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|Year and Month||April 2010|
|Number of Days||Three Day Trip|
|Accommodation||First Night – Clunes Villa, DehiowitaSecond Night – took a short nap at the make shift shop at Galwangediya|
|Weather||It was quite all right, except the heavy rains experienced while on the most difficult part of the trail from Pandeniya to Kuruwita road.|
|Route||Colombo -> Dehiowita -> Deraniyagala -> Uda-Maliboda -> Dik-ellekanda -> Pandeniya -> Heenpiduruthalawa -> Sripada -> Nallathannni -> Hatton -> Dehiowita -> ColomboDownload Google Earth Trail Map|
|Tips, Notes and Special remarks||
Photography by: Mithila, Prabhath and Maduranga
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
After completing the three most traveled trails (Hatton-Nallathanni, Rathnapura-Palabaddhala and Kuruwita-Erathna) to SriPada my focus shifted towards the lesser known ones. The Uda-Maliboda trail from Deraniyagala was on the top of that list. I was looking out for more details on this trail and that is when the topic came in to discussion on the forum in the threads – Trail to Sri Pada from Uda Maliboda, Deraniyagala and Trail to sri pada to udamaliboda – Thanks to the discussions there I got all the information required and was wating to find some time to do the walk. Finally the trip reports by Ashan (Uda Maliboda & Erathna trails to Adams Peak) and Charitha (Sri Pada via Udamaliboda trail, Deraniyagala) pushed me to the point of no return and I started planing for the trip at the tail end of this years season 🙂
Since I wanted to take the little one also as far as possible (not that far this time as he was only 3 months) the trip was planned to be a 2 night trip. We reserved clune’s villa at Dehiowita and reached there on the Friday night. Leaving the kids, moms and grand parents there, the hiking group left clunes at 6.30 a.m. the following morning.
Clune’s villa is located in the Thalduwa Estate about 3km from the A7 main road. It took us nearly half and hour to reach the main road. About 10 minutes later we boarded a “Deraniyagala” bus coming from Awissawella.
By 8.00 a.m. we were at Deraniyagala. There were six more members waiting there with a van to take us to the trail head at Pandeniya. There is 21km to the trail head from Deraniyagala. You can find public transport to cover about 15km out of this up to the Uda-Maliboda tea factory. We chose not to take a risk with public transport because we very well knew that we had no time to waste. We had to start from the trail head as early as possible to avoid having to spend the night in the middle of the peak wilderness sanctuary :-). Therefore after a quick breakfast at a Bakery nearby, we boarded the van and headed towards uda-maliboda.
The van started to move along the narrow winding roads, climbing hills for the most part, towards uda-maliboda, Dik-eli-Kanda area which borders the peak wilderness sanctuary. The scenery along this road was magnificent.
Passing the Uda-maliboda tea factory, the van took a sharp right turn towards Dik-eli-kanda village at the border of which the trail head is situated. 2.5km before the trail head, we faced an unexpected problem. A set of villagers have decided to repair a deteriorated section of the road (which is now in quite bad shape) and had dug a drentch in the middle of the road to install a humepipe. There was not way that the van could have passed that point. Suddenly we felt that our hike got lengthen by 2.5km. Without wasting any more time, the group started walking towards the trail head.
After waitng for about half and hour, and may be walking 500m, we were lucky to be picked up by a canter truck. Without second thoughts we all jump in to the load area of the truck which took us to the trail head in no time.
As you can see in the above picture, there is a board with directions and distances at the trail head, on the bank of the Pandeniya river. To enter the trail, you have to cross the Pandeniya river at this place. While the board is useful to locate the trail head, later we found out that the distances indicated in that proved to be some what off
At 11.30 in the morning, we started our walk from the Pandeniya river. As per the board, it was only 5km to Erathna road. Our first target was to reach Erathna road before dusk. We knew very well (thanks to Charitha) that if we don’t reach Erathna road before it is dark we will be stuck in the middle of the jungle for the whole night. Still it was just 5km as per the board so we had plenty of time in hand. Therefore we leisurely crossed the river and started walking in to the thick forest on the opposite bank
The trail was tough as expected. There were steep ascends to tackle and the underfoot conditions were rough. Leeches were there in thousands if not in millions 🙂 The area is rich in water flow. As we climbed up and around the Heen Piduruthalawa mountain, we crossed a countless number of streams of all sizes. The walk was tiring but wasn’t too bad until it started to rain somewhat hard. Even though we went prepared for the rain, it multiplied the leech density and made the trail slippery making it even tougher for us to tackle.
From the past trip reports, we knew that we have to cross the upper reaches of Kuruganga at a point closer to the Erathna trail so that was the major milestone we all were hoping to reach as early as possible. We knew that from there it was only about 1km to the Erathna trail so as per the calculation done based on the distances indicated in the direction board at the trail head, the kuru ganga (or seetha gangula) was only 4km away.
After some walking, the ODO meter of my GPS indicated 4km without any signs of the river. It ticked 5km and 6km still with no river of the expected size in the vicinity. By this time it was later afternoon and we had only few hours of day light left. Did we miss the trail by any chance? Some level of doubt came to our minds. We had two options, either we could continue along the trail or turn back. We quickly concluded that turning back will not us take us back to civilization before it is dark. Also the geography and the water flow we encountered and the terrain ahead suggested that we are heading a shallow valley where there is a high possibility of finding a fair size river flowing along that. So we decided to continue.
With in the next half and hour, we reached the Kuruganga. I could recognise the place immeidately thanks to the pictures posted in the trip reports I read before the hike. Everyone was so happy that we reached our first major milestone. The GPS read 6.9km at this point.
The continuation of the trail on the other side of Kuruganga is not right opposite to the point we reached the river. Again thanks to the trip reports we knew this in advance and managed to locate the continuation of the trail on the opposite bank about 25m upstream without any problem.
Once on the opposite bank, it was an easy walk up to the Erathna trail. By the time we reached Erathna Trail it was almost dark. The total distance read 8km from the trail head which proved to us that the board at the trail head was wrong. It was a close call 🙂
Once on the Erathna trail, it was a continuous climb. At least now the trail is broad, supported and lit up. So we reduced our phase and reached the Galwangediya rest place at around 9.30 p.m. As it was the final climb (Mahagiridamba) that was remaining from this place, we decided to grab something to eat and have a rest until early hours of the following day so that we can reach the summit on time to see the Sunrise.
3.30 in the morning the following day, we started the final ascend. We reached the summit just in time to witness the sunrise. It was a cloudy day and therefore the sunrise was not seen clearly. Still once the surrounding was fully lit-up, were able to witness an unbelievably beautiful sight of the clouds moving around the forest covered mountains creating a magical display.
at around 7 in the morning we started our descend along the Hatton route. We reached Nallathanni around 1 p.m. and got in to a Hatton bus. From Hatton we managed to get in to a crowded bus heading Colombo, got down at Dehiowita and reached Clune’s around 6.00 p.m. On the same night we reached Colombo at around 9.00 p.m.
a short video clip created by Maduranga.