January 26, 2014

The Hike of My Life - 4 Days in the Knuckles Range (Part 4)

(From Bambarella through Kalupahana along Kalu-ganga to Rambukoluwa and Pallegama)
Day 4

We were determined to find a way to get to the bottom of the 9th water fall. The night before, each of us agreed to take two-hour shifts to guard the tent, but by the end of the night it had changed, at least two of us were awake the whole time and spent time talking (I'm just gonna drop the fact that we were too scared to take the watch alone :) 

Since our food supplies were running out and mostly because we had no clue when we'd be able to reach human habitat, we decided to start the journey as early as 6 am after having a little breakfast and packing up the tent. To reach the bottom, had go around the water fall and it was a slippery slope, but actually that made us go faster using tree branches as a support, It felt like flying. More that two hours of climbing down, found the river, but it was little further away from the bottom of the fall. Under the circumstances we didn't bother to go back and see the water fall, instead we moved forward along the river.

I suppose I don't need to explain in words the paradise we were in for one who sees the pictures below, as a matter of fact, I believe it's not even possible to express in words what we just witnessed. 

Welcome to the Paradise.....

More waterfalls along the way...

Elevation was around 600 meters, we were still going forward with a moderate decent, but it was easier, jumping rock to another along the river, after three days we were like professionals. "Rivers are highways in the jungle" that is so true. The river got widen as we moved forward. By accident Dulitha discovered a Hump-nosed viper(පොලොන්තෙලිස්සා) coiled on a rock. These are moderately venomous species that are quite common around the dry zone. 

Hump-nosed Viper - පොලොන්තෙලිස්සා 
A look back at the direction we came from.
Far away is Thunhisgala

This is the last waterfall we came across.

Giant pools all the way.....

The river became wider and wider, It was just past noon and something we did not anticipated happened. River was flowing straight, we could see far way along the river and that's when we noticed someone bathing in the river. After 4 days, for us it was like a miracle. We just quickened our steps and when we got closer it became even more miraculous.  It was a Buddhist monk. He had been meditating in that area for quite some time. Finally we were able to figure out where we were.  I got so thrilled that I forgot to take a photo. At that time we felt like mother nature was helping us.  

Anyway the monk showed us a foot path leading to the village, Rambukoluwa, it was around an hour of walking. After offering some food left in our bags we bid farewell and headed to the village. After a half hour walk, the paddy fields of Rambukoluwa were visible and the first structure we came across was the village school. Rambukoluwa is a little village with good hospitable people. They even invited us for lunch but we had to respectfully decline since there was about 10 kilometers left to go to reach Pallegama. But I have to mention the nice kid to who volunteered to show us around  the village, This time I did not forget to take a photo of him, actually he posed to the photo like a pro :)

No more foot paths, from Rambukoluwa there's a paved way, more like a jeep track which eventually joins the road from Matale to Pallagama via Revestone, But we still had to walk a long long way. So we bid farewell to a village full of nice people and headed for Pallegama. 

Paddy fields of  Rambukoluwa Village

Foot path leading to the village Rambukoluwa

Paddy fields of  Rambukoluwa Village

Rambukoluwa Village School

Entering Rambukoluwa Village....

Little henchman of the village head and Our Guide around the village....

Road from Rambukoluwa to Pallegama
The road from Matale to Pallegama via Riverstone

We reached Pallegama at about 4.30 pm, from there on took a bus to Dambulla and returned home with memories of a life time.
So here's the end of the four day hike, one hell of an experience for me and my friends.

Thank you for reading..

The crew from the left - Udana, Buddhila, Dulitha, me, Supun

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