Monday, June 30, 2014


It was an hour past midnight when my fellow adventuress left Colombo that was right about time I finished packing up our tents and all the rest of the camping gear, having  myself come home, to Kandy only at around  ten or so late at night after a gruesome five hour journey from Colombo. I was tired and I hit to bed to grab a couple hours of sleep, my counterparts who avoided the weekend traffic came to my house in just about two hours or so. Soon after a few sips of milk we all got into Pathum’s station wagon and went our way about through the Kandy town passing kundasale and Victoria along the Kandy mahiyanganaya road and right after we passed the hunnasgiriya town we took a left on to a by road which took us to kalugala village, all part of the vast knuckles range in the central part of Sri Lanka. There we met Hinibanda, and his son whom work the fields growing crops on a typical day but this weekend he would be our chief guide on our quest.
After freeing up our bowels  we started on our hike up to yahangala plain, we all had somewhat heavy bags all packed with items necessary for the next two days, I was hoping against all odds that it won’t be a cold night as I did not pack my sleeping bag this time thanks to yohan my good friend making a pillow out of it :P the two guides took steady pace but we would soon fall out, may be our bags were heavier but even they had one sack full of utensils, soon we climbed up to the plain and glimpse of yahangala came into the picture! It was sure a site that I have never seen. The landscape looked very different even foreign at times as the lush green grass stole much of the space but few dimples of trees that made it a perfect plain. On our right looking down was what we could see the dry zones of Sri Lanka, it was harvest time I believe as the paddy fields looked brown and dusty, the haze didn’t let us have a picture perfect view but it was still a great one.
We hiked on to a cave which was the shelter for the night; this had been used by ancient Sri Lankans as a gutter was chiseled out to keep the rain away, which you can see in many caves especially on the dambulugala viharay. It made a perfect campsite as there was a tiny brook which ran almost past it, we were quick to go have a look and soon Dinuk wanted to dam it up so that we can build a small pool of water big enough to bucket out water to wash ourselves, it proved to be a good investment as we later enjoyed the cold water baths in fact I had many of them :P  as I went back to the cave I found yujith and pathum dozing away under the cool but before any one got into heavy sleeping we got a fire going and then cooked lunch, after eating a nice lunch we all went into an afternoon nap. 
It later got us thinking that we all woke up at the same time for the same reason which was the ground we slept on got extremely cold all of a sudden I can’t really explain but that’s how the nap time ended. Our guides on the other hand was quite keen to summit yahangala the same day, surly we didn’t think like wise as the traveling from Colombo has sure taken a toll on everyone. We decided instead to do a small stroll around the area.
We walked the breath of the plain to the edge where the kalugala village and its paddy fields sat right below us there I was able to see “knuckles mountains” far yonder and I was told that the meemuray village sits right below it. We were there for most of the late afternoon most of the time I was eyeing on yahangala itself which we needed to climb the next day, it was a beautiful giant rock which to me looked as if it was held up by glue and on the verge of crumbling down. God’s Glory and his works of creation always amazes me!! I sometimes wonder whether he spent a lot of time on very detail but yea Our God is beyond time so I wouldn’t 
We walked back to campsite passing yuj’s bog spot; Yuj never fails to bring some topic of this sort on our adventures. We all took turns to have a bath with the water that collected it was nice and cool J and very refreshing, I do enjoy my baths out in the wild! While a couple of us pitched the two tents under torch light the other two started preparing dinner!  Surly this was a camping trip where we decided to cook more often, it was surly a nice treat! Eating warm food do brings in a nice boost. Soon afterwards we found ourselves in our tents trying to catch some sleep, snuggling in wasn’t an option because I had two sheets to which I was very thankful as the ground was very cold which spreads all over you. I remember waking up thinking our tents were on fire, that was a nice funny topic in the morning.
Leaving the morning chatter we soon started off with our quest that made us drive a 100miles and a half a day’s trek, spend a night in a nice cozy cave at the bottom of the very mountain, Yahangala that stood in front of us to be climbed. I was soon starting to be a bit worried as the two of our guides always manage to have two opinions as to how best to climb up to the top, I learned as we were climbing that both of them have peaked only once before. We stepped through grass that are a good feet taller than I they are razor sharp and leave plenty of cuts on your arms, I felt a bit lucky to have packed the raincoat as I got into it which protected me a great deal. After the tall grass cleared away we faced a rock face which stood perpendicular and extremely hard to climb, I wasn’t surprised when the two guides took two different ways to get to the top, with difficulty we managed to climb the rock face this was only the beginning, scaling of rock faces later became our very thing that took us to the top. On our descend this rock face proved to be interesting and challenging as we all hugged a vine to climb down, I held that vine for my very dear life felt like Tarzan but surly I wasn’t the man for that role.

