Africa - Day 10 - Volcanoes national park - gorilla trekking

So today was the day that this trip had really been about. I kind of feel that we haven't had enough game drives and seen many animals but then I have to remember that the gorilla trek was the main event. We will definitely come back to Africa and do more of the safari parks one day.
So we started at the meeting point and were entertained by a local dance group. They were great to watch and had such energy that you couldn't help but smile back and tap your feet. We were trekking with JP and Hailey except we couldn't call him JP, he was for today undercover as Ryan the Aussie. So turns out when they issue the permits for the trek they need to see your passport and as the group was split over two days they had managed to split Hailey and JP. Leilei told us that they never actually compare the pictures to the faces so as long as they didn't mind the certificates being for a different day and probably gorilla group then we should get away with it. We did and Ryan has been praising his best Irish accent for tomorrow. The first creature we actually came across was the world's largest worm. I mean seriously this was enormous, I took a photo with Al's foot next to it to show the perspective. We were trekking for about 1hr30 up a fairly steep incline but at a very slow pace. I could feel short of breath but nothing I couldn't cope with. Leilei had suggested in the spirit of responsible travel we hire a porter, everyone else in our trekking group hired one each but there weren't many points when we needed help and we felt a bit harsh making him carry our stuff so we just carried it ourselves. We got to the trackers and left everything with them except our cameras, another 5 mins walk and jackpot. We arrived in a large open section where the gorillas were just chilling out. Right by the side of us the large silver back was sat chewing bamboo. Although he wasn't the official leader his father was and was now too old to really lead the group. Just across from him were several other gorillas, some juveniles were running around jumping on each other, wrestling and generally just having fun. They were incredible to watch, almost mesmerising. A mother and baby then came into view, we were told the baby was 6 months old. So adorable, he was still learning to walk and kept falling over. We got some epic video and photos while they were perfectly clear and out in the open air. After about 10 mins they decided to head into the forest so we followed them in. The adult gorillas decided it was time for a snooze, they were so relaxed around us and didn't mind us being there. One of the females was chilling out rolling around on her back, we couldn't have been more than 1 metre away. I turned settings to get some more pics of the large adult sleeping behind us, it looked like it was dreaming in its sleep as it kept twitching, it then sneezed and would itself up. The kids were still running, jumping and rolling around. All of a sudden the huge silver back was pushing another adult gorilla right into our path. The group got split into 2 as half where pushed forward and half of us moved backwards. I was filming at the time but sadly didn't capture it as I was bricking it. My heart was racing afterwards, it wasn't that they were coming for us rather we were just in their path but their speed and strength was incredibly powerful. We then spent ages watching a mother and her two sons. One of the sons was the 6 month old baby and the other looked a fair bit older. The baby was nuts, he obviously wanted to play with his brother but his brother seemed more interested in chilling out. The baby was biting him, jumping on him running around him and generally being a nuisance as far as the older brother was concerned. He kept batting the little one on the head who would occasionally run to his mum for a cuddle then 5 seconds later would be pouncing on his brother again. I got some fantastic video footage. The hour seemed to fly by, I could have stood there forever and watched their interactions. We were also incredibly lucky with the weather, in fact since we started using from the tents the weather has been lovely so give it another couple of nights and the rains will be back I am sure. The trek back to the jeep was much easier, Al was tracking us on the way up and it was something like 1.5k in that 1hr 30 and our altitude was around 2700m. We stopped over at a gift shop on the way back where they write up your certificates and we finally found some postcards to send to the parents (even though we know you are reading this). After another lovely hot shower we headed into town to find the local post office and once again we were subjected to African time. Nothing is ever quick, there was only one guy in front of us and I have no idea what he was doing but we seemed to wait forever. Finally I told Al just to get the money out and see if that would be the trigger for him to serve us, it worked the other guy was still doing something with this package after we had found room for the stamps and were halfway down the road.  For some reason I am craving chocolate, we found a mini supermarket, i.e. a tiny shop with as couple of goods and clearly some western items. At the back of a shelf I found a lone mars bar, whatever the cost I was having it. It was not great, the chocolate had melted and reset several times by the look and taste of it :-(
We have decided we are definitely going to the Golden Monkeys tomorrow along with JP so Leilei booked us our ride. It's another 5am wake up call.