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|Year and Month||21st March 2016|
|Number of Days||One day trip|
|Crew||6 (aged 19 to 54)|
|Transport||Public Transport (Bus)|
|Activities||Hiking, Trekking, Photography, Bird watching etc….|
|Weather||Excellent – Not a single drop of rain.|
|Route||Colombo -> Rathnapura -> Kalawana -> Kudawa -> Sinhagala Trail and back via same route|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Related Resources||Trip reports : Sinhagala|
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
We started the journey very early in the morning and caught the Colombo-Badulla bus at about 3:30 from Maharagama, the bus had left Colombo at 2:55 according to the bus schedule which was on display. We reached Ratnapura at about 5:20 and managed to catch the first bus of the day to Kalawana from the Ratnapura central bus stand which was scheduled to leave at 5:30. From there after what was a journey through breathtaking sceneries we reached Kalawana at about 7:00 and caught the bus to Kudawa which was scheduled to leave at 7:20.
My father being a wildlife officer was able to arrange for some officers in the Sinharaja range wildlife office to join us. Surprisingly, none of them had completed this trail before but still we went in without a guide and managed to reach the peak although we faced some difficulties along the way.
The initial part of the trail is very well cleared and is common to many other shorter nature trails in the Sinharaja forest. Most visitors only travel a short distance of about 4 – 6 km from the Kudawa conservation centre upto the research centre there and turn back. The best part of the trail only begins after this.
Anyway, we stopped at the research centre and had some gram as our breakfast and we also came across two very friendly Blue Magpies there. After refreshing ourselves from the water stream nearby we continued along the trail which was now only beginning.
It seemed that not many people had used the trail in recent times as it was overgrown and barely visible at places. We walked a long distance through the jungle stopping along the way to take some quick photos and we took an occasional water break at some of the streams we found along the way, the water in these streams was clean, cool and good to drink. Along the way we also met a few interesting creatures. At one of the streams we stopped to enjoy some short eats we had bought at the Kudawa conservation centre (KCC) canteen.
We had pulled our socks up over the trousers so as to avoid leech bites and were mostly successful in the attempt. The dry weather in the region during the time ensured that there were not as many leeches as one would expect.
Moving further along the trail it felt as if we were going uphill and although the trail was mostly clear, there were confusing spots. At one point there was kind of a three-way junction, since we were moving up we decided to take the path which seemed to be taking us that way, the other path seemed to be a descend.
Then again after moving for some time we came across another water stream to cross, in which however all the water was dried up. After crossing initially there seemed to be a trail and then after about 3 – 4 m it suddenly disappeared, we felt lost since there was no path to be seen whatsoever. The idea of being lost gave me an exciting feeling, even natgeo adventure’s motto is LET’S GET LOST. My dad however suggested that maybe we should move along the stream upwards for some distance and see if we can find the rest of the trail. It was a hunch but luckily for us it payed off. It was only after getting back that I read the trail description on Lakdasun which had described all these, so good lesson for next time I guess.
After that we had to walk for a fair distance and also cross another stream before coming to the final climbing part. This final climb is relatively very steep but can be managed due to all the roots of the trees and solid rocks providing a good foothold. After the this strenuous climb we finally reached the peak and the view from the top of Sinhagala was amazing. It is honestly one of those things that you cannot describe with words, you just got to go and see it for yourself. It was all rainforest as far as the eye could see, it was simply breathtaking and life giving. Although the trail is hard, I would do it every day if I had the chance, just to take in that view.
We took a few quick snaps at the peak, sat down, rested for a while and also enjoyed some biscuits that I had packed. The biscuits really gave us some good energy which helped us in the descend. I would recommend not having heavy meals during the duration of the hike as it would help you to cover distance faster. Small but nutritious meals is what you need to complete the hike.
After spending about 45 minutes at the top we decided to start our return journey since we had to get out of the forest before dark and the sun sets quicker in the wilderness. It was about 3:30 when we left the peak and we were able to reach the research centre in about 2 hours and we had our first real meal of the day there. We ate the lunch packets that had been packed at about 3:00 in the morning but to our relief the food was still good. Then from there we had to again walk to the entrance which is also a fair distance. We thought we would have to walk all the way upto the KCC and it was already getting quite dark but to our surprise one of the wildlife officers who stayed back had brought the cab to the entrance so we hopped on and got to the KCC and from there to the Sinharaja range wildlife office.
It was a great experience for all of us and although the journey was quite hard it was more than worth it. There were no busses to get to Ratnapura at that time as it was about 19:00, but luckily we were able to hitch a ride. We got onto a Colombo-Badulla bus from Ratnapura at about 20:30 and it was well past 23:00 when we got back to Maharagama. This was undoubtedly one of the greatest experiences of my life, in short it was AWESOME!
Thank you very much for reading.