We ofter found ourself having to down change to get to the top of them while avoiding the obstacles. We came across a shelter where we took a break to take on some water as the temperature continued to rise.

After our break we continued along the route stopping every now and again to take in the views and take some photos.

The trail around this part was amazing and we had an unbelievable time. I couldn't tell you the amount of times we told each other that over the scala's headset we are using, continuing to ride with disbelief of the tracks. Here is an example of what I'm talking about.

Just before we reached the helicopter we came across this pond/lake.

As we came around the corner there is was. I setup the tripod and used a remote to take a picture of us with the bikes as our trophy. Neil is very interested in the Vietnam war and he was like a kid in a sweetshop.  

I took quite a few photos of the helicopter, well what remains of it.

Apparently it originally crashed further down the hill and used to be held in place by ropes. Since then it has been dragged up the hill where it remains.

We had to create an apocalypse now 1000 yard stare pose.

After taking a break from the midday sun inside the helicopter, we discussed our route back. Originally we were due to simply invert the route and return the way we came. Looking at the map we could see the trail continued down to Nam Khong and that way we could eventually pickup the 1095 and follow this back to Pai.

As we continued the trail became every more challenging, with some steep descents and very technical areas. I was simply concentrating too much to think about taking photos. There were a few areas that have had warning signs put up because of some very steep cracks in the earth that have opened up. Falling into one of these is really not worth thinking about. So whoever it was that put these up a big thank you.

We actually tried to follow another trail which I have removed from the GPX file. For some reason the GPS was showing us as being on the correct path but we clearly wasn't. I simply took a wrong turn. We went through a village and ended up going through the trees and undergrowth. There were a few very steep drop offs so we stopped and back tracked, it shows you how easy it is to rely on technology and get yourself in trouble. We went back a few km to our previous route. It was only later that night when I looked on Basecamp I could see where we had gone wrong, you can see the route heading north but we continued west.

We got back to some paved roads and had to stop at this point to take a picture which hopefully shows the steepness of the road as it just falls away from you.

Heading back to the 1095, we stopped off for fuel and a drink.

We got back to Pai and treated ourself to dinner and a few beers, sat on the decking of the huts and reminisced over the days events, what a day!

Here is the finished video from the day.

If you enjoy the blog please share this and also check out or previous posts on the right hand said of the page. Thanks Neil


  1. Sounds as though this day was quite hair raising! Great pics again ... love that last one of the chicken especially! :)