August 31, 2012

Off-season Journey to Sri Pada(අවාරයේ දෙදිනක ශ්‍රීපා ගමන)

Amidst strikes, out of bound universities me and my friends, at home spending not-so-enjoyable free time with fading future hopes :'(  we decided to free ourselves by doing what we love most-exploring and hiking. So here it is, our first hike, a two-day off-season journey to Sri Pada aka Adam's Peak.

There are 6 routes to reach Sri Pada. Among them the most popular route and of course the easiest and probably the one that I hate most is the Hatton-Nallathanni trail which has now become a 99 percent concrete paved short way. Since we sought some adventure we chose Erathna-Kuruwita trail. More than 80 percent of the journey through this trail is dense undisturbed forest and if you want to stay close to nature while you travel this is one of the best.
It was almost 6 in the morning when we got off the bus (route no.99 Badhulla-Colombo) at Kuruwita with a crew of five, had our breakfast and got some directions from a local. From there the town closest to Sri Pada is Erathna. Fortunately we could catch the bus to Adavikanda which lies in between Kuruwita and the trail head and get closer to our destination. Within one hour the bus reached its final stop, Adavikanda (It was 7.45 am) and there on it was a 20 minute walk to the trail head.

The trail head, it was a tiny footpath. Beyond this point there were no civilization until we reached the peak. So we took our maps out and had GPS ready. It was a 13km journey, the elevation at the trail head was 300 meters and trail end was 2250 meters. That is almost 2 kms straight upwards to reach the peak.

Right from the beginning it was a continuous climb. We could clearly see 'Kuruganga' flowing down the valley right besides the trail. As we climbed up it was just a matter of time when we found out that the leeches had already begun to trouble us, so stopped by a little resting place we found, removed those blood suckers. It was only about a 45 minute hike from the starting point and we had an added crew member! It was doggy dog! and believe me when I say that this guy turned out be a real low-cost guide for us and stayed with us throughout the entire journey till the end.

So the resting place, this is where we met a guy, a technician working in the hydro power plant, water collection center(located 2km from the trail head, there were 2 working 2-day shifts). He told us to
apply salt as a precaution against the leeches and truly it was like a magical repellent that the leeches were trying to move away from the salt.