...of stinging neetles!!!
Ok stinging neetles or not today is up there with one of the best of my life. Jumping in some 4x4's our crew set off to the reception buildings for all the formalities b4 our trek could begin. Whilst standing around a rumor quickly spread that michael jackoson had died, after a little while it was confirmed i was a bit shocked but nothing like when steve died, but one of the dudes in our treking crew was a massive fan and he took it pretty bad, he had tickets to see him in london and everthing. he was the kinda guy who just didn't shut up so it got a bit old listening to it all. Our guides for the day were introduced to us and they gave us the run through about the family of goriilas we were going to go hang out with and all the ins and outs of what to to do and not to do.
We had been warned it could be up to a 4hr hike up steep mountain sides through stinging neetles so i had pumped my self up and hoped my now not so happy knee would make it. We all jumped into another viechle and missioned to a village close to the base of the mountain. Where we met our armed guards who were there to protect us from dangerous animals and oh um maybe the other type of guerillas who may have wandered in from the congo. aparently some people were killed in uganda doing a gorilla trek by angry congonites at some point, i reckon that the ugandans would probably have the story that people were killed in rwanda but anyways, i didn't think we would come across any elephants on the mountain. As we were starting out our walk through the village the guide radioed the trackers (the gorillas have trackers following them 24/7 as to keep an eye out for poachers and snare traps) to find out how long our trek was gonna be.
as we arrived at the edge of the forest we were informed that the gorillas were only a 30min walk and they were actually heading down the the mountain towards us. The trk was indeed pretty full on, well it would have been if the gorillas had not come to us it ended up only taking 15mins before we popped around the edge of the steep incline and could see the silver back chilling just across from us eating what they call gorilla cellery. watching for awhile i heard a rustle in the bushes just behind us we were told to back up a bit which was really hard as we were perched almost on a side of a cliff and sitting amongst slippery stinging neetles. I heard a fart sound, i looked around and then realised it was a gorilla fart i couldn't hold back and started a muffled giggle, others joined in, oh the simple things in life.
After a while the gorilla behind us moved down beside us only about 8metres away if that and sat there it was so freaking wikkid. He eventually moved on and over towards the silverback. A young one maybe no more than 2foot high came bundling out of the bushes across the incline and rolled down until he came to a halt upside down, definitly up there with the baby rhino as one of the coolest thing ever. When the guides felt it was right to move around closer our tracker cut a way around with his machete. When we got to the end of the path we were greeted with the sight of a mumma gorilla and a 2wk old baby, she craddled him under some fern leaves so he could not be seen to easy, but was magical to say the least. We kept our distance and admired how much like us they really are.
I got told to move onward a bit more and as i rounded another bush the young one was still playing and he once again came bounding but this time only a couple of metres in front of me, he beat his chest and jumped in the the air and then bounded back down towards what must have been his slightly older sibling and started harassing them. Was truely amazing i thought he was gonna jump up on me he was that close. We are not allowed to get closer than 7metres but we cannot stop them from comming up to us, like with whales and boats. Everyone squeezed around to watch him play for awhile then we popped back around for another look at the baby and the mum. As we were standing there a huge black back popped out of the bush just near us to check out what we were doing.
He was an awesome sight and i have to say i was a little worried as we were between him and the baby. He just looked at us and then wandered off back into the bushes. Our time was up and we had to say goodbye. Our short walk back to the village through the stinging neetles was fueled by excitment of what we had just encountered, any sting i recieved just added to the stimuli for my memories. What a day!!!