Our joy of scaling the rock face was soon overshadowed by the task ahead as pathum found his slippers of little, actually no use as he abandoned them for the rest of the climbing. I was extremely proud of the sheer commitment Pathum brought in him, with no complaining whatsoever in spite of his fears of heights, he did it barefoot and descended on his butt, descending might have been funny at times but respect all the way!  I was scared for our crew’s safety as we were scaling up the mountain; at times we only had a few inches that kept our feet on rock and the rest of the body leaning against the giant rock face helplessly hoping beyond all odds that, that inch would keep us tumbling down like humpty.
I never believed in seeing the top instead believed in each step I took, scaling each rock face brought us to yet another rock face that looked even more impossible, I constantly prayed that Christ would be our guide on this trip and take us safely up the mountain and back. Our water was running out, there was a cloud cover that looked like it would eat up the whole mountain and swallows our tracks that we needed to get back home. The element of having to turn back was very real and was even in an option in my head even though I didn’t share it with the rest of the crew. At one point pathum stopped I don’t think none of us had the assurance of saying “it’s going to be okay lets push off again”, we didn’t know whether it is going to get any better, our guides by this time proved to be extremely good at scaling rock but may be not really the fact that they know the way up. Halfheartedly in my own words I told pathum “see that rock line climb until then and let’s see the possibilities”. We were soon on our feet and to my disbelief that rock line proved to be the end of scaling, and even more to see pathum way up the mountain on his own! We were all surprised in a happy sense.”

With the happy jokes returning on pathum’s revival we were all climbing up the mountain, and as sudden as it could be we were on top of the mountain, and the threatening clouds seamed to vanish into thin air. It was a site I have never seen before, the other mountain range so close to us right under our noses standing tall quite the steep once, not the usual I have seen before. But was reminded of the once I saw while on my way to Big Bear lake in CA with akki and ammi.  I was tired and exhausted, but the view and the joy of conquering swept away the fatigue. And to my surprise we even saw a few rabbits jumping around on the mountain.

We all sipped into a few drops of water as we spent some time on the mountain tops, regaining our breath back, only knowing we had to get down, get down safe. Climbing down has always been the tougher one for me but may be not this time even though our muscles were very week and at times they fail to respond in giving the support needed, we managed to climb down safe. Not forgetting that I did have a moment where my heart simply skipped a beat as I slipped down but I bolted my arm up helplessly to grab anything around it, happy to know it hooked itself to a crack along the rocks that kept me from snowballing down the mountain.

No adventure comes easy, this was not the easiest, as much as I know the dangers, would love to go again, again to Yahangala, to the wilderness!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bolgoda lake

Since it was just me and my father I hardly prepared myself, I knew my father usually does his homework very well. However I was quite eager to get my hands with the grip of the paddles. Yes it was a kayaking trip we went, in the Bolgoda Lake.

We started at around half past eight, started paddling into the Bolgoda lake from the Panadura River.
it didn’t take long for the strain on your shoulders to be noticed. I must admit that my shoulder strength is very minimum.

