Country : Russia
I have been a writer and blogger since 2013. I can’t imagine my life without reading books and writing. I like to make notes about nature and human relationships.
A jungle night in Sri Lanka
Life is a big adventure. I was sure about that, though sometimes a chain of events brings you in a place that you could hardly see in a dream. While preparing for the trip to Sri Lanka, I and my husband Sam planned the route that should end in a jungle of the Central Province, somewhere between Kandy and Matale towns, on the coasts of the fast-flowing river. It’s a marvellous part of the Earth, a well of pleasure for the five senses, and a great place for meditation: a clear transparent water flow runs between huge ancient stones, silence and only sounds of the waterfalls disturb it, butterflies with blue and green spots fly around. There are no people and mobile communication. It’s a perfect place for rest.
We came here with a local guide by a jeep. Honestly, nor me, neither my husband are outdoor enthusiasts, so we as urban guys took a very big luggage. We planned to live in a tent a couple of days, and go back to town with the guide by car on the third day. The first two days were so happy, we spent time with comfort enjoying nature around us. So when the guide didn’t come on the next day, we were surprised, though glad to stay one more night in such a wonderful place. “Probably something happened”, we thought expecting him on the next day.
The jeep didn’t arrive even in the next morning, so time came for us to move ourselves. We collected all our luggage, and piece by piece carried it to a trail. We knew there was only one trail, and we should just go forward to reach a road. We were moving slowly since our bags were heavy and the trail was tough. We often stopped to have rest, fasten the belts which kept the matrasses in place on the bag, and to relax hands tired of handles. However it’s quite difficult to stay long time in a jungle of Sri Lanka: leeches climb the legs even through the laced boots. After two minutes of such rest, nervously jumping, we were removing leeches from abdomen, fingers and feet. Though those species are not dangerous, they are absolutely disgusting, so we had to go as fast as kilos of our luggage allowed to go. Naively hoping to quit the forest before darkness, we went about three kilometers with load, and thus lost about three hours. In the darkness we continued moving with bags, though the only visible thing was a white plastic box with dishes, tied to the Sam’s bag ahead. The night absorbed all the rest.
Rain began to pour. It was falling maybe three times during the night. I was glad, because I could drink rain drops, since we didn’t have any water bottle. The problem was that trousers and T-shirt got absolutely wet: we didn’t know how long we had to go, and a cold night was near.
What is a night in the jungle of Sri Lanka? Jungle densely covers mountains of the island, and at night there is a thick fog. Night was moonless and starless, and we were hopeless to find a natural source of light. We were unlucky: at the end of the third day both torches and three phones were discharged. We had few matches that we struck to light the trail ahead. We were in the jungle at night without light, in the total darkness. It was like we found ourselves in a cave with the entrance closed by a huge stone. Finally we understood that our bags didn’t allow us to move forward, so we decided to leave them by the side of the trail. We took only a backpack, the tent and a packet of dry clothes. We tied ourselves with a rope to stay in contact if we go too far from each other, and continued our journey.
How to find a way if you can’t see a thing? We were looking at the sky, luckily the trail was single. A dark grey stripe of the sky over our heads limited by black trees aside showed us the way. We were going by feel: if we touched leaves of bushes, we would return to the middle of the trail.
“Let’s pass four waterfalls, and there will be one kilometer to the road”, we imagined our way like that. So we were counting waterfalls. Actually, waterfalls should be passed very carefully at night. Sounds of a waterfall aware of a possible danger: a wooden bridge without rails is ahead. My left leg dropped down! I fell on the back trying to catch the ground and fix the balance by the right leg that was still on the bridge. Sam fell near, grabbed me and pulled on the bridge. I cried. It happened so quickly. In such situation seconds are crucial. We both could fall in the waterfall, then our fate would be unpredictable: the bridge was a few meters over the river, a stream bed was armored with rocks. We could get severe injuries. If we were lucky enough, we could get small damages, nevertheless it was almost impossible to climb up in the darkness.
We catched our breath, and continued moving. Suddenly we realised we had trekking poles! Each of us took a pole and went forward checking the ground. The poles were very useful especially near the waterfalls: we knocked on the sides of bridges to keep some distance from the edge.
The road was muddy. Our feet were stepping in deep dirty puddles, water was flowing into the boots. It was an absolutely new feeling for me: I was going totally wet through the jungle, dirty water with blood-sucking leeches was in my boots, my back and legs were exhausted, stomach was striving, but there was only one thought in my mind: you must go, slowly, step by step. I remember, there was no despair, panic or fear. It seemed that we could do everything together.
Suddenly we heard a sound somewhere near. We understood it was an animal. Leopards, wild boars and buffaloes live in the jungle of Sri Lanka. We couldn’t see it. Sam knocked on the road by the pole, and the animal ran away. We had a stroke of luck. At that night no animals disturbed us, except for leeches (those had a fantastic supper!).
Tired, I thought a few times, “Let’s stay here, in the tent, up to the morning”. But the answer was always the same: you have energy, so you must go. Suddenly we felt a hard surface under the feet.