Category Archives: Off The Beaten Track

Fun off-piste and snowboarding jumps

Second video edit form Sestiere. We had great fun off-piste found an amazing lunch stop with a view!

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Leaving our lunch stop on the Sauze d’oulx side we slid off down to Sestriere carving through the trees. Heading back up the Sestriere side we spotted a great expanse of white, the ultimate jump building territory!

It took a long time to build the jump and soon we were both sweating and taking layers off as we created our jump.

I had never done any jumps before and it was confidence boosting flying along and landing in soft, deep snow, like floating and anding in a cloud.

Take a look at my latest edit from fun off-piste and jumps in Sestriere.

I hope you enjoyed my edit, if you did please subscribe to my you tube channel.

Hannah x

 

 

 

Sestriere Snowboarding Edit

I have always loved photography and film and this year have decided to have a go at creating videos.

These video’s was shot sing a Go Pro Hero 4 Black and a Go Pro Hero 4 Silver.

Film lesson one was I accidentally changed the resolution on one camera so have had to make two edits! (second one to come) Had loads of footage so this was not a problem.

My tip for anyone else looking to make videos would be create a story board of what you want in your video. I found it really helpful to know the type of outcome I wanted before I went out and filmed everything, Martyn and I then proceeded to film everything anyway but at least we had an idea of what we wanted to create!

I would love feedback on what you think of my videos and you tube channel. If you like it please subscribe here.

Snowboarding adventures in Sestriere.

Thanks for watching! if you like please comment and share.

Follow me on Instagram for photos from two wheeled adventures.

H x

 

Back to the Mountains of Italy

I felt like I had been waiting ages for our snowboarding trip this year. Martyn has been checking the snow forecast for months. To start with the season had a dusting of snow with many runs closed but as we edged closer to March the snow angels got to work and the weekend we arrived nearly all runs were open and the peaks were covered if a fluffy blanket of powder. Thank you snow angels!

Sestrière lies at the heart of the Milky Way which offers almost 400 km of pisted runs. It is an alpine village in Italy, a part of the Province of Turin. It is situated in Val Susa, 17 km from the French border, which means you get the benefit of boarding in Italy and France on your lift pass.

We arrived on Sunday to blue skies, cold air and great food at our hotel the Principi de Piemonte which lies to the side of the Sestriere.

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View from our balcony

Our six day lift pass started on Monday so while Martyn relaxed in the bar I decided to make the most of the spa facilities. I did Pilates followed by a swim, sauna and steam. A great way to start a holiday I think you will agree.

After only 2 hours sleep on Saturday night we got an early night ready for a day of boarding on Monday.

Getting ready for a day on the slopes is like a military operation, first of all you have to play a game of what fits in what pocket!

It is very true about all extreme sports you don’t buy the padding until you hurt yourself. I am now the proud wearer of essential padding including impact shorts, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads. For any first timer I would recommend wrist guards, impact shorts and knee pads you will be surprised once you get used to feeling like a medieval knight how they will improve your time on the slopes as confidence grows and nasty purple bruises decline. Sitting on the slopes are chilly and impact shorts also reduce cold impact on the gluteus muscles!

The first day I always feel a nervous anticipation of what’s to come we decided to stay in Sestriere and made our way gradually over to Borgatta which is the next village along one of the lifts was closed and the large queue seems like the ideal excuse for a hot chocolate and beer stop.

The lift to the top chilled us both to the bone, getting off the lift the snow whipped into a frenzy by the wind swirling around making any bear skin painfully cold, we were soon on the move and warming up nicely I followed Martyn trying to match his line to make myself faster. This worked really well and I felt a new confidence and enjoyed chasing him down the mountain, at the bottom we turned and went straight up again, another bitterly cold lift to the top. I hit my top speed at 36.5 miles an hour according to the Ski Tracks app.

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We stopped at Du Casa for lunch which was nice and then decided to make our way back to our hotel to warm up! Arriving back at our hotel I kept my promise to myself and did Pilates and then Martyn and I went to the spa and for a swim.

