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:

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