The paddling continued we soon managed to paddle in unison, and with steady float all there were was to get to grips with the beauty around. It was fusion of nice looking concrete structures and the nature. There were fish jumping up may be even two feet off the water, I had no clue as to what prompted them but yea it was the wild giving us an animal show.
We soon went under the bridge and were heading towards what looked like a small island, indeed it was! I jumped out of the kayak scouted around was dismayed by all the littering but yet it proved a great place! It’s hard to describe!  From there we took a left where we passed the rowing club. It was a pity to see hundreds of boats just piled up waiting to rowed and sailed. We paddled towards San Michel’s went around it and then slowly paddled towards what they called The Island. This was my favorite part of the kayaking trip, there were nelum(lotus may be) flowers, I mean hundreds of them most were white while a few were pink in color. Few patches of the pink flowers among the rest of the white flowers made it a story books picture, or more rather a perfect shot for the best of the movies.

Among the pretty flowers were a pelican looking out for its brunch, softly and steadily we paddled into the bird, the pelican was getting ever so close may be even ten fifteen feet at times, what a site it was! We followed it for quite a long while and I really cherished it!

But our happy times were in the cloud cover and eventually pouring rain! It rained quite hard I don’t think that we could even see fifty feet away from us, this is when I knew that I didn’t do my homework, even though thathi too didn’t have a raincoat in the kayak I at least saw his one in the car :P. I felt the chill running down my body, But guess what? The Good Lord who always cares and loves showed us the perfect place to find shelter. It was a raised up water house where we went right under it and found shelter and stayed away from the elements. Soon after the showers we paddled back onto that little island where we had our lunch. It was indeed a great kayaking trip! Sadly I never took my camera hope old age wouldn’t fade away the crystal clear memories of mine J

Monday, September 3, 2012


Dried up Kalawawa Tank
After having a some tasty Kiribath(milk rice) my father and I walked over to the Kalawawa, it was a great site from the time go! The water was pretty low as this was the dry season and this gave my father a great idea of walking all around kalawawa, I looked as far as I could and going around was quite a task ahead, any way as we all know that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” we stepped into our journey around the lake!

The age old trees that still stood its ground over hundreds of years were seeing jutting out of the water while only a few fishermen dared to go 

fishing in there canoes under the wild winds that swept across the lake! It was a bit sunny at first my father had a hat and I had my natural hat, which was an overgrown bit of hair :P anyway we continued our walk not really knowing what might come up ahead.

Guess what?.. it was a wild elephant gazing by itself only a few hundred yards away! I love elephants but I knew this was a wild elephant! And it is generally known that loners don’t welcome too many guest, it was only yesterday that we saw two big herds of wild elephants while on a jeep safari in Mineriya National Forest,  however seeing a wild elephant 

while on foot is far more rewarding than seeing a 
Sunset on the way back
herd of wild elephants within a comfort zone of a jeep! We walked around the tank looking over the shoulder just to make sure that no elephant is charging at us, I was able to capture some magnificent pictures of the landscape right around the kalawawa tank. There were quite a bit of wildlife flocks of birds, lizards and herds of buffaloes and cows. The cows were not really wild even though they were roaming like wild and free! 

We knew that at one point we might have to wade across to the other river bank, but it turned out to be quite a many times, this was because water was released into kalawawa and quite a bit of water was 
flowing into the tank, but this created a perfect delta

Wading across Kalawawa
that made our trek very much more interesting. I had to take off my shoes many times however I loved the feeling when walking on fresh soggy mud, so I opted to walk bare feet for quite a distance.  

after almost four hours of walking adjacent to the wild side of the kalawawa tank, we finally came “close” to the tank bund that would take us back to our car, but to our dismay we realized that quite a volume of water separated us from our bank and the bund up front, but as always the Lord provided us with some fishermen who directed us to that exact spot from which we could wade through with ease. With a bit more wading which submerged my father fully and me up to my chin, we ended our great trek around the Kalawawa tank.

August 2012 with thathi

Kaludiya Pokuna - Kandalama

Ruins of a temple in kaludiya pokuna
I packed a couple of t shirts, my camera,  GPS,  and the first aid kit and off  I went with my father on a small trip to the dry zone,  We first drove ourselves to Kaludiya Pokuna, dambulla. It is an arcilogical site slightly off the tourist map, so it was just us who were there and Mahinda who happened to be the caretaker, and he was nice enough to take us around. We passed a stupa (religious dome like structure) which was in ruins; however the workmanship of men a thousand years ago was really a work of art. He continued taking us around the site and talked of the many rock caves that people in the past used for meditation. We were all excited about it and asked him to lead us over, and so he did lead us to 7 caves out of around 100 odd caves scattered around a 187 acre land.

