The First Gorilla TrekHiking up the steep hill, I kept my head down as I placed one foot in front of the other. I recalled the sign in our lodge at Mahogany Springs that proclaims, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” However, as sweat ran down my back I was grateful it was sunny. I’m certain rain would have turned the steep trail to the Mubare Group into a mud slide in no time.
The trail was narrow but well-maintained considering the dense jungle’s efforts to cover the bare earth. We had passed through several gradual switchbacks, ascending to this steep final climb. My porter, Moses, carried my pack and offered a hand over the uneven jungle roots. He spoke little English, but was attentive company.
We continued, single file up the mud-terraced slope, and I could see the trees leveling off up ahead. We were getting close. I began to imagine what it would be like to walk into the clearing and see the endangered mountain gorillas for the first time. Tears welled in my eyes as the anticipation erupted. I wiped my face before anyone could notice.