Where God dropped off Adam!
Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
98Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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The ride from Kandy to Delhousie went via the town of Hatton which is on the train track. Instead of grabbing the direct bus to Delhousie, Sonja was hungry. This is where she is really a good influence on me. I'm so drawn to completing my journey that I forget I have all the time in the world and sometimes don't stop to reflect on where I am and where I am going. So thank you Sonja, I would have never got to see the curious and wonderful smiling faces of the locals in Hatton.
We walked through the town and found a small bus going to Delhousie via Maskeliya through winding country roads, only large enough for one car to pass, but of course, buses were driving both ways! We parked in Maskeliya very briefly as we had to change buses. An old man had kept me company on the journey, he worked at a tea plantation and we passed many on our way to Adam's Peak. Sonja noticed in Maskeliya lots of decorations on shops and homes. She had ten minutes to investigate, so while I took care of the bags she found out there was a festival the following day which we would attend.
Delhousie was only 40 minutes further on. We stopped at the bus station to a downpour of rain and were greeted by a frail old lady called Brenda. She was dressed in traditional Indian dress and showed us a quick brochure about the Green House hostel, which was green and right next to the start of the Adam's Peak climb!
Seeing as we travelled all day we didn't plan on climbing the same night, so we planned for the following night after we had attended the festival in Maskeliya.
We were based in a small town of Delhousie, a Pilgrim town for all those Pilgrims wishing to climb the mountain. Adam's Peak is supposedly where God left Adam after kicking him out of paradise. He would have to leave him at the top of a steep hill!! Not a chilled out beach!!?? The town was busy with Pilgrims, we befriended a toothless Indian man who ran a 24 hour kind of cafe where we ate Roti's and picked up supplies for our hike up the mountain. It frequently rained but we both had suitable clothing to handle this.
The night before our climb, we caught a bus to Maskeliya. Before we caught the bus, we were hungry, but as ever, the place we chose gave me a not so positive feel. I tend to have a good intuition as to how quickly we will get fed. The owner was very proactive in getting people to sit in his cafe but took our order downstairs and sat back next to his buddy. I assume it was his wife that walked up and down the stairs a few times, she looked confused but also like a zombie? I told Sonja we wouldn't be fed and after 30 minutes we paid for our coke and jumped on a bus. Luckily the coke kept hunger slightly at bay and we now know why the place we tried to eat at is always empty.
We found a wonderful little cafe in Maskeliya. We enjoyed some rice and curry, though we were slightly charged more than we expected but the owner was very gracious and let us sit there for a long time while waiting for the Hindu festival to start. The owner of the cafe/restaurant spent over twenty years working and running a tea plantation. He was a senior supervisor and was so sweet to find a photo album and take us through many shots of his life over the last 25 years! He even let us climb to the roof of his building to take some photos of Adam's peak. Such a friendly guy, so we weren't too fussed when the bill was slightly higher. I'm also enjoying local curd. It's yogurt but tastes delicious.
We left full and wandered down a busy road and found the start of the festival, the Hindu festival of Mahavir Jayanthi. We arrived to see carriages being decorated and the locals preparing for the start of the festival. Blessings were being made, people were praying and making offerings. We were given some food while we watched on, chick peas for example. We observed the activities and we looked around the three 'floats' that were being prepared. We waited for a long time for the festival to start and there were many people involved, all dressed in traditional dress, some dancing, some with their children, some observing. Young boys kept talking to me, one in particular had a fascination with naming English cricket players. The festival was so loud I had trouble hearing all of his questions. The festival was similar to a moving carnival. Once it started, it moved along very slowly. We had watched on for a couple of hours and left back to Delhousie.
We prepared our bag for the climb and set the alarm for 140am!! Oh no! The alarm went off, we got ready, food packed, drinks packed, boots on and off we went. There are roughly 5200 steps to the top and we were both a little worried about Sonja and how she would manage the climb.
The view of Adam's Peak at night from the town is just truly breath taking, but a little daunting too!!
Our first twenty minutes or so of climbing were uneventful, but still uphill! We met very few people as it would turn out other got up later and overtook us. But it was no race and we kept going at our own pace. The night before, Sonja found herself a stick to help support her climb the mountain, although a local lad cut it too short for her, but I think it was just about right.
This time we were not joined by a dog right to the top, but there were plenty of animals on the way to chat to and joined us briefly (in the hope of some food). It turns out, at our first stop after say thirty minutes, Sonja was tempted to go back to bed, but credit to her, she never said and she just carried on. The start of the climb is not as steep and is basically winding you to the bottom of a number of staircases. We broke up our time often, stopping for water, stopping for fizzy drink, noshing on some chocolate, anything to look forward to at the next stop. During the climb, Sonja talked of a doormouse in a German cartoon that would do anything and everything to avoid say going to school, or to do something important. Sonja was acting like the doormouse! Spending too long taking pictures, observing views, playing with dogs, drinking water. I had to tell my lazy dormouse to get off her butt a few times and keep going!! Being called the doormouse was amusing for Sonja and probably took her mind off the pain in her knee. Cheeky cheeky doormouse!!
Then we climbed and climbed and climbed!! It was tough! I'm lucky that I wasn't going at my usual pace, the sensible pace meant I wasn't puffed out and also I was appreciating more of the experience and not rushing up like some people were. The stairs were a killer, and we stopped often. I just do not believe we were designed to climb stairs like this, especially after my experience a couple of times in China!! We were getting close to the top when the stairs became very steep and only now were there rails to hold onto. Near the top, some guy said we were miles away but we weren't. The irony was, we reached the top, but to stand at the temple at the top, we had to remove our shoes, so we walked back down a few flights of stairs and waited for the sun to rise.
What happened next felt like we were in heaven, or a land that I had never witnessed before. The sight was truly magnificent and utterly worth the early start and gut busting climb to the top. The top of the mountain was full of Pilgrims and many tourists. The top was freezing!! People who walked up in just tshirts were either shivering or walking back down to find some shelter in a random tea tent! It was an amazing sight to see such a diverse collection of people all waiting for the sun to rise above the horizon.
The lights from the rising sun were unbelievable! We stood there and enjoyed the moment. When the sun did eventually show itself, it was too bright to look at any more!!
We stayed at the top a little longer, let the crowds head on down, we found a warm cup of tea, I changed from a sweaty tshirt to a less sweaty one and then we climbed down, ever.....so.....slowly!! Poor Sonja, her knees were hurting and well, even I was shaking as we headed on down. The stairs were steep and we had no rush whatsoever!! We spotted on lady who was walking down stairs sideways, she looked in incredible pain. Her husband would walk on ahead for five minutes then find somewhere to sit till she caught up. We stopped often, we were joined by a small puppy who we saw on the way up. At one point I had to pull a tin can from it's mouth, it was chewing on the sharp shards of metal!! Ouch!! Time went by and we were still climbing down. The doormouse was taking her time, taking pictures, enjoying the views and steadily making her way down.
I think we made the bottom at around 1130am, it only took 9.5 hours overall and we were shattered!! The Green house offer a large breakfast so I think we took them up on the offer and rested in the afternoon!! We were both in some discomfort but happy we made the journey to the top and found our way back to the bottom safely.
We stayed on more night in Delhousie before we set off for Nuwara Eliya via Hatton again.
We had a great time at Adam's Peak and I was so thrilled that we climbed the mountain as I originally had planned to not bother, but seeing as we were waiting for a visa in Kandy, it seemed to close to miss.
Next stop Nuwara Eliya