Volcans National Park
A Fantastic Hour with Gorillas
My wife, son, and I had asked for a short, easy hike in this Rwanda national park to visit one of the 14 groups of mountain gorillas (after all, two of us are 70). The guides worked to make this happen, but no one told the gorillas. Once we clammered over the rock wall and entered the park, our guide kept receiving radio messages from the trackers. Our group of gorillas, the Ntambara, were working their way up the side of the mountain. After hours of hiking up through the jungle on a steep, muddy slope, we reached the ridge at 10,000' elevation. Then down a 45 degree vine-covered slope into a crater where we spent a memorable hour with 14 gorillas - babies, juveniles, mothers, and a silverback. Just 12 to 20 feet away. People ask if it was frightening. Not at all. Just very fascinating. The silverback took a look at us and lay back in the vines for a nap. It was 6-1/2 hours, 1000 muddy vertical feet, and worth all the thousands of calorie burned and exhaustion.
By Bill Young
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