Dinner was again great with a buffet for starter then a pasta course, then a meat course and then a buffet of puddings, for the second night in a row we rolled back to our room too full!

Montgenerve, France.

On Wednesday we went on a coach trip to Montgenerve in France it’s a pretty, quiet French town with a load of great slopes for everyone. There are a few greens which can be hard for boarders, but most of the runs are long blues and reds.

The best way to start is on the right hand side where the gondola takes you up half way before changing to a chair lift them from the top take the red, blue routes down to the far left of the gondola where you will cross the road and end up at the Tremplin lift, here you can then go up and explore the left hand side of the mountain.

The left hand side has a lot more to offer I terms of runs but the right hand side has some great open off-piste sections perfect for beginners as you can see the runs below and head towards them if you get really stuck.

My top tips for first time off-piste are:

  1. Be ready to fall over rather a lot – even experienced snowboarders spend time tumbling off-piste
  2. When you do fall over pack the snow in and around your bum to help lift yourself up
  3. Keep your weight over your board and put more weight on your back foot
  4. Relax

On the left hand side you can go up to the Crows Nest. This is the place where you can cross over back into Italy and ski back however it involves three lifts one after the other so ideally get a coach or taxi to France so you can enjoy the great runs. From the Crows Nest there are some brilliant long red routes which take you onto blues and then back down to the Tremplin lift these are great fun wide reds with stunning 360 views.

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View from the Crows Nest.

There are less places to eat in France, most people eat in Montgenevre. We ate on the mountain, on the right hand side of the road with a stunning view and reasonable priced good food. It’s worth carrying a bottle of water as with the food places being sparse it’s harder to get a drink too, on hot days your need to replace your fluid.

France is well worth a visit the runs are fantastic, the off-piste is vast and for those more experienced boarders there is wide open spaces to explore. For those who love gliding down the mountain there are plenty of long green and blue runs which including breathtaking views.

I find France slightly harder to navigate Montgenevre has a few runs packed tightly together and then the rest is spread out so it’s easy to accidentally take a wrong turn, where as in Sestriere most of the runs have clear starts and finishes.

Sauze D’Oulx

On Thursday we went over to Sauze D’oulx the runs over this side are longer and quite wide which is confidence boosting for beginners.

A lot of the runs lead to a massive bowl where there are loads of restaurants. The bottom run into Sauze was a bit slushy as this resort is lower than Sestriere.

We made our way back to Sestriere for the afternoon and played off-piste next to our hotel, my off-piste ability is improving, although I still spend a lot of time digging myself out of the snow – part of the fun!

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Off-Piste

We were woken by the sound of a helicopter taking people heli ski-ing, a good indication of another great weather day. We took the gondola up into Sauze but this time went down to San Cicaro on the way to France. I felt really confident and enjoyed the black, red combination.

Around this area there is also some long red runs through the trees, which are a bit skinny in places and for a boarder you need to carry speed to get up some of the inclines.

As with Sauze the sun made the bottom parts of the runs a bit slushy so after a burger stop we made our way back over to Sestriere. From this side you have two choices either a toggle lift to the top gondola or a red/ blue run to the mid station. From the mid station you can either get the gondola or there is a flat long blue run through the trees which takes you back to Borgata. We went for the blue option and then went off-piste, it was hard work at the top through lots of pine trees but soon it opened out into untouched snow we headed down to the back of Sestriere and then walked through town which was exhausting but the off-piste made it well worth it!

After a hot chocolate and beer stop we got on the lift in Sestriere back to the top of the blue and went off-piste all the way your hotel, I found it easier this time twisting through trees and only getting stuck once or twice!

Off-Piste Adventures

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what a view!

Our last day came too quick! We decided to spend the whole day off- piste, as I was improving, this turned into the best day of the holiday by far. We took the gondola up to the top of Sauze, as we got higher I felt the butterflies in my stomach rising in anticipation for what was to come. We walked around the lift and literally slid off the edge it was quite steep and the snow crunched under my board where the top layer had frozen. This off-piste was quite well worn but it was still amazing to be the only two on the slope, we made our way onto the long blue descent and then again popped over the edge into the trees, the conifers were tightly packed and I did my best to follow Martyn’s expert line through them, my skill level is not quite as good and I found myself sitting amongst the branches on more than one occasion!

