Have you had your plans gone totally wrong? Did you ever have to re-plan everything instantly? Well, this is one of those stories.
Whenever I went on camping for the past year it always came down to one story when it comes to transportation. 99 Badulla Bus !! After passing the Rathnapura Area, all one can see are the mountains and breathtaking landscapes. Since our journey started at around 9.30am from Colombo, I knew a havoc awaits towards the end of the day. Now, I, being a moderate camper with plenty of experience knew there was no point in rushing but to go with the flow and enjoy every bit of the journey.
The bus was one of those luxury buses that usually goes on the highway. Since it’s a long ride, paying a few extra bucks didn’t bother me at all, but if I knew, what would happen next day, well I might have thought twice about this.
The long ride ended in Bandarawela, the place where we bought goods to survive, food & other items.
By the time we had lunch it was 4 pm. It was apparent by then that the original plan to visit Pilkington & Millenium Point, then hikes to Diyaluma Falls is a bust given that there was not enough time. That make us get into a bus that goes straight to Diyaluma Falls.
Since the original plan was dropped and our timing went haywire, the only option was to climb up to Diyaluma Falls at 7.30pm with the help of flashlights.
Yet the never-ending entertainment by Chathu kept everyone on a high note. Small things like “Damayanthi (which is a name) (Diyamanthi aka Diamond) comes from carbon.”
Entering to Diyaluma Trail
The entrance to Diyaluma estate was situated 500m past the Diyaluma Falls viewing point. It was a 2-hour hike in the night. One could climb faster during the daytime. The path was through the rubber estate and for our luck, the guard found us before we entered the forest and he offered his guidance which we accepted wholeheartedly given the fact that it was night and ELEPHANTS were sighted in the area. The guard had an “Elephant Shot which is used scare away the elephants” and a flashlight.
Even though this is not my first night time hiking experience, it was a first for the rest of the team. I wondered how many in my team cursed me for taking them on a dangerous (because of elephants, which Chathu was complaining/afraid, while Milan had a pack of small explosives, others were ready to run) hike at night. For me the whole experience was another adrenaline packed hyped up night with a lot of excitement.
Steep Climbs, Rough Terrain, Slippery rocks and Moonlight making every rock look like elephants and wind making sure everyone gets the chills, were the conditions that sum up the route to the top during the night. Despite everything we got to the top without a scratch, still, one person was afraid of elephants :P.
Getting to the top was a sigh of relief. We were exhausted from a long ride and a steep climb at night. But for me, it was all worth it. For a second I realised that it was the full moon and one doesn’t need a flashlight to find the way. It felt like Horton plains with the flat terrain. Flat greenish terrain complemented with the purplish moonlight, it was a sight to see.
The tent was pitched and meals were made. A lot of inside stories were shared, while all of it was happening there were some fun moments like the wrong attempt to make noodles by an experienced cooking personal.?
A cascade of water flowing behind our tent, moonlight mixed with campfire light gave us enough vision to find our way without any torchlight. The night was set and we were enjoying every bit of it. Maybe I didn’t sleep much that night because I was out with my camera trying to take a photo of the milky way but failing to do so due to the moonlight. Yet there I was staring at nature all alone on top of a waterfall having all the nature to myself <3.
The morning came with a little bit of chaos when we had to cook breakfast. Then we jumped into the water and explored the wilderness. The meal felt a thousand times better than a 5-star cuisine. It was simply bread, butter and meatballs but it was a meal that everyone enjoyed.
Like kids who were running to the sea for the first time, the whole team got into the water after a while. The most memorable thing for me was the spot where I can keep my head behind the waterfall and see water falling down in front.
Then it was time for us to pack up and move to the vantage point. The site was simply breathtaking and soothing. The view that runs till infinity and murmuring sound of the waterfall is a combination that takes anyone to heaven. The photos will talk and I will stay silent about this.
After all the photos, selfies and laughter it was time to leave but our adventure was far from over.
On the way down I did a rough calculation of the budget and found out that there was not enough money to buy lunch. As our life saviour, Milan talked to one of those people near the Diyaluma Falls bridge and got us the kitchen to prepare our own meals. We simply cooked noodles packets that were left and filled our tummies. It might not be the ideal scenario but it was golden because we were tired.
After all those memories we collected, it was a sad and a happy goodbye till next time.
Update May 9th, 2018 – Camping is prohibited due to the new laws. It is okay to go on a One day hike.