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!

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