I am writing this from the Peakspot Lodge, a stone’s throw away from the Volcanoes National Park. Earlier today, I visited the Africa Rising Cycling Center and indulged in nature walk near the source of Mukungwa River.
I have been sleeping here since 2012 when the facility was just a campsite. Over the years, I have created lasting memories here. I remember partying all night long with a group of domestic tourists. I remember nursing sore muscles in the sauna after climbing the volcanoes. I remember sitting by the fire and bonding with strangers from countries I had never heard of.
Speaking of strangers, I interacted with culturally diverse hikers driven by different motives, some of which are hard to comprehend. I met foreign tourists who climb mountains to battle their personal demons, tackle their insecurities or satisfy their empirical urges. Their reasoning sounded crazy to me but I listened with an open mind.
I will never forget an old fella who revealed to me that seeing the gorillas was the best experience he had ever had. It took him many years of hard work to be able to afford a trip to the gorilla habitat. On that day, his dream came true. We drank to that.
I am not camping tonight. I am staying in a cottage that feels like home. This home away from home is built using volcanic rocks, reflecting the environment around the Virunga Massif. Through the window, I can see lush vegetation creeping to the walls. I am enjoying life in the jungle without compromising the comfort of my cozy house.
The fireplace is ablaze. As the firewood is consumed, exhaust is channeled out through the chimney. I look around and recognize some books on the shelf. Books I read during my previous stays. I remember being so attached to one of those books that I felt like losing a friend when I turned the last page. Another book made me feel like having a face to face conversation with its author.
It’s getting late. I am about to go to bed. I can’t wait to wake up to the soothing music produced by talented birds. Birds are gifted musicians. Different species of birds boast unique tones and genres while some individuals have their own signature songs. Some have one song in their repertoires while others own several singles, even a few albums.
Chances are, you have heard early morning hit songs from birds before. Birding enthusiasts call the early morning show the dawn chorus. It usually starts as early as 4 A.M. and lasts several hours. While birds can showcase their singing flair any time of the day, it is the dawn chorus which is more audible and consistent.