Thursday

Trekking - Noah

Wow! What a day! It started before the sun was up. We jumped in our jeeps and headed to the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters. When we arrived there the group of Intore dancers that we saw perform yesterday performed again for us and the others as we were getting ready to go trekking. Some of the dancers remembered us and we exchanged hellos. After their performance, we joined them to the side of the stage and spontaneously started to dance. It just seemed like the right thing to do! After that we gathered up into groups of eight and headed up the mountain. My group was scheduled to see the Amohoro group of gorillas which consisted of 18 gorillas in total. As we headed up the mountain we began to feel the elevation changes immediately, so we took many breaks along the way to catch our breath. When we finally arrived to where the family of gorillas were nesting, the elevation was 3,000 meters! Yet most of us were so excited to see the family that it didn't matter how tired we felt. It was amazing how close we were to the gorillas! I was only a couple of feet away from the dominant silver-back and a few of the younger gorillas. They didn't seem to mind the company though because they were either napping on the brush or nibbling on some bamboo. One of the younger gorillas was climbing a tree behind us and startled us when he took down an entire tree without any struggle! Overall, it was an amazing experience, one I know I will be talking about for a long time. It makes me sad to know that there are still poachers who set traps and seek to kill these amazing creatures. However, I am very happy to know that our $500 directly helped the conservation of the gorillas and local community as well.

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