Travels in Nepal #24 Yakking about Yaks

On my trek in Nepal last January our trekking group passed many yak trains on the path. These animals are quite amazing, considering their size and the burdens they are expected to carry up and down the mountains paths. They are smaller than I had anticipated, being short but very stocky in build. They are obviously very strong and resilient, hauling large loads up steep inclines over long periods of time.

Yak train near Namche Bazar.

Yak train near Namche Bazar.

Our guides warned us to always give way to the yak trains. Some of the loads were quite wide, taking up quite a deal of some of the narrower paths. One could easily get a nasty bump from the load. The guide also stated that some yaks have a nasty habit of giving trekkers a hefty nudge, so it was always wise to be on the uphill side of the yaks.

Getting behind a yak train can be frustrating on several counts. They are inclined to be plodders, walking at a much slower pace than even slow trekkers like myself. This makes overtaking on the narrow paths a hazardous undertaking.

Another hazard was the dust stirred up by these animals. Some sections of the track we hiked were covered in dry and very powdery dust. Many of us were severely affected by the dust which clogged our nasal passages causing great discomfort. The dust from our own feet was bad enough. The yaks just made it far worse. The dusty conditions were far more hazardous than their manure which was deposited in copious amounts all along the track.

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