More Gorillas – How you doing?

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The big guy was a sexy beast.

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More photos from my trip to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Which seems to be what people are interested in, more than anything I have to say.

About the trek, do wear good shoes the hike to see the Gorillas can take awhile and the trek can be slippery and parts are quite steep. Do hire a porter, our porter was amazing and so helpful, well worth the ten American dollars. Take water and food, our hike was over an hour and a half each way and we stopped for lunch in a lovely clearing. Sunscreen should go without saying and tuck your pants into your socks so that the ants can’t get in and bite you. One girl was bitten by a fire ant and it looked nasty. Careful what you touch along the path, many in our group wore gloves to protect their hands from the stinging nettles and there are a lot of stinging nettles. ENJOY the journey, the park is beautiful. Take the time along the way to look at the park and appreciate where you are.

Take lots of photos of the gorillas, they are AMAZING

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Volcanoes National Park

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The biggest reason I wanted to go to East Africa, Gorillas. There are two choices to see Gorillas, Rwanda or Uganda. I chose Rwanda.

Heading out to Volcanoes National Park I was really excited, months of anticipation and soon I would be hiking to see the Gorillas. I was going to see them in person. When you get to the park you are briefed on how to act around the Gorillas, how close you can get and are then put into a group of eight to head out to see your chosen group.

You have input on the length of walk but not much on which group you will see. My group was for a medium length walk to go see the Ntambara group. Then you get assigned a porter to help you on the hike. The porter is well worth the ten American dollars. My porter pulled me up some steep, slippery inclines, helped me avoid the stinging nettles and also reminded me to look at the beautiful views. He also carried my backpack, he was awesome.

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The hike is part of the journey and take it all in, Volcanoes National Park is a stunningly beautiful place.

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Seeing the gorillas for the first time, I actually squealed. After hiking for just over an hour and a half there was a clearing and there they were. It is hard to believe how close you can get to them, you can hear them chewing the bamboo.

The guys who over saw the gorillas and kept us at a safe distance:

Gorilla Group

My first view of the gorillas:

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Newcastle Island

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A quick ferry ride from Maffeo Sutton Park will take you over to Newcastle Island.

What a gem the island is. Right off the boat there is a beach to your right and up the path a restaurant and ice cream shop also a large hall that often hosts weddings. There are also hiking paths, mostly one up the middle and one that goes around the whole island. The trail can be completed easily in an afternoon and that includes a stop for a swim at one of the several beaches on the island. If you go up the middle you run into other paths and at most forks in the path there is a map showing you where you are and how to get to where you want to go next.

The ferry is a quick ride and provides beautiful views on the way:

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The main trail’s are all well marked and easy to follow, even I didn’t get lost and I can lose my way anywhere:

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The trees and paths make for a nice break from the hot sun:

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Making your way to the centre of the island you will find a very pretty lake:

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Hiking to the far side you will find a beautiful view and a lovely little bench waiting for you:

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I already have plans to go back with beaches and views like this, I believe it’s one of my new favourite places:

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Pipers Lagoon Hiking

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After swimming at Pipers Lagoon I want for a walk.

Walking towards the end of the beach there is an area that has trails that lead to all sorts of beautiful views. It really is a wonderful place. The trails are all short and easy to follow. There is also a calmer bay on the one side that when the tide is in is a perfect place to swim in calm waters. While the tide is out you can walk across the whole bay or even see a deer:

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Otherwise stick to the paths and discover lots of scenic lookout locations:

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Svartifoss

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Another waterfall! This one we had to hike in to see it. We were promised at least one waterfall a day by our guide Jens and we got at least one a day, usually two or three not counting the ones we drove by.

Path to Svartifoss:
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Passing other smaller waterfalls along the way:
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Svartifoss:
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Sólheimajökull Glacier

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That is the snout or tongue of the Sólheimajökull Glacier. The actual glacier is massive and from this point of view you can only see a small tip of it. You can do hikes with guides out onto the glacier and next time I go to Iceland I’m totally going to do one. It’s a crazy landscape and it’s hard to get the perspective of how big it is.

Here is a picture with people that give you some idea:
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There are crevices that look blue and that’s volcanic ash and not dirt making the glacier look dirty.
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Also big rocks left behind as it melted:
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Becoming Obsessed…..

Sidmouth South West Coast Path

The above is a picture of Sidmouth it is where my Mom is from. It was my Grandparents favourite place. It is one of the stops along the South West Coast Path.
I mentioned the path before, 630 miles, it starts in Minehead and ends in Poole. Passing through a lot of my families history.

Wanting to do a trip that would cleanse my brain, restart my ambitions this is the trip I want to do. It would take fifty-two days to complete and since I got the idea in my head I can’t stop thinking about it. I keep making lists for the trip, what to pack, lists of B&B’s I could stay at. Working on a budget, trying to figure out how to take two months off.

I could always do the path in segments over time. Or if I can only do a few weeks I could do the Jurassic Coast portion which includes Sidmouth, perhaps not as ambitious but I think would still get me the clear head I’m looking for. Also it would be much more affordable, fifty two nights in B&B’s starts to add up.

Whether I do all of it or just part it’s an adventure I’m going to do. Perhaps for my birthday next year, two weeks of walking alone connecting to my families history.

In the meantime I need to remember I have other things to accomplish now but it’s so easy to get distracted by a goal that feels so right.

South West Coast Path 2014

South West Coast Path Book

I ordered the guide book after talking about it with my Mom.

The South West Coast Path is 630 miles around the south west coast of England. The standard suggested itinerary would take fifty-two days. The scenery would be spectacular, the experience I can only imagine would be life changing. How I don’t know…. but can you walk 630 miles and not be changed by the experience?

The start is in Minehead and then ou walk from small town to small town, staying in B&Bs or small hotels until you get to Poole. This trip like Iceland it has a pull, not just a “I would like to do that” but a pull that is demanding attention. A feeling that this is something I am suppose to do.

I’m already making up excuses to only do a portion, to cut it short but then a feeling that it’s the whole path that is calling returns. It would be next year that I would like to do it. I would have a year to plan, where, when and how. How do I get two months off work, who looks after my home for two months, how do I afford all my expenses for two months back home and while on the trail.

The more I dabble with the planning, the more I see that it can be done but it will take a leap of faith that everything will work out. I think we all need to take a leap every now and then. Upon my return from Iceland I will start to put my plans down on paper and next year I hope to be heading off for fifty-two days of hiking.