John Fowler takes us into the world of Karisoke Research Center, the remote mountain gorilla camp of Dr. Dian Fossey, a few years prior to her gruesome murder. Instead of the intrepid scientist he had admired in the pages of National Geographic, Fowler finds a chain-smoking, hard-drinking woman bullying her staff into submission. While pressures mount from powers beyond Karisoke in an effort to extricate Fossey from her domain of thirteen years, she brings new students in to serve her most pressing need—to hang on to the remote research camp that has become her mountain home. This riveting story is the only first-person account from inside Fossey’s beleaguered camp. Fowler must come to grips with his own aspirations and disappointments as he develops the physical endurance to keep up with mountain gorillas over volcanic terrain in icy downpours above ten thousand feet, only to be affronted by the frightening charges of indignant giant silverbacks or to be treed by aggressive forest buffalos. Back in camp, he must nurture the sensitivity and patience needed for the demands of rehabilitating an orphaned baby gorilla. A Forest in the Clouds takes the armchair adventurer on a journey into an extraordinary world that now only exists in the memories of the very few who knew it.
John Fowler holds a BS in Zoology from the University of Georgia and an MS in Technology and Science Policy from Georgia Tech. In the wake of Fossey's murder, Zoo Atlanta invited him to Africa to assist a television crew, WSB-Atlanta, filming a documentary about Fossey in Africa. In 2007, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International asked him to participate in their fortieth anniversary celebration by escorting a group of travelers to Rwanda to visit the mountain gorillas and the site of the original Karisoke Research Center. Fowler appeared in the pages of Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist as well as Farley Mowat’s Woman in the Mists. After twenty-one years working in zoological parks, he is now a research professional in Tallahassee, Florida.