Back to
Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

Two and a Half Yaks

I’m not very good at writing yaks. I don’t mean that the yaks themselves are that bad, just that I’ve never been the kind of person who goes, “wow, what an amazing experience I had today, let’s find a way to translate it such that everybody else can appreciate from an online forum” on even a semiannual basis, let alone a daily one.
But like two weeks ago Nick or Dave (same person) said they expect roughly two and a half yaks when we get to Chokati, which was…six days previous to the time of this writing. I have been responsible for about 1.33 yaks on this trip so far. This is not encouraging.
I’m also not very good at journaling. I have also never been the kind of person who goes, “wow, what an amazing experience I had today, let’s record it forever and then never return to it ever even though everybody tells me I will absolutely appreciate keeping a journal when I’m older.” I think I average a journal entry a week if that week involves several near-death experiences and a life-changing epiphany.
But I do have some journal entries, and I do have some ideas about yaks, and some things to say about Nepal, and I like to think that if you have three half hearted ideas you can create one moderately successful product. So this is literally me transcribing several weeks of entries/questions/yak ideas in my journal and hoping that it results in a yak suitable for human consumption. Some dates are wholly conjectured because I did not bother to include them at the time.
Shopping List, two days pre-trek:
— Sunglasses that actually keep out the sun
— Lip balm that doesn’t feel so lip balm-y
— Cyanide capsules (biodegradable?)
— Tandem bike gears (unquantifiable)

Journal entry, two days into trek:
Am sharing a tent with Julian for probably the rest of the trek. Which is great because he knows how to set up a tent and I know how to pretend to help set up a tent, which makes us a great team. Julian also likes talking about Star Wars.
Okay, that feels misleading. Julian as far as I can tell is medically required to speak about Star Wars for at least an hour and a half each day, which is fine and even appreciated because when you’re a well-rounded fantasy nerd you tend to be very good at absorbing lots of lore and setting information casually. It’s less fine when I’m trying to fall asleep and he’s halfway through detailing the third great Jedi schism (of four, for the curious). Anyway, it should make the trail go faster, because he has no intention of abandoning his discussion of galactic history and I have nothing more interesting to talk about, so this is just the new status quo.

Excerpt from entry five days into trek:
I actually realized I’m fairly interested in Star Wars today . I did not expect to change this much when I went to Nepal.

Entry three days into trek:
Today I crossed a bridge that definitely would not meet bureaucratic standards of safety. I screamed to be heard over the water:


And it was, sort of.

Entry fourteen days into trek:
My favorite part of today was having an hour-long conversation about Five Guys. You miss the small things. I think Five Guys makes up a solid 65% of all my homesickness.

Entry seven days into trek:

My new sunglasses had detatchable arms, which is to say arms that are incredibly easy to disconnect and, thankfully, reconnect. I don’t know why that particular feature was included, unless it was for all the people who think to themselves, “I really wish I could wear my sunglasses by tilting my head constantly towards the sky to keep them on my face.” I say ‘had’ because I now have only one arm on my sunglasses. I realized the other was missing (despite never being taken off, because I’m not the kind of person who likes to experiment with protective eyewear that literally keeps me from getting blinded) just before we left Beding, but couldn’t exactly hold up the group to search. I guess it’s possible one of the people staying behind might find it– the altitude got to Garland and Maya needs to spend an extra day there to acclimate–but I’m not getting my hopes up. I at least still have the glasses themselves, I just have to wear them by perpetually tilting my head to the right (it snowed for the first time yesterday, by the way, making snow blindness an actual threat just as I lost the arm) which is 100% as fun as it sounds.

Entry ten days into trek:
Maya found my sunglass arm, somehow. 99% of the snow has melted and we are now going downhill again, because of course we are.

Entry twelve days into trek:
I have to write two and a half yaks by the end of the trek, which is fine, except I don’t have anything exciting to say about anything. Ideas?
–Write about seeing a real live yak and how it impacted me emotionally but not physically (Yak yak)
— Talk about the sunburn (would rather not)
— Explain having roped about half the group into a casual roleplaying game in which they play vampires. (Not very Nepali)
— Write about learning to woodcarve (Would expose actual ignorance of woodcarving)
–Literally just whatever’s in my journal, except edited (Will probably end up doing for lack of better choice)
–Something profound about trekking (Already did it)