It was a year ago during our second semester exams – there was a long gap before the chemistry paper so I thought, “why not?”
We camped on top of a water fall. They call it ‘Handapana ella’ because the moonlight falls on it illuminating the water flowing down. From far I can see Adam’s peak and the flare from the lamps in the temple. No human activity at the top because only we were bold enough to climb all the way up the water fall and pitch a tent there. In case of a flash flood we’ll be washed down all the way to Rathnapura but luckily that didn’t happen.
The next day our objective was to go back down. There was no proper track so we climbed down a path parallel to the waterfall. This wasn’t a proper path because it was an area full of tall ferns. Needless to say the presence of snakes, thorns, leaches, and insects was most welcoming. There comes a point where the track ends because it brings you to a sheer drop at the end of a cliff (sometimes the ferns cover the edges of cliffs inviting you to your death/fatal injury) – then you have to climb down the water fall.
I’m afraid of heights but my two friends were fearless. One guy ties a rope on to his waist and anchors himself from the top and allows us to climb down from it. Sometimes the rope isn’t long enough and you’re on your own. You got to pay attention to the rock shelf – the cracks, the roots that stick out. You have to use them as your grip and slowly slide down. But what happens if you slip or if your root breaks? Very simple – you fall into your death or you end up with painful fractures. Now imagine this: You’re sliding down the slippery rock surface – hoping to find a grip to place your foot, or a root of a tree to hold on to because if you make a mistake, you slip anyway. Your heartbeat is going up because you’re afraid of heights and you can hear the sound of the water splashing – louder than the waves in the ocean. You need to move closer to a rock shelf which gives you the grip you need to climb down, but that seems so far away from you. You need to breathe because sometimes you forget it. Then your friend comes and tells you: “Take a leap of faith”.