An expedition, a trip, an exploration, and even a walk wouldn’t have quite the impact nor essence without the human element (for better or worse). Our own journey was spiced and infused with the characters involved. With the feature article “The Kawa Karpo Expedition” now out in Outpost Magazine (Edition #89, September-October) of our epic journey, it would be remiss not to introduce our team. In no particular order…and I’m not forgetting our loyal four legged mates who lugged our human needs.
'She' is a mule, so 'she' isn't really a 'she' at all but rather an "it" as mules don't have a gender. Having said that, she just struck me as a Brenda - a little flamboyant, but loyal and steady as they come. A huge thanks from your new friends and fans in Canada.
Our horseman starting on day two, was so eager to be a part of the journey that he forgot to say good-bye to his mom. He would later turn around to head back home with his mules telling us that his mules would "not" be travelling close to a roadway as they were petrified of engines (and who could blame them). Ngawa eventually left us with a smile one morning with his four legged crew following closely, wondering if and when we would ever come back to his home for another round of barley whisky
Eloquent, engaged, and a mind full of stories and reference points; it seemed at times that Bill knew his limits exactly and dealt with it all in a brusque elegance. A Part ll to this journey might be in order and we would absolutely need Bill. He coined the phrase "What could possibly go wrong", after an entertaining series of 'blips' in logistics
While Brenda was a mule who got through its neurotic wanderings without showing much, this mule - who I simply call "Not Brenda" - didn't feel the need to hold back any of its passion or explosiveness. Flatulating at will and in all directions during most of its walking days, "Not Brenda" nevertheless aided greatly in our journey. Here "Not Brenda" enjoys a little scrub in the earth
A smile and goodwill for every occasion Roberto has that essential prerequisite for every journey: an open mind. He also displayed a ferocious talent for putting up tents in no time, and turning on the tunes with his mini speaker system in some of the most stunning geographies. More journeys to come...
Our 'young gun' who drove, drank, cooked, and learned to be ever so slightly more humble, Norbu was our 'do-it-all' guy when he felt up to it
As long as I had tea, a horizon full of mountains, and our little rumbling team I was content...except when our mules didn't show in Melixi
No more than 38 kg's soaking wet, Dashi was our tea maker and peacemaker just under Sho'la pass when our two guides Dorje and Daba decided that they 'might' want to start a war with each other. Dashi, you with your perpetually funky hair, have loads of class and we miss you...and your mules
My mate on many an expedition - on this occasion a little less than on his best form. Incorrigible, unapologetic, a veritable two-legged yak who had a penchant for stiff snorts of whisky day and night, he nevertheless provided great entertainment and an insight into the struggles and temptations of mountain men.
The star of our journey Daba. Moderate, authentically tough, resourceful, and full of that rare and fleeting quality, integrity, he made our expedition alive and safe in so many ways. We were (and are) so happy that he could take part in the journey as it was the first time in over thirty-five years that he had travelled along the route. I'll be seeing your features in September upon my return to Yunnan.
With some good fortune, we’ll do a Part ll…and perhaps a Part IX
Thanks to All