“I wouldn’t recommend it, the weather forecast predicts a thunderstorm”, the woman who owned the homestay warned us. I told C that I was going to wake up at 2am, no matter what, and climb the mountain. He could come if he wanted. He gave me a look of resignation/ amusement. We had come a long way to get to Adam’s peak, no amount of rain was going to stop me! It took a train ride, a mini bus transfer (which included a one hour wait once we were on the bus for the bus to get going), and another bus to get to Dalhousie, the little town near the start of the trail. I had read so much about this holy mountain and was super stoked to finally be able to conquer it. That night, we had a quick walk around town, which honestly, consisted of just a row of identical homestays. For some reason, the street lights didn’t work, and we had a fine time testing out our mini hand held torches. After a quick squabble of whether to start climbing at 2 or 3 am, we settled for 2.30 and tried to sleep at 9pm.
The next morning, we took a while to finally get to the start of the trail. It wasn’t very clearly marked, but once we got started, there was only one path to follow. After a 20 minute walk, we reached a temple gate at the start where we had to register ourselves. The guy at the gate wised us good luck and off we were. I had read online that there were 4500 steps, but the walk wasn’t technical at all. It was quite an experience, we didn’t see anyone else for a good 2 hours or so. The first guy that we saw was actually coming from the opposite direction. He told us that he was heading back as it was just impossible. That sounded daunting, but we pressed on. Came across the shell of an old hotel which looked rather haunted. C told me later that he was tempted to scare me from the back, but knew that my screams would wake the dead and that wasn’t a nice thing to do on a holy mountain 😉 In total silence, the only light came from our torches, which were absolutely necessary. When we looked up, the pitch black sky was illuminated by countless stars, and I just wanted to look up all the time while we were walking. Funny how the last time I saw so many stars was with C too, in the desert in Morocco. Slowly, the sky turned a dark blue, and the first light of the day started to break. The stairs got narrower and steeper as we neared the peak, and C and I stopped a couple of times to catch our breath.
After 3.5 hours or so, we reached the top, where a bunch of about 20 people were huddling together to keep warm. It was absolutely freezing. We were wondering how we never bumped into them; I guess there is more than one route up. Sadly, while we were there at the exact sunrise moment, it was totally cloudy and all we saw were thick fluffy clouds. A little anticlimatic, but that didn’t steal the sense of accomplishment away from us.
We got hot tea from some of the monks who lived at the temple at the peak, and played with a very friendly dog who later decided to accompany us on our way down. As we started to descend, the clouds cleared, and the view was truly stunning. Somehow, the grass seemed greener here, and the sky bluer.
We passed a few zinc-roofed huts along a stream, and it was cool to see everything in broad daylight now when earlier on, it was all in the darkness. Decided to try abit of the water from the stream and refill our water bottles with it, it was so pure tasting! When we finally reached the temple gate that we passed in the morning, a monk rubbed a paste of some sorts on our foreheads and tied a band on each of our wrists, before asking for a donation. I subconsciously gave me a wtf look, as come on, a monk shouldn’t be doing this! Anyhow, it got C laughing as the monk looks a little afraid of me after I shot him that if-looks-could-kill glare.
Back at the homestay, we were greeted with a huge array of breads and spreads of all sorts. Either the food tasted really good, or we were just famished. The owner kindly arranged for her brother to take us around in his tuktuk at a decent price, and it was money well spent, especially since it started to drizzle on and off. We visited a couple of waterfalls and had our first taste of the tea plantations we would see later in the trip. I’m really glad we took the chance against the weather, and luck was really in our favour 🙂