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|Year and Month||4th April, 2016|
|Number of Days||One|
|Crew||4 (aged 19 to 54)|
|Transport||Public Transport (Bus)|
|Activities||Hiking, Trekking, Bird Watching, Mountaineering, Photography etc….|
|Weather||Excellent – Slight drizzle at the top which prevented the path from being completely covered by mist.|
|Route||Colombo -> Kandy -> Waththegama -> Bambarella -> Knuckels Peaks trail and back via the same route.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Related Resources||Trip reports : On Knuckles|
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
We started our journey very early in the morning from Maharagama at about 02:00 and made our way to the Pettah bus stand. We caught the Monaragala bus from Pettah which got us to Kandy by about 06:15. We had to walk from the Kandy main bus stand to the one near the clock tower to catch a bus to Waththegama. The bus ride to Waththegama took abot 40 minutes.
We had tea and “Pol Rotti” for breakfast from a small shop near the Waththegama bus stand. Busses are available to get to Bambarella from Waththegama, however my father had arranged for one his friends to pick us up from Waththegama on his double cab. After having breakfast we got on our way to Bambarella and it was about a 25km journey.
At Bambarella we stopped near the Thilaka stores to buy some supplies and the proprietor was kind enough to help us find a guide for the journey. There is a shortcut to reach the trail head from near Thilaka stores or if you have come in a vehicle you can reach the trail head by vehicle too from another path (reasonably high ground clearance needed).
At the very beginning of the trail if you take a short detour you can reach the Knuckles falls. Along the initial part of the trail you come across a water stream several times. In most parts the trail is a very steep climb and in the initial part very high steps are dug into the soil.
After some short distance we came across “Knuckles Thenna” which as the name suggests was a grass valley which reminded me a bit of the “Lord of the Rings” landscapes. Several water sources are available at this initial part of the trail but then not until the 4th peak.
After this grassy area the trail goes through a forest patch and the climb becomes steep. Several trees and big creepers had fallen across the trail and I knocked my head several times trying to duck under them. Two separate large rocks along the trail serve as very good view points before reaching the first peak. We stopped to take in the view at both these points and even had some guavas that I had packed on the second rock and rested for a bit.
We reached the 1st peak after about 2.5 – 3 hours and the first peak did not provide a very good view of the surroundings as it was covered by forest. The 2nd peak which is the highest was not far away and it provided a spectacular view of the surrounding area and the entire Knuckles range. We also met a French couple on top of the 2nd peak who had come to do the hike with a guide. We spent some time on the 2nd peak to take in the view and to take some photos and then went on our way to the 3rd.
It did not take us much time at all to reach the remainder of the peaks once we reached the 2nd peak. It was a continuous descend and ascend scenario. Although there was a considerable amount of mist at the top it didn’t give us much trouble and in fact I think it added to the already immense beauty of these mountains. After all a journey to the top of the “Dumabara Kanduvetiya” wouldn’t have been complete if there was no mist. There were some on and off drizzles too and these were not cause for any concern and they prevented the mountains from being completely covered by the mist.
The top of the peaks were covered by Tussock grass therefore the footing at the top was not that good, one could easily twist an ankle here. The on and off drizzles made the grass very slippery. In some parts we had to move through relatively dense pygmy forests through which the trail wasn’t that clear. Not many people had used the trail through the pygmy forests and therefore it was very much overgrown and we had to struggle to get through the shrubby plants. Moving through this unique forest was indeed a thrill worth experiencing.
The weather at the top was very pleasant and I liked the cold chilly air. The low temperatures on the top made the journey along the range very easy and enjoyable.
We went up to the fifth peak and then got back to the 2nd peak relatively quickly and easily and had a little bit of rest at the 2nd peak before the descend. The descend was also very easy and didn’t take much time.
We reached the Knuckles falls located at the beginning of the trail by about 16:00 and had a nice cool dip there. Although one would advise against bathing at the bottom of a waterfall, since it was the dry season and the occurrence of a flash flood was very unlikely it was more than safe.
So we had completed what was definitely an unforgettable journey among the misty mountains of the central hills and felt very satisfied with the experience. We got on to our vehicle and came back to Waththegama where we parted with my father’s friends. However to our dismay there were no busses to Kandy from there at that time and we were told that a SLTB bus to Kandy would arrive soon. We were not that thrilled about the waiting thing so we got onto a bus that went to Madawala town and from there we got a three wheel ride to Katugasthota from where got a bus to Kandy.
From the Kandy bus stand we caught a Colombo bus and it was past midnight when we arrived back in Maharagama. The journey took us almost exactly 24 hours and it was a breathtaking one. Any nature lover should definitely do the Knuckles peaks hike at least once. It was one of those experiences which lifts you to a higher level and gives you something to cherish for years to come.
Thank you very much for reading.