03 January 2012

From Misty Monsters to Off-road Races - Part 2

Contd. from Part 1...

After the misty adventure at Riverstone reserve our bus whizzed through some winding narrow roads... towards our next stop.

ranges of hills captured en route

Many years back with my fellow classmates, juniors and seniors I recall coming to this special spot. But the visuals I recall are all hazy from that time. But I can't forget how much fun we had, hand in hand.. about 50+  girls.. dashing uphill against the warnings of the teachers. This was a nostalgic place for me.. the renowned Pitawala Pathana.. it's much more than a sloping rocky hill carpeted with a thin layer of parched grass.

rocky outcrop and parched grass, and in the distant is our bus.

We thought we were taking the correct route. We passed a hamlet with little huts almost invisible from the road. And after sometime we realized that we had driven long past the Pathana and was heading the wrong way. When we had to turn around, we were at a very narrow path. The bus as you see in the picture was slim but long. On one side was a slope, on the other side was a precipice. The bus moved foot by foot and then inch by inch forward and backward and finally faced the right direction. That was quite an adventure itself, watching while seated inside the very bus trying to turn 180 degrees.. at an almost impossible narrow path.

Surrounding mountain ranges

Soon we arrived at the spot and our bus parked at the parking area, at the foot of the Pitawala Pathana. One went to get tickets while we breathed a good dose of oxygen. It was quite windy, that we almost lost our caps! After a round of posing for pics, we started our ascend.. slow but steady.. is what I'd like to say but.. gosh.. the wind didn't let us move an inch!!!

The shrubs at the top of Pitawala Pathana

In all my life I've faced such gale-like winds just a handful of times. Once at Tantirimale the same happened, and again at Illukkumbura hike. But this wind, this particular wind at Pitawala Pathana is a one you should seriously watch out for! It's nothing ordinary nor terrestrial. With each step we took, the wind pushed us back with its greatest force. It felt something similar to walking in water, submerged to the neck. We had to hold on to each other, wondering any moment the wind might carry one of us like Dorothy and Toto to the Land of Oz (as in Wizard of Oz).

I'm not sure how far we headed uphill, maybe it was a kilometer or less or more. While we girls climbed up straight fighting against the wind with all we've got, the guys went off at a tangent and climbed up the other hill which was quite far from us.. and we watched them turn into tiny dots!

These shrubs led us to the spectacle - the Mini World's End!
At the top we sighed, thinking we conquered the battle with the wind... but no soon a colleague shouted at us to sit down and hold firm. We obeyed at once or else we could have tumbled like tumbleweed and gotten tossed off the hill, from the other end! The shrubs you see up in the 4th image was right before us. And then we got to know that it was hiding something intimidating - The Mini World's End!

We thought we might have to crawl the rest of the way. But our colleagues found some pockets void of our adversary - The Wind.. and led us through a foot path. After few meters we came up to the shrubs in the 5th image. And then they pointed.. the spectacle.

The Mini World's End.. unfurling before your eyes!

 Take out the shrub and there you go!

Two of our colleagues, guys of course, dared enough to climb down to the rocky slabs beneath the shrub and even invited us to climb down. None of the girls moved. But few guys challenged their fear of heights and not just here, even climbed down from the other side of the shrub and took photos, facing their backs to the Mini World's End! Yes, we had a bunch of daredevils with us. :D

I climbed up to the shrub above and took these photos while hanging on it. It was funny when my friends started shouting at me, to step back at once! I think a little thrill won't do any harm, if you can get to witness something this good. But of course you need to maintain a firm footing and something strong to lock on your arms. And I put my life in the hands of the very shrub.. who daringly grew at the edge of a steep cliff... watching over this endless micro world!


Got some good news! I've updated My Albums so now you can see all the photos of Pitawala Pathana, Riverstone Gap and some scenes captured on the way. They're all marked as *NEW* for your ease.
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