The Silverback knuckle-walked past me, the feeling of his soft fur on my arm was exhilarating! After a 7 hour hike through the jungles of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest we were finally with the Mountain Gorillas.
The climb to get to them was excruciatingly difficult. We climbed 6500 feet a few times up and down. It was hot and humid and poured rain for 7 hours straight. Taking pictures was difficult with the rain and darkness that was falling, so we just enjoyed the sense of being with the gorilla family.
Until you hike through the impenetrable forest you just can’t imagine what its like. The vines and ropes will trip you up constantly, climbing on the bare rock and mud straight up and straight down, grabbing on to branches thick with thorns anything to help get up the mountain. You have no equipment just water, food and a camera.
When we first arrived where the gorillas were, we sat down to watch them, the Silverback and a female were fairly close to me.
Suddenly the female walked past me and then the Silverback followed and he brushed past me, I felt his fur on my arm. Everyone in the group were in awe that he touched me and I couldn’t believe that he was that close to me!
After that happened my porter said to me “Come on we have to follow the Silverback”, I was exhausted and said no its ok I’ve seen him, he touched me. But he wouldn’t take no for an answer, him and one of the Rangers practically dragged me up the mountain to get me around the rest of the group so I could see them better.
We viewed the gorillas for about another half hour and then they left the area. So now it was time to go back to the start of the trek, it was another 3 hours away, about half of that was straight up again then straight down and finally leveling off.
Once we got up the rest of the mountain it finally stopped raining! As we neared the bottom of the mountain we entered into one of the local communities with huts and buildings and lots of people around. Even though we were near the bottom there was still quite a ways to go and it wasn’t as steep as the rest of the mountain. These people live on the side of the mountains and walk up and down all day which makes them incredibly fit.
Once we got to the vehicle we were still soaking wet, its so humid you just don’t dry out. I couldn’t wait to get some water in me as I had shared some with my porter. When we got back to the lodge it is a 150 step climb to the main area and then another 50 or so steps to get to your tent. Surprisingly it wasn’t that difficult to climb those stairs, I thought it would be after that 10 hour mountain hike. The shower and the wine sure hit the spot!