National Geographic : 1957 Jul
Flight to Adventure arrived in a Land-Rover. He was our towel waver; we learned that he was the park warden, too, when he admonished us for having flown so low during our "bombing run." "Bad for the animals, you know," he said. "Stampedes them, which is jolly bad for us if we happen to be in the way." Authors Hitchhike to Ruwenzori We spent two days at the lodge, seeing the park and its animal life-elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, kobs, wart hogs, and hippos.* And by luck we met a German woman there with a little Volkswagen; she was bound for Mutwanga, back across the Congo border, in the foothills of the Ruwenzori. So we rode with her instead of trying to hire a car. The Hotel Ruwenzori sits high in the foot hills. Bright flowers, green lawns, and blos soming trees surround it, and from our room we could see the steep mountain slopes and get glimpses, when the clouds cleared, of their snow-covered Desert peaks, some of which tower to Bred th more than 16,000 feet. living rep Easily run For the first few days we rested, Easily run ate, and caught up on our corre spondence. The food was equal to any we had ever had-on a par, we felt, with Maxim's of Paris. But then I decided that just look ing at the Mountains of the Moon was not enough: I was eager to climb higher on those impressive equatorial slopes. When a young Belgian arrived on leave from his work as a government veterinarian, he and I promptly organized a two-man expedition and enlisted the innkeeper's aid in rounding up the necessary porters, food, and sleeping bags. Tay preferred a few more days of rest, so I left her at the inn. With my Belgian companion, our porters, our modest equipment, and supplies for five days, we set out one morning to climb the slippery, muddy trail. For an hour we climbed through tall elephant grass. Then, at the entrance to the Ruwenzori forest we paid a fee of 400 Congolese francs each and picked up an Afri can guide. Rain drenched us as we climbed upward through a strange forest studded with enor mous tree ferns. Gnats swarmed constantly about our heads, and all around us unseen insects sang shrilly in the humid air. About 12:30 we reached Kalonge, the first in a series of resthouses built along the trail. Finding myself in a comfortable bungalow, I dug out of my rucksack a treatise that I had brought along with just such a moment in mind. It was a paper Tay had written about the Mountains of the Moon during her senior year at college, when she had taken a course in African geography. I don't know how proud Tay is today of its style or content, but as I read it in the Kalonge bungalow, while the rain drummed endlessly on the roof, it gave me a wonderful briefing for the climb ahead. * See "Roaming Africa's Unfenced Zoos," by W. Robert Moore, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, March, 1950. Aristocrat, a Saluki, Laps Milk from a Cup . rough countless centuries, this hound is probably the resentative of the first dog trained for hunting by man. ning at speeds up to 40 miles an hour, it can tire a gazelle.