As Seen on the Trail

by Andrew Stein

The trail is full of surprises with what gets carried up and back down and with the types of activities that can be seen nearby. Goats, cats, dogs, donkeys, ponies, buffalo, chickens, and roosters are all common sites, and unfortunately, that means their excrement is also. Fifty kilogram wood lodge-building beams, raw yak meat, cans and bottles full of Coke, Fanta and Sprite, and bamboo baskets filled with everything else passes by us in both directions. There are no roads and helicopters are too expensive, so everything is either carried by donkeys, and when donkeys are unavailable and/or the cargo too heavy, porters carry it using two thin shoulder straps and one large forehead ribbon. It’s hard for anyone to complain of fatigue after witnessing this.

Carrying live chickens

buffalo along the trail

carrying heavy wood beams

Too heavy for the donkeys

Goats blocking the way

a donkey carrying chickens