23 February, 2010
This morning an early start was called for as we still had a few kilometres ahead of us.
The Horton Plains National Park is around 40 minutes from Nuawara Elyia and needless to say we want to avoid the stampede of tourists on this beautiful Sunday, so we have to rise and shine at 6 am. Admission to the park costs about 18 US dollars and right at the entrance Chris locked horns with a Sambar deer. After a three-minute struggle it was clear who was the alpha male, and Chris and the deer were friends again.
After around a one kilometre hike towards Baker Falls we discovered a large pool containing Aponogeton jacobsenii. The water was slightly murky and relatively cold. In the same habitat we also discovered Utricularia graminifolia, which gleamed in rich light green in the shady areas and had a pink colouration in the sunny parts. On the bank area we also found a moss and a species of Eriocaulon. After the photo session above and below water, we followed the small stream up to the Baker Falls.
These waterfalls are gigantic and we made straight for the flora and fauna. In the bank area, we found numerous moss species both above and below water. After a few hours of collecting, we headed back in the blazing midday sun. On the way, we discovered a stream with some trout, which were living on small shrimps of the Caridina genus. The trout were introduced by English colonial rulers and have almost wiped out the shrimps. With permission from the park's wildlife director, accompanied by three rangers we filmed and caught some of the strictly protected shrimps. However, we were not allowed to take the shrimps out of the park, as even the best contacts and begging and pleading didn't help. “We have strict rules" was the ranger's answer.
Even though in the end we were not allowed to take the shrimp with us, and we did not see any leopards (which are apparently widespread here), it was still a very nice day. On the way back we quickly stopped at a small stream, which was home to small crabs and snails.
In the evening once again there was chicken and fruit salad with lots of ice cream.
Goooooood night Sri Lanka
Chris and Stefan