Good morning 5am. Left at 6am to drive to see the gorillas. Wearing my brand new New Balance trainers – whoops I didn’t break them in first oh well. We all got split up in different groups. There was 7 of us with 3 guides carrying machine guns. We drove up to the top of the jungle and started trekking on the outskirts, rough terrane with lots of hills. As I am so unfit I struggled a little but I felt more sorry for Jim (age 73) as he found it difficult after 2 hrs. He tried to give up about 20mins before we met the gorilla family but we all pushed him to go as we were so close, no point in giving up now. Amazingly he carried on and he gave me the strength too as well. Then we commenced deep into the jungle with the guides hacking at tall plantations so we could get close up. FINALLY…I was at the back of the line and all of a sudden a loud grunt and moan caused the crowd to run back towards me. Even though we were told not to run, instinct kicks in to do the opposite. The guides were able to calm the massive silverback gorilla and we got closer to see him. Wow…I was overwhelmed with emotion when I seen him. What a sight so close up, he was just sitting eating the plants. We were so silent just staring and taking photos/video. Then the guide pointed and we seen the mother and a baby. The baby was such a show off swinging on a branch and staring at us. We stood for a whole hour watching 2 silverback males, a mother and a baby. Then we had to trek back out.
We stopped off for a spot of lunch outside the plantation and I had ordered a Chicken toastie with some fruit from the hostel….it was disgusting looking. The chicken strips looked overcooked and had been sitting out in the air for days. The fruit was old as well, I was gutted because I was so hungry from nearly 3 hrs of trekking. Also silly me didn’t bring enough water and complaining is not welcome so I just commented I couldn’t eat them. Off we went the way we came and I was completely running on empty. My group noticed, Henny and Erica (South African Couple) became worried about me so they gave me their water and an energy bar to eat. I was extremely thankful to them and carried on but I couldn’t hike the hilly bits so the guide had to pull me up every time (there were lots of them). I felt so embarrassed and sad that I was slowing the group down. Even Jim was doing better than me. I have never felt so happy to see the end of the trek in my life BUT OMG was it worth it – hell yes!