Our journey to Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) began when we left our room above at Slightly Chilled Guesthouse at 1:00am. The air was crisp and clean. The path up to the mountain is fairly well-marked and well lit. Ten minutes into the journey we ran into Buddhist monks who emphatically said that the only way up was through their nifty little donation center. You can simply walk around this little obstacle but it’s worth noting because they confused us a bit at the beginning.
The journey to the top is definitely an obstacle and will have even a good athlete feeling winded. We took our time and with 10 or so stops it took us about three hours to get to the top. As you approach the higher elevations there are many prayer flags like those that Maggie is posing beside.
Along the way, we marched upward to the sounds of many locals singing traditional Buddhist songs. The atmosphere, especially because we were surrounded by darkness, was electric. People of all ages, many barefoot, helped each other up. It was clear that Adam’s Peak was not simply a hike to them – it’s a highly ritual and deeply spiritual practice.
There are many shops like this along the way. Be sure to take your own water bottle before you head up. Prices can be 3-4 times as expensive once you’re on the trail. Once at the summit, we waited for the sunrise by taking a nap on the concrete alongside some of the locals.
At one point a small puppy came up and snuggled into the crook of Maggie’s legs. After about an hour we decided we could see the sunrise on the way down so we left a bit early.
And this is what awaited us. As color entered the sky the fog began to roll like waves over the mountains. We got a hot cup of sweet milk tea for fifty rupees and sat for 25-minutes just to soak it all in. It was a profound experience that neither one of us will ever forget.
As if Sri Lanka hadn’t already wowed us enough, we ran smack into this as we climbed down through the fog. The impressive sites of nature and man continued…
This was our view of the peak once we neared the bottom.
The Reclining Buddha was one of our final photo stops.
Once we returned back to Slightly Chilled, we decided to settle in, get a fresh pot of orange pekoe tea and enjoy it with some Sri Lankan chocolate before heading to bed. It was an experience of a lifetime!