Udawalawa National Park and Adam’s Peak

Udawalawa National Park and Adam’s Peak
Ohh what two days…
On Wednesday 2nd December Sophie, Nacho, Sebastian and I had a driver take us to Udawalawa Natonal Park and Adam’s Peak for the Wednesday and Thursday. We were picked up at 6am from Hikkaduwa and drove for around 5 hours to reach Udawalawa. To our pleasure we had ultra-reclining seats so we chilled out in the van and napped on the way. On the road to the national park we came across a lonesome male elephant hanging out at the electric fence, so we stopped and took some photos of the beautiful giant. I later found out that lots of elephants used to come to the road and people would feed them, but the government put in electric fences to protect both the elephants and the humans, as it is not ideal for the wild elephants to be fed. Most of the elephants have stopped coming due to the fences, except this one male elephant who has found a way in, and stays at the fence.
Recliner seats woo!!
The beautiful male
At the national park we had a jeep take us on a safari where we saw tonnes of beautiful birds and lots of elephants. We were lucky enough to see a few different elephant families with young babies, who were absolutely adorable. The elephants were really relaxed as they are used to human contact, so it was a nice, relaxed experience. We spent a few hours driving around, appreciating the Sri Lankan bush and wildlife, before heading back for lunch.
Bee eater…I think?
Elephant family having a drink
The crew!
The most serious Jerdon’s Baza (?) ever!
And a very serious chameleon
After lunch we began the 6-7 hour drive to Adam’s Peak. We were exhausted by the time we arrived, and booked into an expensive room considering we were sharing with four people, and only for a few hours. We had a quick dinner and some beer, before heading to bed for our short 3 hour sleep. To Nacho’s displeasure, when he lay down the bed broke, leaving a concave dent for him to sleep on, muahaha. At 2:30am we woke up, ready to begin the walk up 5,500 stairs to Adam’s Peak. I had questioned whether or not I wanted to climb Adam’s Peak, knowing with my low fitness level it would be a tough walk. I was not wrong – it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, physically and mentally!
In the beginning we ascended steadily, with few stairs, but in no time there were more and more stairs. It began to rain and I thought ‘what the hell is the point, we won’t even have a view!’ Soon I began to struggle, and decided to ask someone coming down how much further we had. ‘Ah, you have done about 1.7km, so you have 4000 stairs left’. ‘WHAT?!’ I thought I was going to die. As we continued I turned into a wounded soldier on a battle field. ‘Go on without me, leave me behind – I will continue’. ‘No! We are not leaving you behind! You can do it’ the others encouraged. ‘No! I’m only slowing you down and making it harder for you guys, leave me behind! I will see you at the top.’ Nonetheless the others would have nothing of my whinging and Nacho became firm with wounded-soldier-Sarah – ‘Be quiet, stop wasting your energy talking, and move your lazy ass’. Sir yes sir! I persevered and finally made it to the top at 6am, three hours after beginning the climb. At the top we changed our t-shirts as it is cold at the peak, and you sweat so much that your shirt is soaking wet by the end.
I am happy to say that the weather cleared for us and we had the most remarkable sunrise at the top of Adam’s Peak, so it was all worth it in the end. We relaxed and appreciated the beginning of the new day with a sense of accomplishment. We then took off our shoes to go up to the temple, which led to feet that were numb from the cold, wet floor. When looking out from the temple over the surrounding mountains, there is a pyramid shaped shadow which is created from the temple at the peak. It was nice to see the shadow, but all I had in my head were the words of Thomas, a friend we met in Hikkaduwa. ‘All you do is climb 5,500 stairs to see a sunrise when I can see one anywhere, and then see a shadow…ohh a shadow! Look, I can make a shadow here.’ Hahaha, gotta love him. Our silence at the top of the peak was ruined when Nacho and Sebastian started ringing the huge bell which sits next to the temple. I wondered aloud to Soph whether they should be ringing the bell. Sophie later found out that one should only ring the bell after they have climbed Adam’s Peak seven times…woops!
Sunrise at the peak…can’t really complain
The mysterious shadow
Above the clouds
We climbed that!!

We had been warned that the climb down is worse than the climb up, and I seriously pondered how the hell that would be possible. Luckily for me, the walk down wasn’t nearly as difficult, although we all had shaking legs as we hobbled down. We stopped off for the most delicious coconut rotty and cup of tea and then continued down. With our wobbly legs and sore knees, we finally made it back to our guesthouse. We had quick showers, packed our bags and began the 6 hour journey back to Hikkaduwa.

Some beehives and honeycomb we saw on the walk down
As much as I bitched and whined while climbing Adam’s Peak, I’m super happy I did it. I’m quite proud of myself actually, and really grateful I had Soph, Nacho and Sebastian there to egg me on. Thank you guys!

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