Porters

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Since there are no roads, all the traffic between villages is on the trails.

All goods that are transported between villages travels either on a person’s back or on the back of a horse, yak or dzo (dzos are a cross between yaks and lowland cattle). There are lots of people that make their living transporting goods on their backs. You learn to think of them sort of like short haul truckers — you see canned goods and sacks of potatoes, bundles of brooms and boxes of beer, all making their way up the trail in the baskets of the porters. We saw people carrying loads of plywood that we estimated at well over 100 lb. Not many conventional backpacks are used, mostly baskets carried using tump lines across the forehead. Even people who had backpacks generally carried them with tump lines instead of using the shoulder straps.

Our gear was carried by both porters and dzos. Some porters would take three of our 15 kg bags plus their own gear. It was humbling to watch them. Most days we tourists carried just day packs with extra clothes and not much else.

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