On the first half of my gorilla trek (see previous entry), I struggled. It was hot and humid. I was perspiring heavily. Once we were near the canyon bottom, there was a lot of steep up-and-downs. I almost didn’t make it to the gorillas. Once in the presence of the gorillas, movement was fairly easy, but then there was the trip out. The hike up the side of the 1,500-foot, steep mountain.
My knee was bothering me, I was continually out of breath, and slowly losing my coordination. Since I have a history of heart disease and knee problems, I asked the guide if I had any options. He indicated that the locals could carry me out. An embarrassing option, but I couldn’t see any other reasonable alternative. I was moving so slowly that it would take me hours to get back to our mini-van.
So I ordered up a ride out. Within a short time, a group of locals showed up with a rattan stretcher. They had me lie down, and up the mountain we went. No zigzag route, just straight up the mountain. With no stops. They did, however, occasionally change carriers. About halfway up it started to rain hard (with lightning firing off all around us); the carriers covered me with two raincoats and continued up.
As we progressed up the mountain, more and more locals trailed us. As we neared the top, we must have had 30 people following us. After a relatively short time, maybe 30 minutes, I was back at the top. At the top, I fist bumped (called bungaing) all the carriers.
I felt bad for being such a whimp, but nothing could dampen the way I felt after spending an hour with the gorillas. This was a day to truly remember.