Lots of interesting noises in the night. In fact, when we got up, we were told that elephants had crossed the river and were nosing around near Steve and Cort's tent. We had a great breakfast and got on the road to Lake Mbarara, an 8 hour drive (including an hour stop for lunch). As we left Ishasha, we encountered a lone elephant who was crossing onto the other side of the road. He seemd indignant that we had appeared when we did, so he let loose a trumpet blare that surprised us. We stared each other down for a long minute, separated by a drainage gully that would have been difficult for a 6 ton animal to negotiate (although certainly not impossible). He decided to call our bluff and charged…about 15 feet before pulling up just short of the ditch. We got it all on video which we will post as soon as we have access to broadband. A moment or two later, as we pulled away, he trumpeted again and ran parallel along the road/ditch as we accelerated, calling us out! What a blast! We got threatened by an elephant!
We made it back to the paved Kasese Road thankfully in only two and a half hours, and stopped briefly at a Kyambura Gorge where chimpanzees live. This is a 350 foot chasm through which a river runs - we know this as we could hear it although it was completely blocked from view by thick vegetation. This type of natural beauty would attract thousands of visitors daily were it in the U.S.; here, for us, it was just a ho-hum bathroom stop!
We stopped about 2 hours outside of our destination for a nice lunch and a quick upload of blog text and photos at an internet cafe, then back on the road. We pulled into the park area, passed through the gate, yet were still an hour away from the Mihinga Lodge. Along the way we snapped pictures of bush bucks, cob, zebras, water bucks, and others. Our reunion with the other group was festive - a celebration, like dear old friends. Everyone had a dozen different stories to tell everyone else. That is it in a nutshell; this trip has been fabulous experiences to the tenth power. We related our encounter with the bull elephant, Kate talked about being surpised by warthogs emerging from a water culvert, Cindy befriended a lonely baboon, and the other group had seen three leopards! Some of us lounged by the pool while others completed a nature walk. We met for an elegant dinner by candle light, then down to the campfire to trade stories. By now we are planning our professional day on Thursday and how we will tie as much of these experiences into the curriculum. What an education though! At around 11:00 we were escorted to our tents by guides with flashlights. The accomodations here are spectacular - please have a look at the pictures. Nature's symphony lulled us all to sleep, played to us throughout the night, and woke us at dawn. Some of the sounds we have learned to recognize: "That's a colobus monkey!" but most are still unfamiliar and exotic. Coffee is served to us at dawn on our decks overlooking the valley!
This morning we are off to Entebbe Airport, departing Entebbe at 10:40 p.m. Due to arrive Boston at 10:25, Northwest Airlines flight 59. See Ya!