Hawagala ; A hike to remember…

19420895_1610386525661522_1126015527631476709_n.jpg

Hawagala ; as seen from a point on the road while we were approaching the ridge from a flank side.

As usual, the members of Mora Hiking club gathered in front of the University main gate at about 3:30 a.m. and took off to Hawagala on the bus we had hired. We reached Balangoda, had the breakfast there and headed to the University of Sabaragamuwa to collect our lunch packets. Then we came back towards Balangoda and took the road towards Udagalagama to reach the mountain. It was about 10 O’clock when we reached Udagalagama as we had to wait until the breakfast was prepared and wait some time to collect the lunch packets as well.

Untitled64.jpg

Udagalagama co-operative shop; The place where we left the bus and took the road on foot. (photo is from google street view)

We had to leave the bus near Udagalagama co-operative and started trekking on the road under a little shower of rain. After trekking about three kilometers along the tar treated road, we took a left turn to a concrete road as directed by villagers who were very friendly. The concrete road had a dead end and then on, there was a foot path along the edges of the paddy fields with two concrete ‘A-dandu’ over small waterways. Then, the foot path went along the tea plots and at a point, it turned towards the wilderness.

19264564_1610388655661309_1695147559880235079_o.jpg

A creative notice…

Untitled64534.jpg

The beginning of the concrete road ; it is a left turn when coming from Udagalagama. Neglect the angle of the click. (photo is from Google street view)

IMG_1677.JPG

End of the tea cultivations… (photo credit goes to Nilanka Chathura.)

Then on, the trail went through several types of vegetation (Thick forests, short grass lands; mainly Kalanduru, isolated Pines and small shrubs and bushes) towards the peak. At some areas, the trail was not so clear and made us to go straight towards the direction of the peak off the trails via short grasslands until we catch a glimpse of the trails again.

IMG_1690.JPG

Ascend through the forest. (photo credit goes to Nilanka Chathura.)

IMG_1700.JPG

Short shrubs and bushes.

19452946_1610387538994754_3540278942911356695_o.jpg

Short grass areas with distorted pine trees.

Halfway to the peak, we encountered another group of hikers (there were about 150 people) whom were a batch of undergraduates of a private educational institute. We took the lead overtaking them and reached the peak in about two and a half hours since we left our bus. At the peak, eight members of our club who were camping there for two days joined us. Along the way, it rained several times. But we were lucky enough it to be sunny by the time we reached the peak.

Untitled65465564654.jpg

The orange dotted line show the roads we went on, red ones are for the route we ascended and the purple dotted line is for the descend. Other than them, the summit, the waterfall and the place where we left the bus are also shown in the map. (Map is from google earth.)

19417363_1610392672327574_7791112901792505178_o.jpg

Hawagala summit as seen from half way along the trail which is now in parallel to the ridge.

While we were on the peak, we got the news that one of the members of the other group of hikers from the private uni have been attacked by wasps. So we gave some piriton, which was the simplest first aid possible at the time.

19420473_1610385682328273_1390825355954824454_n.jpg

A comb of wasps.

19264329_1610398782326963_8127118706893000616_o.jpg

Some of the people from the other group of hikers…

Then we had our lunch at the top and rested there for some time, appreciating the glamorous view around us. From the top of Hawagala, which is a relatively flat peak, a person can clearly observe the southern end of the central highlands, Nonperial states, World’s end, Aadara kanda, Pareiyangala, Haputhale range and Bandarawela south side, Samanala wewa, Udawalawe area, Balangoda area and Dethanagala. And I think that even the coastal line off the Hambanthota area would be visible in a clear day.

19453174_1610391188994389_443001158538001549_o.jpg

Belihul oya basin coming down the southern edge of the central highlands, Pareiyangala, Aadara kanda and the Udagalgama village as seen from the peak.

19441954_1610397072327134_6959433649937674735_o.jpg

Enjoying the glamorous view…

19477737_1610399202326921_914485833391823903_o.jpg

And some landscape photography too…

19442050_1610398635660311_2664611706168132529_o.jpg

Terrace paddy fields in the Belihul oya basin.

19452850_1610390278994480_3700503216147080157_o.jpg

A rainbow popped up just before we leave… You may see the play ground of the University of Sabaragamuwa towards the left edge of the photo.

Then we took the group photo. By that time the other group of hikers had started descending via another route as they had brought a guide with them. Considering the consequence of fevered wasps by the large group of people,  we also took the other route to descend. But as they were no hikers, their descend was to slow to tolerate. So we overtook them and made our own way towards the village.

19468038_1610253172341524_2611114784499789782_o.jpg

MORA HIKERS

On the way, we took a long rest until all our members are gathered as some of our members were stuck behind the other hikers, unable of overtaking. After all the members were gathered together, we took off again and we encountered a set of other hikers who have been left behind with no clue of the guide they brought. So we let them follow us and descended rapidly towards the Belihul oya basin. On the way, we encountered a tea plot and then the rest was easy as it was just to follow a foot path.

