yak husbandry workshop
24 days: Designed to give yak herders from around the world lessons from the experts, this workshop trek gets you out into the grasslands, with the nomads. We spend days with the nomads, learning everything from herding to milking to cheesemaking to ropemaking to castration. This trek also includes short treks across the grasslands and into the glaciered mountains, with packed yaks in tow!
Day 1: Leave the US for Beijing.
Day 2: lost crossing the international date line
Day 3: Arrive in Beijing, and change planes for Kunming, Yunnan. Stay the night in Kunming at a hotel near the airport.
Day 5: Travel by jeep to Xiangcheng, just on the edge of the Tibetan plateau.
Day 6: Continue on to Litang, a city on the high grasslands. Prepare for the festival, and stay in a celebratory decorated tent on festival grounds.
Day 7: Enjoy the opening ceremonies of the horse race, and then the races, all day.
Day 8: Leave in the early morning for the Lhagang grasslands. This eight hour trip crosses two high passes and goes through the stronghold of Khampa nomad lands. The jeeps will drop us off in Lhagang town, where we will spend the night in a small family guesthouse near the temple, and prepare for the horseback part of our trip!
Day 9: Ride today to join the yaks and the families at the summer pastures, about 5 hours ride away. Settle into life in the encampment; meet the family; experience nomad food and hospitality, and enjoy a well-earned rest.
Day 10-12: Spend these three full days at the Dashika nomad encampment, learning about and observing yak raising techniques and culture. Activities and demonstrations will include yak herding; milking; calf care; hair collection and shearing; pack training (large and small loads); hair spinning and weaving; yogurt, butter and cheese making; and more.
Day 13: Ride 3 hours to Genup Gompa, an isolated grassland temple. Spend the evening and night here, and enjoy the monks' chanting and instrument playing in a purely traditional setting.
Day 14: Ride to Gepshima Clan lands and spend the night with another family of nomads, in order to gain a sense of the the differences in yak care between clans.
Day 15: Return home to the Dashika encampment.
Day 16: Stay this last day at the Dashika encampment, practicing yak care as interests you.
Day 17: Ride to Gyergo Gompa, a large and well-known nunnery. Here there is a huge stack of mani stones, carved by first the founding father of this temple, a hermit who lived here in a cave until his death in 1980, and then in honor of him by several local men. The village around the temple has increased in size quickly in the last few years. Also here is a sky burial platform, and we may see a burial while there.
Day 20: Spend the day exploring the area around the lake and waterfall, and even climbing to Mt. Zhakra’s glacier for a Sang juniper burning ceremony if the weather permits.
Day 22: This morning, cars pick us up and return us to the city of Kangding. Here we'll wash and rest up at the newly build Love Song Hotel. (Named after Kangding's claim to fame – a well-known folk song!)
Day 23: Travel to Chengdu and live it up for this last night in China.
Day 24: Fly to Bejing and home!