Hike to ‘World’s End’ – and I forgot my coke bottle!

I had the chance to rid the world of evil, but I forgot to bring the coke bottle on our hike to World’s End. (watch The Gods Must be Crazy)

Gigi woke me up at 5:30 AM, and I felt poisoned. Last night was our night out on the town, IMG_4921and I was paying dearly for it. The last time I was this bad was New Year’s Eve 2010 at our friends Ryan and Alicia’s place. I will not dwell on the pain in my head and stomach as I trudged the 7 miles at elevation above 2000 meters. Let it suffice that this author is now on the wagon for the next few days to detox.

We had to get up so early because the drive to the park entrance was 1 1/2 hours, passing the highest train station in Sri Lanka along the way. The hike to world’s end was 3 miles through Horton Plains National Park, and we had to arrive before 10 AM because fog rolls into the area daily and obscures all the panoramic vistas. As we parked at the park entrance a 6 pointer (antlers) elk/deer was munching grass within 10 feet of our car. The walk was through rolling grassland along a river that was stocked with rainbow trout by the British. Stumpy rhododendron-looking trees peppered the landscape. The IMG_4877hilltops were lush with forest. The trail was clearly marked, but often it was rocky and wet and muddy. It was cool. I started the hike with my fleece shirt and rain jacket, but well before the end of the hike I had them tied around waist.

When we made it to Land’s End we found a concrete platform at the edge of an 870 meter sheer drop. No guardrail. The view was down into a narrow valley with a few small farms inIMG_4881 it, the mountain on the other side of the valley facing us. Off to the right was the view of miles upon miles of land falling away. Supposedly, on a clear day you can see the ocean. We did not have such clarity of air, but it was still an impressive view. I really felt that this was the I-will-never-be-so-far-from-home-again moment of the trip. I mean we were smack in the middle of Sri Lanka at an altitude above 2000 meters. We ate lunch on the platform a good 10 feet from the precipice, and by the time we had finished the clouds had blown in, completely obscuring the view.

On the walk back, which was after 10 AM, we began encountering groups of Sri Lankan’s hiking out to World’s End. Today was a full moon holiday in Sri Lanka. That Sri Lanka has a full moon holiday every lunar month was a surprise. We felt a little sorry for these day trippers, they were going to hike all that way IMG_4902and would only see a cloud bank. Oh well, the hike itself was still beautiful. I guess they don’t read the tourist guidebooks that say to get there before 10AM.
On the ride back, we passed through one village that was having a real celebration. Everyone was dressed in white and there was a parade with some people at the front holding burning torches. We also passed people preparing a fire walker pit. Now that would have been something to see, but we just did not have the time to stop and wait for it all to happen. We were driving 4 hours down to the coast to the town of Tissa. Tomorrow, we would be taking a safari ride through Yala National Park. Leopards. IMG_4897elephants and crocodiles, oh my!


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