Our sole reason for being in Hatton, or more specifically Delhouse, is to climb up Adam’s Peak. This is the mountain behind us in today’s blog image. It stands at 2,243 meters high and the 6000 steps that get you to the top are said to involve a 9 mile round trip. I know, this does not sound like fun at all, but it’s one of the top rated things to do in Sri Lanka so here we are!
Adam’s Peak actually holds a lot of religious significance and is not only visited by tourists but also by the locals. Every month when there is a full moon, local Sri Lankans make the pilgrimage to the temple at the top of the peak as a symbol of their faith. The reason this peak is said to be so significant to religion is because a footprint was found up there and legend has it that this footprint belonged to Adam. It is apparently his first step after being exiled from the garden of eden. I’m not a religious person so my trip up there is more about the scenery and getting some exercise but it’s quite fascinating the lengths people go to in order to prove their faith.
Reading online and speaking to other travellers it was recommended to us that we do the night climb. This involved setting off at 2am (yay) but on the plus side we would get to watch the sunrise whilst up at the peak. We therefore packed a rucksack and tried to get an early night. I don’t know if it’s just us but whenever we know we need to get to sleep to get up early, we never can! So when the alarm went off at 1:30am we must have only had an hours sleep.
Feeling sleepy we forced ourselves out of bed, chucked some clothes on and set off reluctantly. I was surprised at just how many people were making the trip at this time, it seems really popular and makes sense to do it at night as it’s very mild up in the mountains. The whole route to the peak is paved and lit quite well and the food stalls seem to stay open 24/7 so it’s not as risky as we thought it might be. Although it was pitch black the views of the partially lit peak under the clear starry night were worth getting up for.
The climb up was hard work, the terrain was fine but the steepness of the steps really took it out of us. After every 50 or so we would really feel the burn in our quads and have to take a little rest. On multiple occasions local women in their 60’’s overtook us whilst waking up barefoot! We were making good time though and realised we would get to the peak too early for the sunrise so decided to stop at some of the stalls en route. We got chatting to one stall owner and asked him how they get all the food/water up the mountain. It turns out local labourers are paid the equivalent of £5 a day to haul 50KG bags up. On our way down we saw many of these men and I couldn’t believe how they managed to carry such weight on their head, whilst walking barefoot and in full sun up 6000 steps. What a job!
The last 600 steps to the peak were the worst, I swear they were twice as steep as the ones at the start. Puffing and panting we made it to the top only to be met by a policeman who asked me to put a jacket on and then let us take the final staircase to the temple. Disappointingly this area was just a wall of people and there was no chance of us getting in. So instead we headed down a few steps and got comfy a little lower to watch the sun rise. What was a perfectly clear night then suddenly turned cloudy and as the sun finally rose we were all left a little underwhelmed. It was beautiful, for all of about 10 seconds, but the clouds soon ruined it.
It seemed too busy to try and attempt to get in the temple after the sunrise so we decided to just head on back down the 6000 steps. The views on the way down made up for the disappointing sunrise, the area is full of mountains, lakes, huge tea plantations and greenery as far as you can see.
I hate walking down, I think given the choice I would prefer to climb up again. It wasn’t long until my knees were aching and Nicks legs were frantically shaking every time we paused for a rest. I’m so glad we’re travelling at 28 and not 68, today is another example of something we just wouldn’t be able to do 30-40 years time.
Realising our bodies hurt a little less when jogging down the steps in zig-zags (we picked this up from the locals), we made some good progress and finally made it down after around 2 hours at 8am. All we had on our mind at this point was food and sleep so we headed straight for breakfast. Thanks to Agoda messing up our booking yesterday we had to move hotel before we could get some sleep. To apologise the hotel owner upgraded us to a bungalow room high in the mountains. We thought we’d got lucky until we saw the route up to our new room, as if 6000 steps this morning wasn’t enough we now had 15 odd flights of stairs to climb with our backpacks. Ouch.
We spent the rest of the day napping and enjoying the view with a book out on the terrace. That was until we got hungry and had to venture back down the mountain to eat. I dread to think what my legs are going to feel like in the morning!