Our trip to Udawattakele was a game changer for our trip. We originally hoped that we'd be able to spend a considerable amount of time outdoors walking and hiking through some amazing sanctuaries and nature parks, but it turns out that I underestimated one problem. Leeches.
They absolutely grossed me out. I could not stand them getting all over my shoes, and two even managed to bite me. The worst part was if you stopped to poke them off your shoes with a stick, several more would fling themselves at you. Steve didn't have it quite as bad, but my lovely Italian Merrill shoes just couldn't fend off the little beasts because they could wiggle right through the mesh. Gross.
We ended up staying just over an hour and that was more than enough for me. As a result we ended up shuffling around our plans and decided against climbing Adam's Peak and visiting the Siharaja Forest Preserve, one of the remaining rain forests in Sri Lanka. But the best part was that it gave us the time to visit Dambulla and Sigirya, which we hadn't planned on doing.
Map of the park, we made it from the lake in the middle to the dotted lines in the upper left before I gave up and we left.
The lake at the entrance of the sanctuary. The trees and foliage around the lake was really pretty, but the lake itself was kind of ugly.
The paths were really pretty and there was definitely a lot to look at on our walk.
It might be hard to tell, but all of the dark spots are ants. There was a huge line of ants crossing the trail and it looked like the whole colony had packed up and was moving. I've never seen so many ants in one place.
The forest also had a lot of really interesting trees like this one with spiraling branches that were almost vine like.
These two branches wound together and grew into this huge branch. We saw several places where branches had intertwined like this and grew to really large proportions.
No pictures of the leeches; I was in no shape to tolerate photographing the little beasts and we high tailed it out of there.
At the exit we saw this monkey sitting on the tree stump. They had a whole gang at the entrance of the park and it was a bit intimidating to walk by them.
He refused to pose well for a picture, but what can you expect from such cheeky monkeys?
Battle wounds from our walk in the park. In the end, the bites were ridiculously small, but they bled like crazy.
In case your wondering, apparently bath soap is a deterrent for leaches. The host at our guesthouse recommended it to help keep them away. I can't say for sure if it worked or not, but keep a bar on you just in case!
Check out the rest of our Sri Lanka travels: