So Jerry proposed we head back to Kandy and check out the Knuckles mountain range and hike to Nitro Cave. I was never really briefed on what exactly this cave was or what the fuss was about, but it sounded adventurous so I was in.
We left Colombo at around 8pm from the Fort Railway Station. We got to Kandy at 12 midnight, and immediately called the cab number we had been given by our trusty Kandyan, Gehan, of the Darkside. Unfortunately, he turned out to be not so trusty, as all we heard once dialing the number was “out of service”. We then took out our phones and Google-d “Kandy cabs” and what do you know, Google never fails. After a few more “out of service” messages we got through to a service and arranged for a van to take us to the resthouse.
The drive there was just amazing. I’ve never seen the hillside at those hours, and all I can say is wow!
It’s just breathtaking, the view of the hills shrouded by a veil of darkness. The perfect weather for some Agalloch, I just wished I could have brought an album along with me. At some point we came across a tree of which a branch had fallen over so we had to get off and pull it aside to get through.
We then reached Colbert’s Gap, which was the most overwhelming part of the whole trip. This spot is just amazing! You see the entire Knuckles range and a valley below you, but you can’t walk out far because the wind is so strong it just blows you around all over the place. We watched the sunrise, or at least the little we could see through the clouds. The wind was freezing cold, like a storm inside a freezer. By the time we got there it was way too early in the morning to sleep if we were gonna get the hike done in time. So we decided to start without any sleep at all.
The bath was actually after getting back from the cave, but I didn’t want to finish off with a topless picture of HisP-ness. The hike back was the most difficult part. It was tiring, we were exhausted, our feet hurt, our ankles ached, and all we had left was a can of Jack Mackerel to eat.
PapareBoy stopped to rest at one point and we didn’t see him again for 20 minutes or so. We all stopped and decided to wait for him, then HisP saw him far out in the distance inching forward, slowly, painfully. He finally caught up, dehydrated, his mouth dry. We then found a house nearby and asked them for water. I stayed outside while the others went in to fill up. According to The Whackster, Papareboy was gulping down water from the bakki, now that’s hardcore. We refilled the bottle at a stream and let him have it. Meanwhile the rest of us were starved and The Puppeteer was about to collapse after 2 days of no sleep. So we opened up our last can of fish with a knife and went at it. We were like animals at that point, so desperate for food that we just dug our hands into the can, fingering out chunks of fish, then clawing at the butter, our only source of energy. Once we finished the can I had the pleasure of drinking the fish juice, which I must say, was a lot like soup. Nice, cold, fishy, soup.
Our van was supposed to pick us up at 5, and it was pretty much 5 when we all got together. We decided to send two of us forward to find it and come for us. A half hour later, or more, we finally caught up with them with no sign of the van. A motorcyclist stopped and offered to help us. He was drunk as a skunk, but still wanted to help. He said his van was coming behind us, and they could take one of us to the town to get a cab. His friend was an ass though, when we told him we had to get to Kandy he replied, “Walk”.
So then we sent HisP with the motorcyclist and feared we’d never see him again after walking another hour with no sign of him. Thushara and Naveen went on ahead while the rest of us hobbled along, slowly. Some time after we found another van, at first they refused to take us but then they recognized PapareBoy (they probably knew his mom), and let us tag along. A little while later we found the other two, but we were still missing HisP-ness.
About an hour or so later, I had fallen asleep, I was awoken by HisP’s friend screaming “OMG, it’s HisP-ness!” and we were all smiles and ready to gtfo out of that van, that was infested with leeches who seemed to love myself and Thushara. As soon as I stepped out I started shivering like crazy, it was raining, as it had been during our walk up. Everyone was drenched, though they were wearing raincoats. All I had was an umbrella and only the bottom of my pants got wet! So we got onto our van, which had waited 2 hours for us. By that time HisP had become best friends with the driver and given him a nickname, and even a secret handshake, perhaps.
We got to Kandy tired as hell, crawled into a dingy joint to eat some dingy fried rice and passable kottu. After that we tried to negotiate with an AC bus to take us to Colombo. They needed 20 people, there were only 10 of us. We went down to the train station, and found out the night mail only left at 1.40, it was 11pm. A bus was to come from Bibile, or Ampara, but we were told it would be packed, so then after standing around for a while and gulping down an Apple Soda, we finally figured a way out.
“Let’s take a cab to Colombo!”
Sounds quite farfetched, but we did it! HisP-ness called Amal, or Ams, and got us back to Colombo for just 4.5k. We all got sleep on the way back, and got down at the Fort Railway Station. From there we took three cabs to Ratmalana, Nugegoda, and Wattala. The Puppeteer and Jerry had gotten off before since they live in the sticks, or with the sticks, I’m not sure. It was a tiring journey, but all in all worth every annoying blood-sucking leech that latched onto us. It had its moments, like The Whackster charging at a water buffalo 300 meters away and scaring the shit out of it. It ran off and returned later, peaking to see if Whacko was around. Then proceeded to stare at us again, as it had been before Whackster decided to run at it, marking his territory along the way, or maybe that was the buffalo.
We decided we’d give out three awards this time:
the Balls Award, Pussy Award, and of course the Ass Award.
The Balls Award, as far as I’m concerned, goes to PapareBoy who wore the most ridiculous outfit, and had the balls to walk up alone not knowing where the fuck we were and trudge through and not die! Coming in close would be Whacko for charging at that bull, and actually chasing it away. That’s quite a lot of testicle right there.
The Pussy Award goes to… hmm… it’s either Jerry or Foxhound, I can’t decide.
And the Ass Award, which is to whoever gave the most ass, has to go to Foxhound, he’s just too nice.
So that’s all folks, this was the best Sinhalaya trip so far, and the most hardcore. Kahate!
photos were taken by HisP’s friend and Jerry, I think.