Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Gopkyo/ Yak/ Nak Phenomenon

All along the trip, we have been passed, have passed or walked alongside these pack mules of the Himalayas. But as it turns out, there are actually three beings that we have noticed. We spent a good day talking about these creatures, which are finally starting to take on some identifying characteristics. Willie related a story to us about NEVER walking on the outside unless you want an express elevator ride 30 ft down thanks to a careless animal bumping you in just the wrong place on the trail. As for us, this is what we have been able to glean. For example, Gopkyos are all along the trail from Lukla to Base Camp, while Yak/Nak are only found from Namche Bazaar and higher due to the heat found at lower elevations.

Gopkyo: Yak/ Water Buffalo hybrid. Useful in the lowlands, can go all the way up to Base Camp but can't carry as heavy loads. Good in warmer climates, more docile. Less hair. Less likely to spear you with a horn or bump you off a trail. Stop for you to pass. Have as much trouble spelling their names as we do.

Yak: Male of the Yak species. Slightly evil. Lots of hair, make weird snorty noises. Have thicker horns, which must be sexy to female Yaks- a.k.a. Naks. Carry lots. Handlers seem to be yelling at them constantly, which is funny to me given that one of their pack straps is right up the base of their tail. If I had a strap up there, I'd do whatever my handler wants. Maybe it's a Yak G-String.

Nak: Lots of hair, but they wear it well. Thinner, more petite horns. Make less noise and from what we learned, they stick around and don't wander off. Graze on anything, must make cheap dates for Yaks. But seem impatient w/ each other at times- I saw one Nak ram another in the ass when it wasn't moving fast enough, unsolicited. FYI Naks make milk, Yaks don't. so Yak Butter? Mebbe not. Nak Butter sounds funnier anyway. Make weird whistly noises in the middle of the night when people are trying to send dispatches nearby.

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