I stood up in a small clearing, high on the mountain in Virunga National Park. The day was brisk, the air thin at 9000 feet plus- it had been a few hours climbing the steep mountains of Virunga, sometimes on our knees, with no guarantee that we’d see a gorilla at all.
It’s quite a lot of energy and resource to devote to such a trek. Jim and I had just been in Tanzania the week before. Thousands of animals could be seen there in one direction, and from the relative comfort of the Land Cruiser. Sketching there was easy, and productive.
Our guide up the mountain, a seasoned park ranger suddenly put his arm out for us to stop, be quiet, and then the bamboo began to shake with an unseen force, leaves raining all around us.
And there he was, dappled light on his blue black hair, dark amber eyes calmly regarding us. He could have been no more than a few strides from where I stood, and we huffed out a greeting, eyes averted, as we had been trained to.