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|Year and Month||February, 2010|
|Number of Days||Two day trip|
|Transport||Public Transport up to Halpe.|
|Activities||See Wildlife, Photography & HIKING!|
|Weather||Sunny day with clear sky, Humidity unbearable|
|Route||Colombo -> Halpe -> Brampton Division -> Halpe -> Colombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Let me start by explaining about “Wangedigala”, Im sure all of you must be wondering where the hell this is. This is a mountain range situated close to Kalupahana and facing the Badulla A4 road. it came in sight of my attention for the first time when I visited Bambarakanda falls, since then I wanted to climb it because it was a mountain range that you can walk along and enjoy the view. But actually we wanted to go further than Wangedigala. Balathoduwa and Gommolli(13th highest) was our target. Wangedigala is famous among Sabaragamuwa campus students, they even spend the nights on it. Recently some engineers have tried to initiate an TRAM cart project linking Wangedigala to Udaweriya Estate and From Nagrak/Worlds end to Gommolli mountain(across worlds end). But seems the project has been abandoned.
We started our journey on Saturday morning and came to Halpe at around 12Noon and got of after the 167Km post near Surathali Ella. After about a 20-30m walk we reached the waterfall and enjoyed it a lot but we were so sad to see the environment surrounding the waterfall been so polluted by visitors, the main reason may be because it was so close to the main road. There were also many species of butterflies in the surrounding forest. Afterwards we had a superb lunch from a nearby hotel and walked passed Surathali ella , where we entered the Brampton division of Nonpareil estate.
Surathali Falls is 60m in height, 2m wide and made up of three segments. It is named after a film that was shot in the area. Originating from the Sri Pada Reserve’s Ellamana mountain range (948m), the fall is created by the Kadawath River, which flows along Sabaragamuwa Uva and later into the Weli River. It is bordered by an untouched wildlife sanctuary.
At the Mahaeliyakande there are certain soil crystals known as Sita Devi Guli, which resemble the rice used to make sweet meat, called Aggala. According to folklore, Sita Devi (Queen Sita) is said to have made sweet meat here and spilled some of it, which is what remains at the site today.
Another story has it that two villagers saw gold plates glittering in a cave, while on a jungle trek. They decided to retrieve the treasure and ventured inside the cave but as soon as they were inside, the stone door of the cave shut, barring their exit. They were allowed out only once they had acknowledged that the treasure belonged to King Walagamba.
Take the Balangoda – Badulla road to the 169 – 170th mile posts, between Halpe and Marangawela. Turn at the Belihul River, near Halpe and proceed for 8km along the Colombo – Ratnapura – Batticoloa road. Near the 105th mile post, 20m through mountainous jungle, the fall can be found.
Walking through this tarred road we came to a junction where the road divided we took the carriage way was to the left. We traveled along this winding road for about 4Km and reached the line homes and asked for directions. All this time we only saw the Wangedigala mountain range. The other two mountains were hidden behind this mountain range. During our hike we were frequently drinking water due to the hot and humid conditions in the surrounding area. But we were blessed with many road side water streams. I almost forgot, while we were climbing up the scenery became more clear and made us smile despite the hectic weather condition. It almost brought back my memories when I climbed up to Idulgashinna from Haldummulla 1 year back.
After the tiring uphill walk we reached the end of the carriageway where there was a huge flat open area which was ideal to put up our tent, the view from this point was unforgettable. The words that came to my mind were “Oh what a Place to camp”. After having a wash from a nearby water stream we collected some wood and build up a camp fire, which we blew off before sleeping (didn’t want to start a forest fire). After eating some rotti we had a nice sleep, the Sleeping bag was a blessing, and I did not regret bringing it all the way.
We woke at around 6am, scenery of the sun rise was magnificent and the misty mountains were fantastic, I did my best to capture these moments by my ever loving Nokia N82 phone and it did not disappoint me. We hid our stuff and started our journey through the “Mana”(I hate Mana) field. The hike was hectic because travelling through Mana is not a joyful experience, the earth was soft and loose and small rocks were tumbling down, all of this accounted us to lose 1Hr and 30mins of our time. I want to say this it was one of the rewarding hikes we have done , once we were on top we raced to the flag which was on top of the mountain and we were so happy that we hanged on to the flag pole for a while.
The view towards A4 was fantastic we saw the Samanala reservoir , Udawalawe reservoir, the Walawe Valley and the Beragala area. When we looked at the opposite side guess what it was the mighty Bambarakanda waterfall falling through the pines forest and the hidden Lanka Ella also was seen. I was amazed to see the foot paths to lanka Ella, the devils stair case clearly too, the Udaweriya division and factory was seen far away and at last the Horton plains too. I almost forgot we visualized the two mountain peaks(Balathoduwa & Gommolli) towards the Pambahinna side. After a while we walked along Wangedigala towards Gommolli, where we entered into the dilemma of hikers.
We had to weigh Pros & Cons, unfortunately “Cons” won the battle. Cons – time factor and transport facilities to my friend to get home? The Roar of the nearby Leopard? The distance through the Mountainous jungle all alone? Hectic climate and Dehydration? We decided to change our plans and returned back through the Slippery Mana patch(@!#&^$*#@$^). We reached back exhausted and washed ourselves from a stream. Let me point out whenever you are tired wash yourself with some water, you will feel that all your pains have vanished in thin air. While we were coming back a local was very generous to give us cup of tea which was simply superb quality. He also said that the Mana Patch was the difficult part and rest was not so tough and for them it’s only a 45 minute walk. On the way we took some shortcuts through the Brampton estate and rushed towards Surathali Ella which was like heaven for us, agter having lunch from Halpe we left back with very nice memories. And ended our journey as always saying “We had a day”
***I will attempt to finish what i started, Imagination can take you to extremes sometimes 🙂 🙂 🙂