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Published: June 18th 2006
Beep Beep - Beep Beep - it's 3am, only about 2 and half hours after getting to bed, BEEP BEEP - BEEP BEEP, ouch. The reason for the ludicrously early rise from our slumber is of course Adams Peak - the holiest mountain and largest pilgrimage in Sri Lanka - this is apparently where Adam (as in Adam and Eve), first stepped when he left heaven and they have a footprint to prove it - although it's always covered up so who knows...? Regardless how could we say no so we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed off under the moon and stars to the summit - up some 5200+ steps no less.
The start of the trek is surrounded by stalls 24 hours a day selling supplies, mainly cookies and other energy biscuits and of course tea and coffee to wake you up - personally waking up was the last thing on my mind and I was quite glad to let my body go up on automatic pilot for at least some of the way. Also on the trek with us were a couple of dogs from the hotel who took it upon themselves to not only show us
the way but guard us from any other dangers and continued with us all the way to the top - all part of the service in Sri Lanka.
As well as our four legged guides we also came across people going up and coming down from the summit, sometimes entire families on the way up, as well as old ladies on their own struggling to take the next step and of course they were always barefoot which was just amazing as this was no red carpet trek. Another thing everyone seemed to be "wearing" was a massive smile from ear to ear, no matter how much they were struggling, as one of very few westerners on the trail it made it a little more special as everyone was so very friendly and welcoming - very moving indeed.
As the day (and ourselves) started to wake and the colours changed, the views were pretty amazing, although you did have to stop and take a break from looking at step after step making sure you don’t fall or trip but this not only let you catch your breath but take in the most stunning views while listening to groups of people chanting
while either going up or coming down and to be honest I thought I was still dreaming a few of the times when we stopped. I'm told at one point when we stopped that steam was pouring from my head which was course I think was a spiritual occurrence and not just me out of shape and tired as I refused to be overtaken by granny and company...
When we did make it to the top we were first of all worried that the clouds which had provided some amazing colours and views would now ruin the sunrise and block out the first rays of the day but as we joined in with everyone else in hoping, wishing, and praying that the clouds would part we were rewarded briefly with some spectacular views as the first rays of the day warmed our faces - worth every step.
Another interesting fact about Adams Peak is that it's the place butterflies come to die, now honestly I would have never of believed it myself but as the saying goes "you have to see it to believe it" - well now I believe it, butterflies make their final effort to fly up to
the very top before flapping their final wings.... if you ask me it was probably the flight to the top that finished them off - I knew the feeling.
And the way down was surely going to be easier - or was it - basically - no... after a while your knees start to shake and then shake some more - I felt like an earthquake was starting in my knee's and eventually had to rest until the shaking subdued before making back to the hotel to find our dog who seemed terribly upset that me managed to get separated on the way down but after a quick cuddle he soon calmed down and my knees stopped shaking... next stop Kandy....
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