21 November 2009
A Letter to Younger K
Chavie has tagged me this time and I’m supposed to speak to my own 16 year old self :) So my advice to younger K will be on camping and hiking as usual..
Hi 16 Year old K,
How are things?
I know this is not the easiest age to listen to the advice of older or matured people, but neverthless I wanted to say below few things to you.
Just two months after your sixteenth birthday you will set off for your first major hike in your life. That will be the first of many climbs to Kirigalpoththa. You will camp out at Horton and remember to take two extra pairs of socks and warm blanket. Otherwise you will shiver whole night without any sleep as I did. Ideal would be to take thermal socks and a sleeping bag (but, I know it will be much later that you get those luxuries).
An year or two later you will do a daring hike across Knuckles Region and you will fail miserably if you do not plan it well. Never underestimate the weather in the jungle and 25 km across Knuckles will never be like Colombo to Panadura. Also I’m not asking you to drop your best friends but it is always good to have 6-8 equally fit people if you are doing a very strenuous hike. Never take more than 8 people for your hikes, you will realize why, in your fourth hike to Kirigalpoththa.
Try to get a good haversack that keeps all your belongings tightly packed and always keep two free hands while hiking.
If you want to climb Siripada off season from an off track, study the map at least ten times. Yes, ten times! Otherwise you will spend the night below the mountain, just behind Siripada and spend the whole next day doing circles in the thick rain forest, 'Samanala adaviya’ finding the way out. Moreover you will have to abort the hike and come back to the starting point with blood soaked feet full of leaches.
If you want to climb Saptha Kanya, you have to start from the end of the mountains, never from the middle. Same is applicable to Great Western.
Never camp out in a remote area where there is security threat, without informing the villagers or security personnel. There is a high chance that you might get injured (or even killed), not from the armed ruffians but from your own Army or police.
By the way, take your own camera whenever you go out. I realized now that I have missed many golden opportunities to capture beautiful locations.
I guess this is more than enough for your age and finally I’m posting the scenery from the top of Kirigalpoththa, just to give an impression of what is up there on the top. Forgive me for the bad quality of the picture as it was not taken by a sophisticated digital camera but an old analogue camera when I was 16 years and two months old :)
Keep on Hiking!
Mine will be an open tag :)