The caves were huge in size some even could host a well over a dozen who needed refuge either from the scourging heat or the monsoon rains! And on the 7th cave it even had a wall that still stood over the years, the plastering used was still holding on to the wall, I just couldn’t believe it!

Sleeping Giant - kandalama lake
The Sri Lankan history is simply marvelous, any way 
I was keener on getting to the top of the mountain,

 as the peak of the mountain was the “nose” of the set of mountains that made up the “sleeping Giant” however Mahinda was not too keen as he had never done it before, so I guess I have to leave that for the next trip. 
Kandalama lake

However my father and i leaving Mahinda took off on a small trek to the top of another mountain,  we were pulling our self on a sheer rock face, to my surprise I saw a small pond full of water , this was a pleasant surprise, passing all that we reached the top where we spend a few moments gazing out into the yonder , we could see the Kandalama lake right infront of our eyes , it was a great sight!

Having spent some time up there we climbed down and ready for the next destination!

Small trek in kaludiya pokuna, dambulla  with thathi
august 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grand Canyon - Rd trip(P1)

So for along long time I wanted to do a road trip, and finally with my sister and Sashin we planned a road trip, I knew even though we had a luxury of taking a car with a big boot we had to take only whats nessery so I packed my clothes into the smallest bag possible! Yea it wasn’t a lot of clothes, may be a dozen pieces(undies included :P), my sister had a big list of food to take, it was tough trying to convince her to not take so much, which ended up me giving up and letting her stock up whatever she wants! However I must say all the meals throughout the trip were excellent!
I am not the very patient of guys, however I kind of liked the packing up part, where we had to take every inch of space available to the maximize, helping hands from akki and sashin were great! And they both managed to pack their belongings into one bag each, and yea plus a couple of small bags ;). But let me tell you over all our packing was just fantastic, we managed to putt everything we needed, from sleeping bags, tents, cooking utensils, charcoal and food to one boot and yea the extra passenger seat ;). We were all set to go!
So with turning on the GPS which sashin brought we started off on our long journey up ahead! The GPS was a great gadget to have as it substituted the need to have a co-driver, this meant that I had the luxury to chill through out almost the entire road trip! The two drivers for the trip were my sister and sashin! They both showed great expertise in driving!

Soon we were driving towards the Grand Canyon, the GPS read 400 odd miles for the next turn, so it was a long drive! We passed miles and miles with no civilization, however we did pass strange types of mountains they were strange because the rocks which sat on them were pitch black! Sometimes we could see glimpse of what Grand Canyon could look along the way, but I expected more of it, I mean I expected the geography to start looking like the Grand Canyon! But No! that wasn’t the case.
As we climbed higher in elevation, things started to become green J it was a nice to see greenery after so long! It was only once before this trip that I saw, nice green forests here in the U.S, this was so preety, as we could see plains of greenery, ranchers scattered around, and the forests were mostly consisted of pine I think.
We finally reached the grand canyon village, sometimes I have the knack to sense the surroundings but this time my gut never even told me how close I am, even though in my mind I knew we were only a few miles away, at least that’s what the GPS told us! So with excitement we went to Mather parking lot! We saw so many cars parked!  Let me say we saw at least  20 + vehicle plates from different states (no exaggeration), Sashin who has a weird but cool hobby of collecting vehicle plates was ecstatic, he almost unbolted them right of the car, (jkg) , the vehicle plates did distract us a little but I had no clue as to where is grand canyon!
The Joy of being surprised by nature is tough for a guy of this nature to put into words! Its simply overwhelming, nature has surprised me from the early childhood, I must say both ends of the stick, remember how the pretty little caterpillar turned into an even more prettier butterfly? The feeling is like that! Even though I have seen hundreds of pictures of the Grand Canyon, Man! When I saw it to my own eyes it was simply marvellous. I believe in God and I believe that he created the universe with his own hands, and when I look at the grandeur of his creation, I just fall back in awe of his creation!

