I've got my eyes on the peak of the majestic Ella rock today. Went for an early head start around 6am to avoid the midday heat and the crowd. Followed the railway tracks until the turn off point that is very easy to miss if you don't have a route map. Then I get pestered by a local who insisted that I went the wrong way. It was funny how he kept popping randomly out of the bush to keep reminding me that I needed a guide to get to the top. Half of that is true since there are a so many ways to get there and taking the wrong one could easily get you thrown off the right path. Even I got lost around the village at the base of the climb. Good thing I started noticing these blue arrows painted on trees and rocks. They eventually led me to the start of the ascend. So far so good.
It was a hot sweaty struggle to scale the top of Ella Rock but with enough determination, I made it all the way up . You can almost see all of Sri Lanka at the peak. The superb views took my exasperation away. After a calm moment of pondering into the distance, I then made my descent. Foolishly decided to take another route back instead of the one I came up in and of course I screwed up so bad that I totally lost my sense of direction (which is usually pretty good). After eating my last ration of butter cookies and drinking the final drop of water on my bottle, I started to panic, thinking I'm going deeper into the woods. And this is how google maps essentially saved my life. Wish I thought of it sooner though. I found the way back to Ella with the help of gps navigation and caught the train to Haputale.
With tea plantations as far as the eye can see, the views from this train ride is an absolute delight. Every possible land space is taken over by the green shrub and then manicured into trimmed rows. I could go on this railway journey for hours and not complain one bit.