Sunrise was strange – coppery, elusive – like another sunrise, in another place. We packed up as reluctantly as ever. The only thing that ever spurred us on was the thought of the trip back – the traffic after Kandy if we left Barking Deer Lodge too late.
As we crested the hill at the end of the driveway, we looked up at the twin pillars of the Gap, as always. Checking. Marking its majesty in our memories till our return.
Turning sharp left at the bottom we headed for home down the rutted ribbon of asphalt, winding through the little settlement at the old line-rooms, past the Forestry Department. Unusually, for a Monday morning, the road seemed empty. No tuk tuks or tractors coming our way, no bus chugging up the steep climb out of the pine forest. Already nostalgic for water rushing over rocks, deep, scented forest and glades choked with illicit cardamom, we were chattering merrily, plotting our return.
Was it my imagination, I asked, or did it seem cooler? Normally, by now, we’d be about to be plunged into that familiar sense of inevitability – our Knuckles weekend was effectively over. Soon we’d have descended to tropical altitudes, the damp blanket of mid-morning heat would force up the shutters, blocking the scents and sounds of the mountains. This morning seemed different.
And there, drifting down the stairs from the kovil we came across the reason why – we were entering a world of swirling, misty clouds. Our first taste of the infamous – and undeniably poetic – Knuckles mists.
What should have been a white-knuckled drive down through the estates and forests to the river valley six thousand feet below was too enchanting to be frightening. The further we descended into the heart of the white-out, the quieter, more hushed the world became – no calls of pickers, or cries of birds, even the eternal wind seemed to have stilled … Held in the embrace of cool, moist air, we were alone with the mountains.
Thanks to Ailsa’s Travel Theme, Mystical. Pop across to view her mysterious fairy forest and other entries.
The most beautiful compliment – Aken, an artist in Africa, was inspired to paint this splendid watercolour of the bend in the road.
If you haven’t seen his site, I recommend it to you – not just for this rendering of our morning on the mountain, but because his vision is unique.