So we kept wandering along the south rim of the Grand Canyon for a while, and like my father says it is “Grand indeed”. Any way after sometime we decided it’s time to hit back to the campsite, there we pitched tent for the night, since there were fire restrictions on, we had to settle for a tasty sandwich prepared by my sister, one main requirement of sashin was to have a shower everyday :P , so we went to the showers, sashin took a shower while I opted not to have one! It wasn’t all because it was $2, ok I wasn’t being stingy Its kind of going  against my camping principals :P any way after washing my face and feet we all got snuggled up in our sleeping bags for a good night sleep!

so early the next morning I woke every one up for our hike down the grand canyon, we took the south kibab trail, we were not planning to go down right to the bottom, so even I took it lightly and didn’t wake up early as we were told to by the rangers, any way the delay, later thought us that “yea it gets hot down in the canyon during day time!”. So with few water bottles and snacks we set off down the canyon! Not every where you get to hike down first!

it was a lovely trail down the canyon! The canyons on the other side were simply amazing! I spotted a row of canyons like a profile of sharp teeth on a wolf’s jaw; they were so alike, it amazed me! Each canyon jutting out just like the one next to it! We continued down the trail we were all taking lots of pictures! I try my very best to not take lots of pictures, but sometimes the beauty makes me capture pictures right and left! We took many brakes along the way down, In fact one sign read “going down is optional going up is mandatory” any way I rested the option of turning back with sashin and akki, Trust me they were both really good!

One of the last resting points for us before heading back up was a nice flat stone jutting out of the canyon with a nice little shade! The break was far too much so I decided to take a small nap, however soon a fellow hiker who was hiking from the bottom of the canyon met with us and decided to share the shade with us! He was fatigued and my sister was nice enough to offer some water to him! Trust me he deserved it, since I had the bag with water I got up to give my ¾ of full bottle, but my sister decided to give a whole bottle, in that moment I wished she didn’t do that but in the meantime was proud for her nice act, however I believe a hiker doesn’t mind drinking water of a  fellow hiker’s bottle! Anyway he had great stories! He even suggested that we go down a little further ahead and we did! It was nice but as we went down I realized that I left the camera where we last rested, so I sprinted back up tasting how tough the hike up is going to be! However leaving the camera gave me a great opportunity to take a great picture with the other two as tiny as ants,

And soon I caught up with the other two where we took a group picture, and then off we started our long hike back! It was tough, the hot sun beating on us and the elevation didn’t help us either, stops became more frequent and the water started to become scares, I was in a tug a war where deciding am I to hike up at my own pace or go with the other two! We were definitely running out of water akki had half a bottle and I had another half a bottle, sashin wanted a sip of water, and then I decided to leave the bottle with him and hike up as fast as I could as I knew that running water is available at the top of the trail head. After only a few minutes I realized I see none of them tailgating me, and that’s when I decided may be I should go up to the top fill some bottles and come back for them, so I accelerated myself and with no stoppage I soon reached the top, right when the other hiker too finished his long hike! I had three empty bottles which I filled up and with no time to waste I started running down the hill! Every one coming up were surprised to see me dashing down! I’m sure they were thinking “is he out of his mind to run back in this hot sun” any way not far away from the trailhead, I met with sashin and my sister!  Who were in need of some water! I’m sure they wouldn’t have died without the water I brought back, but they truly appreciated the fact that they have plenty of water! I guess all three of us will appreciate water more, especially my sister! With that wonderful experience, we head back to camp, and it was warmer than the previous day so I was glad that sashin had the screen door openJ , It was a great a night!

Grand Canyon – road trip part one 8th-9th july 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mount Baldy

the gap that was in sight through out
Three Weeks ago I was getting ready to climb mount baldy with a group  of hikers, I was so excited as the the reviews promised a strenuous hike, and the peak being 10064 feet off sea level, I have never climbed that far, and that made me really want to do it!, how ever the whole week I was sick, and finally the night before I called it off! But my hopes soon started to piece together during my hike on Mount Wilson. I was almost at the top when I was met with three ladies who were hiking together, and Susan, right after invited me to climb mount baldy with them as they already had plans to climb it, I was overjoyed! And that’s how my story on Mount baldy starts.
The Pros

My sister dropped me early in the morning where 
Susan and her Friend Dayan, picked me up and off we drove up our selves, up to the trailhead which stood itself at 6200feet, it was early in the morning, may be 7am. Susan had extra trekking poles and she offered me to have a go, and I gladly picked it as she told me the other day how it helped her when she almost gave up hiking back in the day, and with that, off we went up to climb Mount Baldy!

