Gorilla Tracking Part 3
We had been hiking for about 70 minutes when we caught our first glimpse of gorillas across the valley. At first I just saw some branches shaking in the distance.
Then I saw a blob of black fur.
It was SO cool.
At this point, we all had to leave our walking sticks behind and take a final drink of water. You weren’t allowed to eat or drink within a certain distance of the gorillas.
One of the machete guides now led the way, cutting us a path with his machete. It was crazy to walk where no man had walked before. How crazy big and amazing is this earth that there are wild parts of it left where no one lives, and where there isn’t even a trail to walk through, and you have to cut your way through the thick underbrush. (I don’t really know what underbrush is, it just seemed fitting in that sentence. So I apologize if it is inaccurate. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to double check my thoughts on google). We are quite the expeditioners. (Spell check seems to think that isn’t a word. but spell check can’t stop me from using it!)
We continued on through the dense mountain forest until we came to where the gorillas were. We were allowed one hour with the gorillas. Seeing gorillas in the wild was pretty surreal. Now I look back and I think “I did what????” But at the time I couldn’t even wrap my mind around what an amazing thing I was experiencing.
One gorilla was laying in the leaves. Several were up in the trees having a mid-morning snack. At one point, the silverback started walking towards us. It totally spooked me. Rita said, “extend back” and we all stepped back and the gorilla changed its path. The silverback just stood there for a few minutes and we all furiously snapped pictures.
Many other family members followed the exact path that the silverback took… including two mama gorillas with babies on their backs. I had hoped that we would see babies, but I wasn’t sure if it would happen, so I was super excited when this dream became reality. We all gasped with excitement/in awe of the adorableness of the gorillas babies.
The babies totally wanted to be our friends and entertain us. The climbed on and off their mom’s backs and played with vines and flailed their arms. It was the best. Definitely my highlight.
to be continued…