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|Year and Month||August 2009|
|Number of Days||Two Day Trip|
|Crew||7 (including 4 year old “Mihin”)|
|Accommodation||Ginihiriya Wildlife department Bungalow|
|Transport||Train from Colombo to Ohiya and then a Van to Horton Plains.From there to Diagama by foot and then again a van to Colombo from there.|
|Activities||Photography / Hiking|
|Weather||Waether cooperated well. Not the best but it did not rain. It was mostly overcast with few short breaks of beautiful sunlight|
|Route||Colombo -> Ohiya -> Horton Plains -> Diagama -> Hatton -> Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
The plan of this trip was quite straight forward. Take the night mail on a Saturday night, reach Ohiya early morning, Relax the rest of the day at Ginihiriya wildlife bungalow, walk along the Dayagama trek on the following day and catch the intercity express from Thalawakele (3.00p.m.) back to Colombo. Still there was one important thing which we overlooked. We did not book the train for the return journey assuming that we will be able to buy tickets from Thalawakele. In the back of our minds we thought that even if we miss the train we could catch a bus back to colombo.
We started at 8.00p.m. from the Colombo Fort railway station. The train was on time. We had booked sleeperettes so we managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep in the train. The “usually late” night mail was on time all the way up to Ambewela! Now passing Pattipola station at around 5.oo a.m. we were wondering how to kill the time till day light at the Ohiya station where we are supposed to get down.
As usual a bright idea came up :-). Rather than killing time in the cold weather at the Ohiya station, we decided not to get down at Ohiya and continue further towards Badulla in the train enjoying the early morning scenery along some of the most picturesque stretches of the up country railway line! We knew that the express train “Udarata Menike” is heading Colombo early morning from Badulla so the plan was to get down at a station where we can cross over to Udarata Menike express to get back to Ohiya.
At Ohiya station we had hot hot “Roti” with “lunu miris” and a hot plain tea from the only small boutique there before looking for options to get to the bungalow at Horton Plains. It did not take much effort to find “Albert” who agreed to take us to Ginihiriya in his hiring van fro Rs 500/=
Passing the hair-pin bends up to the highest plateau of Sri Lanka, we arrived at the Ginihiriya Wildlife Department Bungalow by 9.30 in the morning. The Ginihiriya Bungalow is situated at the boarder of the park between the Ohiya Pattipola road and the tea estate. The pathway to the bungalow was covered in purple flowers as it was the flowering season.
Before lunch we decide to explore the tea estate behind the bungalow. To reach the estate boarder, one should walk few hundred meters towards Ohiya from Ginihiriya to find a by road in to forest on the right hand side with a notice which says “Driving along the by road is Prohibited”. Walking along this this less than 100m you can reach the tea estate bordering Horton plains. The mountain slope directly faces the eastern plains with fantastic views.
As noon approached, we returned to the bungalow and had lunch. Around 2.00 pm we thought of taking another walk along the main road, this time towards the visitor center. The weather did not cooperate with us. In lass than half and hour, rain drops started falling down and we had to head back.
Monday early morning we started our journey back from horton plains. We got the same van to drop us at the place where Diyagama road starts on Pattipola – Ohoya road, and started our walk down towards Diyagama. This was at around 7.00 a.m.
In the next 3 hours we walked through one of the most beautiful trails I have ever done. The mountains, mist, flowing streams, blankets of flowers like “Nelu”, tress and bushes, all had created a beautiful and a diverse scenery which changes every minute. As the trail is broad (its a jeep track to be precise) and most of it still in pretty good condition, made the underfoot conditions extremely good. Also the fact that we are climbing down continuously made walking extremely easy and pleasant. By 10.00 a.m we were at the boarder of Horton Plain when the beautiful forest suddenly gave up for the boring tea plantation of the 6th Division of Dayagama estate.
As you leave the forest and enters the estate, don’t forget to walk towards your right hand side along the bordering tea plots. There is a hidden waterfall of Agra Oya which can be seen at a distance.
From this point onwards the journey was a strenuous walk along the estate road. The weather had been cooperating very well. It was mostly overcast with just the right amount of light for photography with the sun rays occasionally breaking free to create magical landscapes.
We had an invitation for lunch at Mani’s place, one of the estate homes closer to the Diyagama town where we also had a van waiting to take us to Thalawakele. But there was quite a distance to reach that place so we ended up hiring two tuck-tucks with some difficulty, to get there.
After lunch we left Mani’s place around 1.30 p.m. The plan was to catch the intercity express to Colombo from Thalawakele. The bad road condition made it a slow drive and by the time we reached Thalawakele, all tickets were sold out!
In a desperate attempt to find a way back, we asked the van to take us to Hatton. Believe me, by 4.00 p.m. the bus service beyond Ginigathhena was non existing!
Finally we decided to hire a van from Hatton to Colombo and managed to make it home without any further trouble.