Devil's Backbone

On top of Mount Baldy

Susan and Dayan are pro hikers, they hike every week and trust me they are fast! Even back in Sri Lanka I’m not the fastest, so it was quite a challenge to keep up with them J, but I was happy with myself as in the first half I kept up with them with no problem what so ever. The mountains are simply pretty I wish everyone sees them! Just like I do, the trail exposed our self to this gap on our left which gave such a great view right throughout the trail! I simply loved it!

The next half was the real challenge, I was tailgating Dayan who is three times my age believe me when I say even a little more! Hiking here in the USA have thought me that there is no retirement age for a hiker, as the other day I met a couple who are 82 and 85! J . any way so we went may be for the next hour or two with no rests at all, I stopped to remove my jacket and that lapse never allowed me to get as close to Dayan I were before, there were few times when I just couldn’t go any further and I stole 10 second breaks just to catch the breath, I took some of the same old medicine I take whenever I get tired, that Is just look above look around and see the beauty in the air! It helped as the climb was no easy. I recalled the phrase “when the going gets tough the tough gets going”, however I’m no tough guy and my strength is in Christ alone!

Every step was a achievement but I knew the prize awaits me at the top! So I pushed onwards and then!!! I reached the Top!! I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was just gorgeous, a full 360 view and I dint know where to look it was that beautiful, so I took some time looking over. It was a little windy so I put on my jacket and got myself seated on one of those Native American thingies, it was acting as a wind breaker and in it we made our selves home and dived into our lunch  I had a sandwich and a banana, and with that off we went back, this time a different trail, it was called the “devil’s backbone” and indeed it was a devil’s backbone lol, but it was a great experience having to walk right on top of the edge where the drop was not just on one side but on both! It was a fast pace hike down, I was doing my bale as usual trying to stay in one piece, we were back by about 12 30 I think, this was probably the fastest but I simply enjoyed the Mount Baldy hike! Truly amazing!

july 2012 with Susan and Dayan
Top of Mount Baldy

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Whitney Canyon Park

Santa Clarita Vally i guess ;)

Whitney Canyon Park, not really where I wanted to go but never the less it had two trails so I didn’t care, so after saying good bye to my sister I took one random road leading me up the hill, the trail wasn’t marked really well but hehe in my country its hardly marked :P so this was great! I was eying for the top of the mountain but the further I climbed up I realized the trail I’m on doesn’t seem to lead me up there, how ever I kept on climbing! On my right was a big cliff I wanted to go up there too but thought may be next time. But things went on so that I some how got onto a trail which took me right on the edge of the cliff!!
Cliff of Whitney Canyon Park
walkin on top of it

walking on the edge makes it a lot more exciting than it should! As danger lingers only a step or two away, but Its hard to imagine a sober man walking or rather falling off a cliff, I’m not writing off any possibilities I am merely stating that it’s a not a every day act!  I soon found myself on a basin made out of sheer rock where I took refuge to dig into the meal my sister made for me, I enjoyed the food over looking the santa clarita vally (if I’m not mistaken). While having my brunch I was very eager to locate the little mountain right above Harts park I climbed a few weeks back I knew its somewhere close by but I just couldn’t recognize it, but after some intense look outs I managed to spot the new library building which was coming up then I followed that to located the tiny hill off Hart’s park! I simply love to spot things from above.

with my brunch done with, I started heading back, I started to realize that my dear loved shoe is giving a way, however I simply loved hiking in it, I have put on many miles on that rugged grey boots which I bought in petta for only 2200 bucks! Thanks to Ref that is! J

Hiking in the whitney Canyon park by myself :P
29th june 2012

This is where i digged into my brunch