Fighting through overgrown paths, over crumbling rock, and past the occasional snake, the hike up Ella rock really was a climb through nature.
To get to the start of the hike we walked along the rickety (but still in use) railway track. It was amazing to see how the railway was constructed through the tropical hill country, and it also felt quite surreal to be walking along a live track – we certainly felt a million miles away from the Newbury to Paddington line!
Other backpackers (shout out to Ally Munn) had warned us about the misleading signs that send you off deep into the jungle where overpriced tour guides wait to save you from misdirection. Wary of any profit-driven advice, the four of us set off with the Lonely Planet Sri Lanka book as our guide.
We were off to a successful start but soon realised that our version was a little outdated and failed to mention that you have to hack down the overgrowth to find the correct path. Next step…a dead end with a local guy trying to give us directions. We all thought we were being very street wise by politely declining his help…ha, we thought, he can’t fool us with his overpriced tour. We set off back the way we came to avoid the expense, only to find out minutes later that the man was in fact just being friendly and helpful by showing us the right path.
Once we found our way to the clearing, the rest of the hike was a straightforward, slightly tiring (exhausting) journey filled with incredible views. The pictures don’t really do the view any justice but I will let them try!
After spending some time at the main viewpoint, we crossed over to another waterfall view. Yet again we were greeted with a spectacular scene, this time shared with an incredibly located Buddha statue. The spiritual element to this view really added something special, and it was a clear indication of the vital role that nature plays within the Buddhist faith