We found a great little cake and drink stop overlooking Sestriere and the mountains beyond, from there we made our way into the clearing a vast space of pure white snow where no one had been I loved the feeling of making my own tracks and the complete freedom of being able to go where ever I wanted. We headed down to the back of the hotels using our boards as sledges, before walking the rest of the way.

After picking up some lunch supplies we headed back up on the gondola, Martyn casually said “let’s stop on those rocks for lunch” I wasn’t so keen on the idea of lunch on the edge of a rock but once we got to our lunch spot I changed my mind. 360 mountain views, peace and quiet, our own spot on the top of the world. Bliss.

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After lunch we slid off the other side of our rocky outcrop carving our own trail into the mountain side back into Sestriere.

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Stopping at the bottom for a well-earned hot chocolate and beer we planned our next descent. The plan was to go off-piste from the Sestriere to find a place to build a little jump, I had never done any jumps before so was excited about trying something new.

Once off-piste we looked for a spot where we could build a jump, Martyn found the ideal area with a good run off and a nice soft landing. Once we had built the jump (which was hard work) Martyn showed me how it was done and then we took it in turns. My biggest issue seemed to be staying pointing down the hill! The landing was soft and I was soon making a little progress getting air even if I did land on my bum most of the time!

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As the sun started to dip in the sky and the last lift of the day had stopped behind us, we decided sadly, we better leave our snowy paradise and made our way back through the trees to our hotel.

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The mountains are an incredible place and I feel truly blessed every time I get to visit them. They are mysterious and majestic and I love being able to make the most of nature’s playground.

Snowboarding Sestriere 2015

After what seemed like the longest journey ever, we touched down in Borgata outside the Banchetta hotel, weary from a day spent in Gatwick having missed our flight due to a communication blunder by our travel company.

We were delighted to have not missed dinner and tucked into hot soup and bread before getting an early night ready for our first day on the slopes.

We woke early with excitement ready for the day ahead. From our hotel we could walk to the lift and had planned to check out the piste in Sestriere before planning the two weeks boarding ahead of us.

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Martyn is a very confident snowboarder and was buzzing to get to the highest point and see how quickly he could make it to the bottom. After dislocating my arm last year I was a bit apprehensive and nervous, I had however brought elbow pads to help give me a confidence boost!

Having not been on my board since hurting my arm, the butterflies continued to rise and intensify  closer to the top of the chair lift. Deposited at the top of the slope I eagerly strapped in my feet and edged close to the edge of the slope, I gingerly started my descent getting into the rhythm of toe edge, flat, heel edge, flat. I crept down the slope watching others, including Martyn, hurtle past at a lightning speed.

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At the bottom I breathed a sigh of relief at getting down my first run, and by the end of the first day I was back in the swing of things.

The sun rose brightly on Monday and we headed over to the gondola to go to the other side of the mountain into Sauze d’oulx. As we reached the top the view was incredible, stretching in every direction were white peaks set against a beautiful blue sky. The beauty and exposure when you’re standing on top of a mountain is breath taking, there is no feeling quite like it.

Sestriere 2015

Heading down the slope I encountered my first flat bit of road, the same type of surface where I hurt my arm. A feeling of dread resurfaced which I tried to push to the back of my mind and focused on my turns, but found myself skating down on one edge which sent burning sensations down my hamstrings. Tired from my mini panic and extra adrenalin I was relieved to stop for a hot chocolate! The rest of the day went smoothly and I soon learnt to relax on the roads looking ahead instead of at the drops off the side when they became narrow.

The next morning the fog had rolled in and the sky was releasing a soft flowing stream of snow. For the next three days the snow was relentless, a never ending flurry of white stuff. It was a surreal feeling to take a chair lift up through the snow covered trees and see the deep snow drifts.

