A Surprise Around Every Corner

Artists for Conservation

I am running three days behind on these blogs. I will continue to try to catch up. Having trouble getting Internet connection. It will take me two days to get home.. so I should be all caught up by the time you all see me.


Farewell to DRC

Artists for Conservation

November 30 - Morning, once again, dawned clear and cold, so we broke camp and packed all our gear in preparation for meeting our porters who were hiking up from the nearest village to help me get my painting equipment off Mt. Mekeno. If it wasn't for these guys I would not have been able to pack my gear up to camp myself, as my altitude sickness became more pronounced when I was hiking with a heavy pack and I had three! Our porters were supermen who could carry great weight at these high elevations, often with bare feet.

Painting with the Turacos

Artists for Conservation

November 29 - The next morning dawned clear and FREEZING! Though I had lent my long johns to Julie and my polar fleece vest to Molly, they still were cold through the night and didn't sleep well. They were both sleeping singly in larger tents, while Jeff and I were in my smaller tent with down bags. Plus, in celebrating our finding the diorama site last night, we were all crammed into Julies tent while it rained and spilled an entire bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon on the floor of her tent. Her tent floor, sleeping mattress was a bit damp and muddy by the time we all retired.

Lost in Paradise

Artists for Conservation

November 28th - The dawn was clear and VERY cold. Molly and Julie slept little as they were so cold during the night, but Jeff and I used my little backpacking tent and had down sleeping bags that served us well. After breakfast (sardines, peanut butter, and crackers) we set out to find the site of the Mountain Gorilla diorama at AMNH. I had brought images of the sketch William R. Leigh had done of the scene while here with Akeley in 1926, and showed them to the two trackers who knew the forest and were going to help us find the site.

The Climb to Akeley's Grave

Artists for Conservation

November 27,2010 - After a night with little sleep, we headed out for Virunga National Park and our climb up Mount Mikeno. We met Jaques Iyanya, MGVP staff veterinarian, who assisted us in acquiring the food and water and other basic supplies (like toilet paper) for our one night of camping at Kabara (Akeley's old gorilla camp). We rendezvoued with the team who had facilitated our visit to the Park with ICCN, (the DRC National Park Service) Director Emmanuel de Merode. They were Senior Park Wardens Innocent,  and Park Wardens Sekibibi Bareke Desiree, and Sebahame NzaRubara.

DRC - Democratic Republic of Congo

Artists for Conservation

November 26, 2010 - We all were a bit apprehensive in crossing the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but the MGVP staff Dr. Jaques Iyanya, Molly Feltner and Julie Grist facilitated our crossing. Though the border immigration official demanded a crossing payment, our MGVP friends convinced them otherwise.

Conquering Heroes

Artists for Conservation

This is not my story. I sat on the sidelines and watched. This is the story of two very brave men who risked everything to prove that art could affect conservation. I am proud to count Jeffrey Whiting and Stephen Quinn of Artists for Conservation as my friends and colleagues.

Mission Accomplished

Artists for Conservation

11/29 -The mission is accomplished! We found Carl Akeley’s grave and the original site of the AMNH Mountain Gorilla diorama.

AFC received a call from Steve Quinn and Jeffrey Whiting still in DRC on Mount Mikeno just after 8:30PM (PST) on the satellite phone.

Message to all: We spent a 3rd night on the mountain to accomplish our mission. We had a difficult time finding Akeley’s original grave site.

Coordinates: At 3330 meters at 01.48715″S, 029.43087″E


Artists for Conservation

11/25 -  Hello all... Well, I need to give you an update on the baby Mountain Gorilla in Uganda.  He's (it's a little male) still has the snare around its neck. Mike Cranfield came back from Uganda late last night and gave us the full story. If you recall, Mike had darted the baby's mother and when she went down, the baby's father became alarmed, charged and grabbed his son to carry him to safety. He then led his troupe as far away as he could. Mike and the park trackers were able to revive the mother and catch her up to the retreating silverback.

Day 5 - Trek to DRC

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition 11

11/26 - Great sleep and shower this morning... Not only was it HOT, but it came out of the showerhead in more than a dribble. Today is a big day. We'll be travelling across the Rwanda-DRC border to Goma to spend the night. Tomorrow we climb Mount Mikeno.

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