I apologize for my tardiness yet long days trekking, treating yaks, and lack of internet have kept me away from posting for a while. We have come almost full circle as we are back in Lukla and will fly to Kathmandu early tomorrow morning (April 21), a full day ahead of schedule. If it had not been for Ram, Nima, and Besh (our Nepal Veterinary Technician), the inaugural year of Healthy Yak would not have been so successful. We treated over 600 yaks, over a dozen horses, and over a half dozen dogs.
We even looked at a few sick critters along the way. Pictured is Besh listening to a nak (female yak). The owner feared 'bloat' yet it turns out we informed her that she was VERY pregnant. :)
After trekking through the Goyko region of the Khumbu we made it over the Chola Pass (~5300 m or 17,500') and up to Himex Everest Base Camp. I will admit I was over-joyed to be reunited with Russell Brice, Phurba Tashi Sherpa, my Sherpa from Everest 2009 Tashi Tshering Sherpa and many others from Base Camp including Dr. Piris, Guides Woody and Adrian, as well as my dear friend Jim Holliday (aka Big Hot Gouda) and Thomas from Norway, both of whom have returned (they were on the 2009 expedition) to Sagarmatha for a second attempt at the summit. After Everest BC we stopped for lunch at Lobuche BC where I got to see Ellen Miller and visit for a while with David Tait, both of whom were on the 2009 trip. I even ran into Billi Bierling on the trail below Tengboche walking out as she was on her way to BC to climb Lhotse. I wish I could share photos of everyone I was reunited with here (will post on Facebook and/or my website when back in the states). Pictured with me is Russell (aka Big Boss) and Phurba.
Today we left not only Namche Bazaar behind but also our guide and friend Ram. He picked up a new client there to take up Island Peak, while Himex BC manager Lak Chu walked us to Lukla in order to meet the rest of the Lhotse climbing team at the helicopter tomorrow. I want to take a moment to thank them for their participation in the project, Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health's generosity in donating product to the cause, and also the donors. I also need to thank Himalayan Experience and Mountain Experience for arranging the logistics of the trip. Last but not least, I want to thank my wife and kids for allowing me to travel so far from home to help a culture deep in the Himalayas. I must say it felt good to give back yet I am anxious to get home to them.
My anticipation is for more companies to donate product (and not just for the yaks as many horses, donkeys, and dogs are present in the Khumbu Region) to the cause in the future, a cause that can have a very positive and lasting impact on the Sherpa people of Nepal. Perhaps HealthyKhumbuCritters.org is in order? For now, Besh has enough product to follow-up with a second dose in about 6 weeks, along with another this Fall. Many more yaks will congregate this summer which will allow for even better access to promote their health.
Pictured L to R is me, Dr. Andrew Skidmore, Ram, Dr. Claire Windeyer, and Dr. Kristen Obbink - not pictured are Besh and Nima Sherpa, ALL of whom were members of Healthy Yak 2011 as we say good-bye from, beautiful Nepal. Namaste!