Snowboarding in the fog is a bizzar experience, when you can’t see more than 5 metres in front of you and the sky and ground both appear in a white haze. It makes differentiating lumps and bumps almost impossible. At this point you realise how reliant you are on sight as a sense and that without it you feel very lost. This is when you have to tell yourself to relax, if you stiffen up every bump lands you on your bum! Relaxing and letting the board move beneath me I soon got into the flow of things and started to enjoy my white out experience. Everything is so still and you can hear so much more it’s like your ears become hyper sensitive to the sound of the crunchy piste or cracks of ice and the sound of others around you.

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When the skies cleared and the sun came out to play the scenery was remarkable. Everything was coated in a white vale and we immediately went off –piste to enjoy the newly fallen snow. I followed Martyn straight off the side of a run and ran straight into waist deep snow! However hard I tried I didn’t seem to be able to dig my way out, so ended up taking my board off my feet, digging it out and walked to a clearing.

stuck in the snow

Once the piste bashers had groomed the slopes I felt a weird sense of un-easiness as I could now see how steep the slopes were and every lump I had in my path ahead. It was funny to think when the visibility had been awful I had completely trusted my skill level and felt my own way down the slopes, but now my eyes were looking down I wasn’t convinced I could do runs that I had done when I hadn’t been able to see anything!

huskys

After another few days of more snow falling and lots of great days boarding we felt like a change of pace and mode of transport so Martyn and I booked a trip of Husky dog sledding.  I was expecting this to be a fun and less tiring activity, how wrong I was! My team of three Huskys Jack, Annie and Toffee were eager to pull the sled as we set off on our mini adventure. They  worked well and listened to my commands of ‘Okay!’ meaning Go, ‘Woah’ meaning stop and ‘Easy’ meaning, well take it easy! However whenever the slope turned uphill they found a new game to play, this was called “role in the snow and sit down and let Hannah do all the hard work pushing the sled” I suppose they felt that after pulling me down the hill it was only fair I did some of the work. Despite it being not the rest day we had anticipated it was great fund and a brilliant experience and one I would recommend!

husky sledding

That afternoon it was back to boarding and Martyn, who was teaching himself to ride switch and 360 taught me to 180 something I am still working on!

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The Milky Way ski area which is vast and covers 400 kilometres and straddles the Italian-French border. sunset sestriereThe resorts are staggered at very different altitudes, from Cesana at 1350m to Sestriere at 2035m meters. Sestriere is the highest resort in the Milky Way with some of the most difficult terrain, we spent a lot of time here and Sauze d’oulx where the runs were longer than in Sestriere and had a flowing feel to them which we both enjoyed.

Martyn off-piste

We spent our last day in Montegenvre (1850m) over the border in France the runs here were steep and small but the scenery was beautiful and it was great fun weaving across the mountains through Italy and France for the day.

sitting on top of the world

Two weeks in the snow covered mountains was awesome. I had pushed myself outside my comfort zone when the going got tough. I felt like a tiny ant in a very big world standing at 2035m, I felt exhilarated and a little scared on my first black run when it seemed like I was free falling through the air, but it all added to the satisfaction and self fulfilment of snowboarding.IMG_0094

 

There is something special about being in the mountains which makes you feel more alive. They are a place of beauty and adventure a place where you can feel free and live life to the full.

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Snowboarding Mayrhofen

Why travel? To me because, we do not remember days but moments in our lives when the ordinary is eclipsed by extraordinary adventure.

Flying into Innsbruck airport you get to appreciate the skill of pilots. Flanked by high unforgiving peaks we gently glide through the cloud cover towards to run way.

Arriving in Mayrhofen the coach meanders lightly through the skinny Austrian streets dropping weary travellers at their hotels. Finally we arrived at our stop, getting off the bus we follow our rep up a narrow street into what seemed like the back and beyond!

Hotel Alpine Garni Eder is nestled on the outskirts of Mayrhofen looking out onto the National Park on one side and down into the hustle and bustle of Mayrhofen on the other, offering the best of both worlds!

Our welcoming host, Christine can’t get the schnapps open quick enough to toast with her new guests!

Weary from a day of travelling we head to the Wald Cafe (near the ice rink in town) for a delicious three course meal, and yes more schnapps! Well fed and watered we call it a night.

