May was a surprisingly good month for trekking there was only one day when we could not offer a full program, although the High knuckles trek 22km from Base camp to the top of the Knuckles Mountain 6112 feet which is a hard trek was not as popular due to the overcast weather blotting out the views from the top.
The Heeloya trek which is our most popular trek 13 km to 16km is the ideal all round trek suitable for families and everyone, we start after a 4 km drive at the edge of famous, picturesque Heeloya Valley with the terraced rice paddy fields; we walk down to the valley bottom and follow the river bed up through the rice fields into the Jungle whilst the Qualified guide explains the agriculture and local plants including the spices. We stop for lunch at the waterfall for a swim and a rest and then onto Tangapore where we either camp at base camp or come back to Welikande Villas.
There is also the village walk taking in our new Spice garden project and the sub-tropical plants here you can take a stroll through the real village life of our area, past communal washing baths and the local school ending up in Siridigana with its temple and weavers cooperative it’s a nice walk about 6 km in total.
The waterfall tour is about 40km by Tuk Tuk and takes in 5 or 6 waterfalls, with 10 km trekking, tea factories a Buddhist temple and ends with a swim by a waterfall.
Experiencing the Knuckles Mountain National Park and its surroundings by foot or Tuk Tuk with an experienced guide allows our guests to share in this un spoilt part of Sri Lanka as well as making employment for many of the High Mountain peoples and furthering the work of Unesco and the Sri Lankan Forestry Department that do such a good job of maintaining our area.
We always buy the relevant trekking permits as this money goes directly to the Forestry Department and provides a rudimentary mountain rescue service that helps if the weather turns bad.
I would like to give a special mention to the guides the authorized guides have had a proper training and are very proud of their mountains and genuinely like to share their knowledge. They have a very short working high season maybe 5 months in which to earn their families yearly income.
We like to provide a packed lunch as well as transport this way we can keep to a minimum the amount of litter as we always collect our rubbish up it is a challenge that we are facing especially with the ubiquitous plastic bottles.
The local people have expressed a wish on cultural grounds that our guests respect the natural modesty of the Sri Lankan people particularly when it comes to swimming in their back yard waterfalls so we ask the ladies to wear an old T shirt when swimming to cover the shoulders.