I lived in River Heights, Utah in 2004 with a friend of mine at the time. I always wanted to leave NC, and this is where my online friend lived, so I moved there. Very quiet, and untold beauty lies here. Low mountains, snow, it is a fairy tale in many ways, underrated.
The Hogle zoo is very nice. Not too massive, but you have a great time.
I have always liked the Gorillas. I felt a connection with them, felt bad for their species dying out.
In the photo you see, I am seen with a female Gorilla named Muke. Little did I now, months later, I would see her again, and I would never forget her.
So we are at the zoo in late 2004, and my friend has his own moment with the Gorilla. He leans near the glass and tries to connect,, and just as a connection was made, thundering, screaming kids came running down to the area, and the Gorilla took off. My friend was furious, so we wanted to come back.
Months later, when it was warm again, we went to the zoo, and this time, I had the moment. There were still tons of people staring, laughing, pointing at the Gorilla. I think it is the most made fun and mistreated animal at the zoo by the onlookers.
So, I heard if you get down at their level, they will see you different. So, I squatted down, and the female Muke, was right on the other side leaned up against the glass. I mimicked her movement. I looked her right in the eye, looked away, looked up again, did this three times, then as I caught her eye the last time, she broke into the most deepest, playful, beautiful smile I had ever seen. If I had took a picture, she would have thought I was like everyone else, and would have left but I never forgot this moment. She was interrupted after that, by kids tapping on the glass, and she took off. She sat in the grass in the sun.
Oddly enough, the same friend I went with, died the same year and of the same heart disorder, heart failure in 2009. I did not find out about Muke dying until I looked her up a year later and was heartbroken.
It is one of those memories you cannot forget, ever.