We got up fairly early, had a light breakfast and headed our separate ways. Joyce has a bum knee so she isn’t able to climb Lions Rock so I was dropped off by our driver and Joyce proceeded to do a tuk tuk tour around Pidurangala which is an ancient site located near Lions Rock while I proceeded to climb about 1252 steps to the top of the rock.
I set out for what I was expecting to be a very challenging climb. It was hot and humid and I was already sweating like a whatever sweats a lot and a perpetual light mist of rain speckled my glasses enough that combined with my very irritating eye floaters rendered me clinically blind. The first 100 or so stairs were original stone stairs, polished smooth over a millennia, lightly dusted with sand and fine gravel and made for a size 6 foot. I did ask myself why am I doing this? I was pooped after the first 100 or so steps but my second wind kicked in and there were 10 billion people climbing the same steps so it was a slow and easy accent and not so hard after all and worth every second.
Lions Rock Palace
After a shower and a light lunch we were picked up by our safari truck and headed out to Kaudulla NP to view the large groups of elephants that were in the area. We had a removable cover on our truck and after an initial light rain we were able to remove the cover and stand up before entering the grasslands where several herds were grazing. The elephants were beautiful, the location was so much different from Africa but…..there were at least 35, probably 60 safari trucks pursuing the same herds. In one area by the lake, 15 trucks were vying for space, many of the elephants were clearly agitated by our presence and Joyce and I said get outta here now. It was out of control and something needs to be done. We were able to get away from the crowds to some extent and were able to watch the elephants in a slightly more natural setting. And then the rain came. Big time. We were essentially driving paths in wide open grasslands with lots of mud underneath. And the mud and water didn’t take long to bog us down. We had seen enough and wanted to beat the crowds back to the gravel road and lo and behold, we got stuck. We were concerned about this naturally and nearby were a couple of other trucks but they were also stuck so our options were, no options. Long story short, we got unstuck, the rain stopped, we got back to town and had a wonderful evening.
Kaudulla National Park