Learning to walk, like a ‘boarder’

Trekking from our hotel carrying the kit for the day, we make our way to Ahorn lift, as the main Penken lift is overflowing with people by 9.30.

Learning how to walk like a snowboarder gets some getting used to! Its a bit like you have been on a horse for a long time and cant straighten your legs fully. It is also the only time when it is totally acceptable to wear clashing bright colours and of course the baggiest trousers you possibles can, I’m really regretting not packing a belt!

The 150 person capacity lift moves effortlessly up the side of the mountain taking us to the top, arriving into blistering sunshine surrounded by crisp white snow which glints in the suns rays. The runs from here all start in a massive bowl, perfect for beginners. Each run has a great expanse of space and it makes you feel like you can carve around the whole mountain on your own, an amazing feeling!

After a couple of runs we stop at the ice bar for a well earned drink. From here we travel down red 5, to the village its a great run with a little flat road, which catches me out landing hard on my bum, but my impact shorts are doing their job and I’m soon back on my feet.

Martyn Ahorn

The Penkenbahn lift which is a hive of activity first thing in the morning has now eased and we walked straight into a gondola to the top. This is one of the longest gondola rides I’ve ever been on. From Mayrhofen which has no snow, we rise over trees and a steep cliff where the snow starts to show its self and I can feel the anticipation growing in my chest.

Mayrhofen

Mayrhofen is a great place to start snowboarding from, it offers so many options from Ahorn, Penken and over to Hoberg and Rastkogel. There are many runs which can be linked together to make long swooping runs down the mountain.

Linking together reds and blues we eat up the piste.

Martyn and I explored the piste an linked as many runs as we could crossing them off along the way determined to do every run and then journey off-piste if conditions were okay.

My favourite run was Red 1 which led onto Red 11 a mixture of terrains were covered in this run and it was exciting exploring its many features. It started off flat but quickly you arrived at the first downhill which was narrow, but opened up into a large bowl were you could make the most of the space around you on long traverses, it then narrowed again before opening up for the final home run down to the lift where you could really build up speed, such an exhilarating feeling, cutting through the snow.

Mayrhofen

After the first two days we have completed nearly every red run on Penken and Ahorn and decide tomorrow to head further a field, and check out Eggalm, which I have been pronouncing ‘egglam’! This unfortunately turns out to be my last boarding day as events unfold that no one could of planned for!

Exploration at its finest, by bus and board.

We set off on the Greenline bus nice and early heading to Eggalm two stops from Mayrhofen. The bus stops in Rastkogel and then proceeds to its final destination, the Hintertux Glacier, somewhere we have been told to visit on friday, when the visibility is good. Today the visibility is no good, but as we came all this way it would be rude not too!

Hintertux Glacier

As expected the visibility is poor, even at 3250 m. So we plan our route down which links together to make it to the bottom as a group. Red 5, 8, 4 and then 3 to the gondola. As always Martyn leads the way, a good track on his iPod, and he forgets our plan sending him totally in the wrong direction! Ending up on red 11, not to get separated Hayley, Kris and I follow Martyn into the fog on another adventure.

Why I love the mountains.

Making it into the bowl of the glacier the weather clears just enough to show us that behind the mask of fog lay spectacular peaks topped with snow which tumble down to the valley floor. The feeling on the side of the mountain of total isolation but also being totally connected to nature is what keeps me coming back for more. Up here in the grips of the outdoors is where I feel most alive, its the balance between being on top of the world but so insignificant compared to the might of the mountain at the same time. Its a feeling only found from outdoor adventure and one I live for.

Gap in the cloud

The journey continues, in search of good weather!

Back on the bus our new plan is to head to Rastkogel get the lift up and use red 1 to board down into Eggalm in order to complete this peak.

The start of this run was an easy blue linking onto a red route which snaked through the trees into the village. I have never been great on flat roads. I spent my first season in Soll walking a lot of them!

Snowboarding Mayrhofen

This year my confidence has grown, along with my skill, however, as I found out on one icy corner not as much as I thought. Coming down on my toe edged I went to switch to heel as the board went flat and gained speed I over compensated digging in my heel edge hit some ice and landed with all my weight on my left elbow.

There are times in life when you feel like crying, but crying gets you no where. On the side of the mountain you just have to keep moving. 

I instantly new this was not just another knock, my arm popped and felt very painful. Luckily Martyn was sitting close by and came to move me out of the way of many skiers racing by. After a moment unable to board I got up and walked to the clearing where Hayley and Kris sat. My arm felt so bizarre, like it wasn’t attached to my body and I was sure it was dislocated. Having never dislocated or broken a bone before I was reassured by Martyn’s comments of “you probably just knocked it badly” after discussing with Martyn that no I could not ‘skate’ down on my board we started walking and Kris and Hayley went on to see if they could find help.

We walked for what seemed like an age before we got to a bar on the corner of the run I sat down feeling rather queezy. Martyn spoke to the bar manager in his best Austrian to call a taxi whilst Hayley helped me with the pain, a shot of schnapps and two paracetamol!

The taxi ride off the mountain was long and winding every pot hole made me feel like my arm was being ripped further away from my body.

We reached a small hospital in Lanersbach relieved to be out of the taxi. The next few hours were a blur. I went into a small room where a lovely nurse gave me Tramadol before several X-rays. I then was put to sleep, with a dislocated and cracked elbow. Good night world.

Dislocated Elbow

Waking up with a bump.

Waking up to bright lights and people speaking Austrian, was all together bizzare, like waking up inside a dream and not quite knowing whats real. I was soon reminded of what had just happened which brought me back to Earth with a thud.

The next day was arduous after spending a considerable amount of time in a doctors waiting room my 15 minute appointment cost 70 Euros! After saying good bye to Martyn at the lift the consequences of some silly fall felt very real.

It’s not whether you get knocked down, its whether you get up that counts.

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Friday was a better day Martyn treated me to a steak Thursday evening (which he had to cut for me as I couldn’t use my hand) and today was a glorious sunny day, one which I was determined to enjoy as we travelled back to the Hintertux glacier where the day had began when I had my accident.

Martyn and Hannah

Today is one of those days where if you let them your emotions take over and the fact your holiday is ruined (as well as the start of you mountain bike racing season, but lets not mention that right now) may turn you into a stormy dark cloud.

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Not today though, I released that inner child we all have kicking about who said, Oi why not build a snow man and chill out! You know what, that was a great plan. I stood and admired the shear beauty of my surroundings watching people take there first turn on skis and board down the glacier watching the magic of the snow as it allowed safe passage down the mountain to the young and the old.

Hintertux snowman

My snowman may have had no eyes but he was the coolest snowman at 3250m on that Friday. Heading back down to Martyn we had our last mountainside lunch of curried sausage and fries before I sat and took pictures of Martyn playing off piste.

Martyn off piste

Although I was gutted to not be able to follow and play around off-piste the time sitting in the snow was well spent on reflection of how you never know whats round the corner. You never know when you might catch the wrong edge and this is why I feel its so important to live the life you dream of, if the doors you want to walk through aren’t open, go find the key.

Hintertux

Memories of Thailand

Sitting in the UK dreaming and planning a trip to Thailand was great fun. Waking up with the realisation that you are now in Thailand was a whole other level of incredible excitement, and after long nights/days sleep in Bangkok our adventure begun with a 4am plane journey.

We arrived in the mist of the rainforest, quickly stashed our bags in our room and ventured out into the jungle, it was incredible. I’ve never seen so many trees and flowers and so much water! A moment of not looking where I was going ended up with a leach clinging on to my big toe, lucky a quick reflex and determined not to end up having to have it burnt off, enabled me to shake the little bugger off! We trekked to a waterfall which was stunning.

Thailand Rainforest Kao Sok

On the way back from the waterfall two Thai boys on mopeds roared up to us and stopped to ask if we wanted a lift. Deciding the walk seemed rather far, we went for it and hopped on, I shot off into the rainforest on the back of a moped as I watched Martyn’s (my partner) moped slowly drift from view as we were going much faster. I thought about what I learnt at school about not talking to strangers, now I’m on the back of some guy’s bike in a foreign country, probably not the best idea in the world!

