Day 8: More Yaks
Route: Portse Tenga (3558 meters) ➔ Luza (4245 meters)
Distance: 5.7 km
Total Distance: 35.05 km
Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
I woke early today and found a huge gorak, or blackbird, perched on the sign of our teahouse. Goraks are large beasts with a hook beak. This one sat cleaning itself unconcerned.
Off to Luza today which takes us through the village of Machermo. Machermo is well known because in 1974 a yeti supposedly attacked a Sherpa woman named Lhakpa Domani and killed three yaks. We found one woman who said her grandfather had seen one.
From there it was a short jaunt to Luza. The surrounding valley yielded an expansive view. For many kilometers our eyes could follow the opposite sides trail and see the small villages perched on the mountains.
On the trail, we were not alone. Especially today, we passed many groups of yaks and their associated mixes. Most were probably returning to lower elevations after delivering bundles of goods higher up. There are many names for the various mixes of cattle, buffalo and long aired yaks (both in Nepali and Tibetan). Femals yaks are called naks. A male first generation cattle/yak mix is called a dzopkyo and a female a dzum. These four generally cover most of what you see on the trail.
The animals are often loaded heavily. Some come barreling through and you must quickly step aside, but most require the constant prodding of their owners as they lumber along. Since yaks are related to cattle, under Hindu tradition they cannot be slaughtered. Sometimes they ‘fall of the trail’ though, so at some point I am going to try the fabled yak steak.
Note: Route times, elevations, and distances covered above are as measured by my GPS. Some measurements are estimated, that is I didn’t use the GPS that day, and will be noted as such.