Following it, we came to a beautiful waterfall and it had several natural  stone pools on top of it, which were deep just about six feet. So the members took a bath there in the shivery cool water and refreshed ourselves. Then we left that glamorous place and took the way to the bus along the foot paths, then a concrete road, the tar treated road and finally to the bus.

WhatsApp Image 2017-06-27 at 12.54.04 AM.jpeg

The water pool with shivery cold water. But still, we had a bath and refreshed ourselves. (Photo credit to Ayesha Ekanayake.)

WhatsApp Image 2017-06-26 at 11.28.59 PM.jpeg

The water fall…

Then we left the Udagalagama area with a mind full of memories and happiness. We had the dinner at Balangoda and were able to reach University by 1:00 a.m. safely.

p.s. : I made some personal observations and deductions on this hike;

  • Hikers need to have a good physical fitness so that it will give you time to enjoy the hike without wasting it for panting.
  • Seeing the other hikers re-filling their water bottles from slow moving water stream; first, a person must be we aware of some simple facts like not to drink water from water ways with low flow rates and secondly, hikers must have a good discipline in water consumption as it is a critically limited but an essential resources in the wild.
  • A kit of first aid is a must to be carrying with a hiker and a hiker must be well aware of what first aid to be given in relevant situations considering the members who faced minor injuries and the wasp attack.
  • Other essentials ; a knife is a good friend when going via wilderness with no trails. A torch won’t be useful on a one day hike if the hike goes on good timing as expected. But it is good to be ready for the odds I suppose and it turned out to be correct on this hike where we were off the trails and was about 6:30 p.m. when we returned to the road and had to trek about 3 k.m back to the bus in the dark.
  • Finally; bring only memories, leave only footsteps. If you cannot comply with those simple guidelines, do NOT visit these places.

If you really like it, don’t try to click it.

79eb6ef7e189c890175ced941501090f-the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-1468816082.jpg

Today, spending my vacation, watched the movie ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’. A fantasy / drama movie which describes the end of the career of a 16 year dedicated employee under the job title ‘negative assets manager’ in the ‘Life’ magazine which is about to be closed and so on… well, this little note is not to describe the plot of the movie, but to weigh a single line that I saw (and heard) in the movie.

That is ;       ‘If you really like the moment, don’t click it. Just live in it.’

Regardless of who said it to whom and even though whether it is really said, still it was felt by me, because I was already believing it. If you face a specific moment in the life that you really really enjoy, you would not need to take a photograph of it simply because it will surely rest in your heart forever.

So, next time you face such a moment, try not to click it but to embrace it the best you may.

The national butterfly of Sri Lanka ; Sri Lankan Birdwing | Troides darsius

19400676_1345259935592869_5614428694576494994_o

This is a large sized , endemic, migratory species that belong to the family of Papilionidae which can be moderately found in both forests and home gardens all over the country.

It flies very fast and observe that this is a female as there is a little white dusting in the fore wing upperside along the veins.

info source: A pocket guide to the Butterflies of Sri Lanka by BCSSL
The photo was clicked at the dry side of Knuckles reserves.

ජීවන මග

DSC_0226-01දුම්බර කඳුවැටියෙ උතුරු කොන හොයාගෙන රත්තොට ඉඳං ඉලුක්කුඹුර පාරෙ අපි කන්ද නගිනවා… වැඩි නඩත්තුවකට ලක් නොවිච්ච, බෝම අමාරුවෙන් වාහන දෙකක් මාරු වෙන්ඩ විතරක් ඉඩ තියෙන තාර පාරෙ වංගු වංගු යන අතරෙ එක පාරට වංගුවක් ගත්ත ගමන් පාර මැද වයසක මනුස්සයෙක් සරමත් උස්සං හිමිං හිමිං කන්ද දිහාට යනවා. වැඩි වේගෙන් නොගිය නිසා අනතුරක් නොවී බේරගෙන අපි ඔහු පහු කරං අපි ඉස්සරහට යනවා…

ටික දුරක් ගිහිං පාර අයිනෙ කඩයක වාහනේ නතර කරලා තේ බීල එළියට බහිද්දි මේ වයස මනුස්සයා පේනමානෙට ඇවිත් ආයෙ. තේ බොන අතරතුරේ අා ගිය කතාබහ නිසා හිතවත් වුණු මුදලාලි ස්වේච්චාවෙන්ම ඉදිරිපත් වෙලා විස්තරයක් කිව්වා.

“ඔය ඉස්සර මේ පාරෙ බස් එක එලවපු ඩ්‍රැයිවර්. හොඳම ඩ්‍රැයිවර් කියලා සම්මානයකුත් හම්බුණා ලු. දැන් බ්‍රවුන් පේපර් බෑග් අලවලා විකුණනවා. ඒව අරගෙන පහළට ගිහිං විකුණලා ආයෙ එනවා පයින්ම. ”

ඒ කතාව හින්දා ලාවට අනුකම්පාවක් මිශ්‍ර වෙච්ච අමුතුම හැඟීමක් පහළ වුණා… තමන්ව ජීවත් කරවපු එ් මාවතේ ඒ මනුස්සයා තාමත් යනවා නේ ද කියලා…

Great orange tip | Hebomoia glaucippe

19144095_1340978479354348_2424199572931669556_o.jpg

This is a medium sized migratory species that can be seen in almost every part of the country in forests as well as in home gardens.
The appex is orange in colour and is divided along the veins with a black margin. The ubderside is similar to a dry leaf; giving a good camuflage effect.


