Trekking With The Little People

The Nepalese have to be one of the hardiest races of people on earth. Living among the largest mountains on the planet, these people have uniquely adopted themselves to a very inhospitable and vertical terrain. The populace of the high hills are actually many different ethnic groups, such as the Sherpas, descendants from Tibetan stock. The lowland people are closely related to their nearby Indian neighbors. The inhabitants of the valleys, the Newars, are a mix of both. All of them are very little people.

Sunrise at Dhampus overlooking Annapurna I. Notice two of the Nepalese porters have no shoes.

It is the Sherpas who have been trotting the ancient mountain trails for thousands of years. The wild thing is how diminutive and durable the Sherpa people are. They carry enormous packs, wear hardly any clothes, have massive calluses on their barefeet, and zip right up the mountain trails! It is said a Sherpa porter can carry twice his weight from sun up to sun down. Most of the trails are too steep for donkeys, so nearly all village supplies are delivered on the back of a man. Thus, the higher one treks, the more expensive everything becomes.

Hobbit homes high in the Himalayas.

The thatched roof and stone foundation homes add a certain charm and mystique to the happy mountain people. It is easy to observe how J.R.R. Tolken generated inspiration for The Hobbit when he lived in Pokhara nearly a century ago. In many ways the people are still living the medieval life they had been when the country finally opened up in the 1920's. Tourism is really the only thing that has changed, and continues to change them. Otherwise, Nepal is a rather simple, mostly agrarian society.

Baby in a basket and the family goat.

Above all, the Nepalese are a friendly people. Perhaps a bit shy on first contact with a foreigner, but nonetheless willing to make outside people feel welcome in their country. Smiles and goodwill go a long way.

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