King Kong Territory

With other journalists in the Virunga, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sometime back in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo….The climb up the dense Virunga was agonizing. We’d been up since 5:00 in the morning and now it was well past mid-day. The sun had come out scorching bright and then rain poured…cold and unforgiving. The dampness, vicious insects and the thin air weighed on us making some of us cry…yes, real tears. By the time, we had all accumulated sufficient amounts of frustrations enough to blow up the mountain, we huddled to ditch the search. And just then, the sound of a twig snapping violently in the thicket nearby jolted us. Panic and excitement set in. We gathered the little bits of courage left and edge forward slowly, nervously, eyes and ears searching. Suddenly, in one swoop he jumped out of the thicket behind me towering, screaming, his silver back shining in the afternoon sun, hairy muscular arms violently drummed his broad chest, giant white fangs flashed out of his open mouth and his fierce beady eyes pinned on us. Everyone froze. We all knew the drill…and melted into the damp grass…diminished. This was not our territory. It was gorilla territory…

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