The photo was clicke at the Knuclles reserves on the way to Sera Alla in a relatively dry season.

info source : A pocket guide to the butterflies of Sri Lanka by #BCSSL

Beetle with the fancy antennas.

18700694_1323070994478430_2877332715917240423_o.jpg

This bugger was sitting on my study desk and I clicked it due to its fancy antennas…


This belongs to the group of Beetles which fall under the order of Coleoptera. The key factor which distinguishes beetles from other insects is its Elytra ; which is a protective cover over the abdominal area formed by hardening of the fore wings.

A sincere thank goes to Mr Tharindu Ranasinghe for making me aware of the facts.

EXMO 2017 ; A post script

 

Civil Engineering Exhibits.JPGThough it is about a month since the function happened and couldn’t note down a word regarding it, thought of putting up a note at least now.

EXMO 2107 happened to be the largest engineering and innovation exhibition held in the country. Held by a prominent technical university of Sri Lanka, university of Moratuwa, I am pretty sure that the people who came to see it were effected by it in several ways.

First, the school children and other bright minds who came to feel the subjects are sure to be inspired. The younger minds would have gotten the inspiration they needed to excel in the academics and the others would have seen the horizons of the technologies in Sri Lanka even as a third world (some call it a still developing) country.

As  well, the general public who came to see the exhibition, with no much technical knowledge, but with common senses must have seen that the government university students are not people that just protest and get chased away by the police as per ordered by the political hierarchy  (well, that is the image the mass media is feeding  the general public with.) but are best in their fields.

Then there is this third party, which have been hurt by seeing it. A fraction of this party degrade this effort to trend Science and Technology within the country just because it is done by the University of Moratuwa and the other fraction does so because it is done by a government university into which they couldn’t get in even though they were privileged to get educated in a state college funded by the government.

Well, I don’t intend to answer that third party via this article. But I intend to speak up about another party, which didn’t come and put up their reasons why they didn’t come.

Summarizing what they said to me ;

‘We are not eligible to comprehend an engineering exhibition’ (an undergraduate in Science in a state university.) ,

‘Didn’t have time bro.’ (some fellow engineering students in a state university.) ,

‘I have no reason to come.’ (an undergraduate of IT in a private university)

and the list goes on as I invited almost all my whatsapp contacts with a message.

 

Addressing the above three parties ;

engineering is the application of sciences in practical world… being a science student, how couldn’t he/she not understand the content of an engineering exhibition..? a pure LOL there.

For my fellow engineering colleague, I am disappointed.

For that no reason person, well, it is even disgusting to have a person with such attitudes in my contact list.

Winding up the article, it is a must to state that the reason for this country still to be an undeveloped / still developing (or whatever you call it) is nothing else, but the attitude the citizens of the country bear.

Oriental Palm Bob | Suastus gremius

18595176_1317646615020868_3796215688605229444_o
Well, gonna disappoint you again by saying this is not a moth, but a butterfly even though he is not beautiful as his fellow butterflies.

Belonging to the family of Hesperiidae, this butterfly is also known as Indian palm bob.

A small sized butterfly which is common in almost every area of the country but in cold areas. Note that there are black spots on the rear wing unlike the most of others in his family who have white spots.

The photo was clicked at a Kandyan home.

Info source : A pocked guide to the butterflies of Sri Lanka by BCSSL.

Marbled White Moth | Nyctemera coleta

DSC_0336-01

First, you must observe that this has a non-club shaped antenna making it off the sub-order of butterflies and place itself in the order of Lepidoptera – Moths. Further more, it has a resting posture in which its wings are kept downward rather than the butterflies which does not. (Observe the second picture)

White mDSC_0257-01arble moth is also known as White tiger moth. The subject in the picture is a Nyctemera coleta nigrovenosa Moore ; which is the Sri Lankan sub species.

This seems almost same as Tigers in butterfly group in wing pattern at once. (There is a picture of a Tiger in the account. Try identifying differences.)
The photo was clicked at a Kandyan home garden under sunny conditions in a morning at about 8 a.m. The tree on which it feeds is a curry leaf plant (Murraya koenigii) and it rests on a Pepper (Piper nigrum) plant.

Must thank Mr Thisaru Guruge (@thisarug) for identification. Source of info : web.

Common Leopard | Phalanta phalantha

18451408_1308312689287594_4336037692638903296_o.jpg

This is a common migratory species which is also known as Spotted Rustic.

Notice that the outer margin of the hind wing is wavy and the black marks along it are almost uniform. The new born butterflies have a purplish shade as well as one of the sub species does.

This species is found throughout the country and can be seen roaming around their LFPs usually as it is said to be a sun loving butterfly.

(source of info: A pocket guide to Butterflies of Sri Lanka by BCSSL.)