We’ve only experienced yak through food, cheese and meat, and also through hide, fur and heads – until today.
Every time we’ve passed a big cow we’ve been asking Dil and Sanda, ‘Is that a yak?’
Today, finally, the response was, ‘Yes, well it’s a Nak.’
A nak is a female yak. The yaks only graze pastures over 3000m, despite Manang being 3500m, we’ve only started to see them today, from about 3800m. Tonight we’re staying at Yak Kharka, which translates as ‘yak pasture’.
The yak is still an important animal for the locals in this valley as it provides, milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese and meat. The skins and fur are also used for clothing and shoes. When we were at Karma Gurung’s house in Humde he had skins tanning as well as a massive pile of skulls in a corner. I asked him the usual question.
‘Yak?’ I said, pointing.
‘Nak,’ be replied. That was when I first learnt the word.
Location: Yak Kharka