Monday 25 March 2013 – Dalhousie.
I think I managed to sneak a couple of winks in before my alarm went off at 1:50 am, though I was woken by the neighbours going out at 1:30. It is that sort of town, all the early morning noise is from people going out walking rather than people coming home.
The reason for the early start is to walk to the top of Adams Peak for the sunrise. Most of the path is well lit and there are always people going up and down all day and nightand this is the time to do it.
I met up with Benne and Galya at 2:15 and we started the walk up to the village and finally on to the path. There are no photos for a while as it was dark, though it was a clear sky with an almost full moon.
Just after the start of the path we crossed over a small river and arrived at a T intersection, we saw a couple of guys coming down the road from the left so started up the path, assuming it was the correct way. We assumed wrong. After about ten minutes of walking gradually up the hill I realised that too many things were wrong, mainly that there were no people and no lights. I said we were on the wrong path, but as we were kind of going in the right direction we agreed to carry on further. Soon enough we could see the lights of the real path below us and decided to duck a small track in the tea fields. We had used up over half an hour and had gained approximately two hundred metres – sadly not vertically!
We split up soon after hitting the main path. Benne wanted to make sure he was at the stop for the sunrise and Galya was not going fast enough (though she did make it in time) I wasn’t bothered either way so stayed with Galya for most of the next hour until we caught up with other groups of westerners doing the walk. I felt uncomfortable leaving her alone prior to that, though I am sure it was perfectly safe.
For the first hour the path was not overly steep though there were many steps between long sections of a gentler gradient, but the higher up the more steps there were and the steeper it got. The final three hundred and fifty steps were quite steep indeed and I took a few rests on the way. The surface is mostly good, some parts are very rough and on the lower section there were a number of large puddles, though I only managed to stand in one of them, thank goodness.
There are also numerous shops selling snacks and drinks, or full meals if that was what you wanted. Things got more and more expensive the further the shop keeper had to carry his goods. I had not eaten as I did not want to risk any urgent need for a toilet stop on the way so was relying on Milo drinks and water. At half way this cost me 160 rupees, closer to the top it was 300. Demand was high !
There were a lot of westerners climbing and at the last cafe before the top I stopped for coffee, which was made with tea instead of water – yes it was foul, but it had caffeine. I met a kiwi couple there and chatted to them for a while before climbing slowly and with heavy breath to the monastery at the top. It took me just under three hours, including getting lost and I caught Benne at the top.
I was totally drenched in sweat by the top, I was expecting it to be colder up there than it actually was and I all I needed to put on was my long sleeve shirt. I obviously carried too much stuff up. Though it did speck with rain just before sunrise so I did used my jacket, mainly because I had humped the thing all the way to the top.
I walked around and had a brief look round the outside of the temple. There was a lot of people up here, but nowhere near what it would have been like last night.
The sun started rising just after 6:00 am and we had to jostle for a spot facing east. The sunrise was not very spectacular at all, I had seen some photos from one earlier in the week so was a wee bit disappointed with my luck, but it was still lovely and the atmosphere was nice so I have no complaints at all.
As soon as sunrise was done I left, Benne wanted to stay up for a while and visit the monastery but I wanted to start down before the crowds got to the narrow stairway, I was hungry and wanted coffee, as well as the opportunity to stop when I wanted to take photos.
Just below the steep section I ran into the kiwi couple again and stayed with them all way back down, nice to have some-one from home to chat to about some of the things happening in NZ.
Walking down in the early morning light was very nice, the scenery is fantastic from up here and as it was cloudy it remained a did not get really hot, enough to get a good sweat on though!
After an hour and a half of descending we were through the entrance gate, past the big Buddha, past one of the many shops selling plastic crap and I was back to my guest house.
I grabbed a much needed shower under a pathetic trickle of water before hitting the restaurant for breakie and coffee… just after 8:00 am…
It was a good start to the day, an awesome walk to a very spiritual and much loved place.
I did not do much else for the rest of the day, I watched one of my all time favourite movies “Fever Pitch”, wrote a blog post for the previous day, did a load more washing and dozed. Situation normal really. I was lucky with the weather and got my clothes and shoes dried before the rain came. When if finally did arrive it rained fairly solidly for the rest of the day.
At 3:00 Benne, Galya and I walked down to the neighbouring guest house as they had beer, we had a celebratory glass or two and some fries – very yummy. We chatted for a while and then they left and I had a final glass and contemplated life before leaving too.
Dinner at the guesthouse was a quiet affair, we were all tired, though I still managed seconds of rice and curry!!