The New York Times

Traversing (Together) Through the Mist

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Explorer

ON A FATHER-DAUGHTER TRIP TO SEE PRIMATES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK IN RWANDA (STRENUOUS HIKE REQUIRED), IT’S ALL ABOUT CONNECTION.

Eight of us, including my dad, clung to tangled vines to steady ourselves against the slippery undergrowth along a slope in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. We were there to spot gorillas, and the forest was eerily quiet while we waited.

Roger Amani, one of our guides, looked at us with a finger to his lips, reminding us that we couldn’t make a sound. If we did, we might scare the primates away.

We scanned the thick vegetation of African redwood trees. We knew from our trackers that the family we had hiked three hours to see, the Agashyas, were in the vicinity.

One of my fellow hikers, an older gentleman from Boston, looked at me and whispered, “You know that movie ‘Gorillas in the Mist’? I feel like we’re living it.” A few minutes later, there he was: the silverback Agashya, the head of the family, sleeping underneath a redwood and surrounded by a half-dozen gorillas. I grabbed my dad’s hand and squeezed it so hard that his skin turned deep red.

This moment was why I had come to Rwanda.

AN IRRESISTIBLE OPPORTUNITY

Rwanda was a father-daughter trip, the first my dad, Vikesh, and I had taken together. I had long wanted to track mountain gorillas, a critically endangered species that lives only in Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, and my sights were set on Rwanda.

My interest was driven by the country’s recent news about gorilla tourism:

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The New York Times

The New York Times4 min read
Why Soap Works
At the molecular level, soap breaks things apart. At the level of society, it helps hold everything together.
The New York Times4 min read
A Terrific New Thriller About a Mysterious Man and Rats. Lots of Rats.
We all know what it’s like to worry that something terrible has happened to a person we care about, as the hours pass, and there is still no word, and even implausible explanations (flat tire, broken phone) become increasingly unlikely. Plunging his
The New York Times4 min read
Writing a Family Memoir When Your Grandfather Was Stalin's Bodyguard
“Young Heroes of the Soviet Union,” by Alex Halberstadt, is a moving and often funny memoir about the author’s family and their history.