Arriving safely back to two feet again the language barrier didn’t seem to stop my new Thai friend and I chatting whilst we waited for the others to catch up.

The next day we went elephant trekking, elephants are mystical creatures, so big and awkward looking and yet graceful and friendly at the same time. Sitting on top of our new elephant friend we trekked through the plantations of rubber plants and bananas. The elephant’s master walked alongside and shouted things at the elephant who responded accordingly, very well trained elephants!

Elephant trekking

No More Jungle Adventures
Leaving the jungle was a sad day, we had made some great friends both human and animal! But our adventure went on as we now traveled to Koh Yao Noi which means Little Long Island (I will let you work out why) Arriving at the jetty from Phuket we rented a scooter to get around, this was a new learning curve for me having not really ever been on and never driven a scooter, Martyn picked one with gears and assured me he would ‘teach’ me how to ride it!

thailand

Ulmars nature lodge was a picturesque yoga retreat on the side of the island. The huts were made of bamboo and inside there was just enough room to walk down the side of the bed to the ‘ensuite’ by ‘ensuite’ I mean a toilet sink and shower in a concreted area out the back!

We had come to Koh Yao Noi to deep water solo, which is where you climb and then when you get tired or as high as you can go you jump into the water. Frustratingly the first two days on the island the rain had held us up and although we were enjoying the tranquility of the island, where there seemed to be only a handful of people, the need to adventure was starting to make our paradise island a little too small.

Koh Yao Noi

I woke the next morning half expecting to hear the pitter patter of rain drops on the roof of our hut but there was nothing, silence, I peaked out of the curtain to see beautiful blue sky and not a cloud in sight.

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Wolfing down breakfast and jumping on our bike after checking twice that we had packed everything, we made it to the jetty in time to grab some lunch (fried chicken on rice with some kind of vegetable, pineapple made into handy to eat sticks and soup in a plastic bag). The long tail boat chugged out into the calm, inky blue water. The scenery was breath taking in every direction there was lush green islands and sandy beaches.

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Rock Climbing and Diving

After a while the boat slowed and we helped to pull sit on kayaks off the roof of the boat and paddled up to the first climb. Staring up it didn’t look like much and I felt confident about climbing. It wasn’t until I watched Martyn try and balance between the wall and moving kayak which kept getting picked up by the swell and pushed into the wall that I realised this was no walk in the park. The rocks up close where gnarly and sharp from years of sea crashing into them. Finally he made the leap and shouted back that he was okay so I got out the camera to film him, he made it look so easy, but then he tended to make everything look easy. He traversed across and up about 8 -9 metres and then shouted to me to take a picture as he jumped.

Deep watersoloing

My turn! As the kayak got closer to the wall I pulled on my climbing shoes and assessed the wall in front for the best route up, suddenly staring up at the wall it looked huge and I couldn’t see how on earth I couldn’t make the jump Martyn had, standing up on the kayak nose and touching the rock it was wet as well as sharp. “Oh great! what a barrel of laughs this is going to be ! ” I thought, as the swell made me practice the splits as my hands were perched on the rock. With one foot below and the other tantalisingly close to taking a dip I made the decision to go for it and with a leap jumped to the rocks.

deep water soloing

Scaling the wall was a lot easier now and I quickly progressed around and up where I had seen Martyn go. I decided not to go so high, with my Dads voice in my head saying “just remember once you have climbed up you have to jump off”. Not being a fan of usual abseiling when climbing this was sound advice as when I turned to jump off, even from around 3 metres up it looked scary! I decided to traverse a little further round and down slightly, this seemed a lot less scary but still I couldn’t bring myself to let go of the rock. Now with an audience of Martyn, the captain of the boat we arrived on and our guide, and with lots of encouragement I shut my eyes, held my nose and jumped.

Overall Thailand gets an A from me. It’s such an epic country and there’s a whole load of things to see and do. The people were also so, so friendly and always seem eager to help where they can.

If anyone has any questions or would like some insights into arranging a trip to Thailand and what to do when getting there please let me know in the comments below.