Yaks are seen all along the trail, carrying loads, roaming around grazing, or tied up in a pasture.  As far as I could tell, a yak can carry about 100 pounds, only a little more than a porter.  The yak tender is generally in charge of three or four yaks, and walks behind.  They constantly whistle and yell: whether or not this is effective I cannot tell.  But the yak in the lead usually does a pretty good job of following the trail, and the others usually follow.  I was surprised to see the yaks crossing the swaying suspension bridges, with little or no additional coaxing.  They also climb up steep narrow stairs without showing any signs of distress. 
Yaks generally have long horns.  It is pretty nerve-wracking when they pass by, inches away.  They seem to be very docile, but I have seen them move really fast when startled or touched.  We were warned never to let them pass on the up-side of a slope because they sometimes bump people off the trail and it can be a long way down.

Our group had eleven yaks: two groups of four and one group of three.  Wherever we stopped for the night, the yaks had to find a place nearby.  At the lower elevations they grazed on grass or, for example, the green bodies of bean plants after the beans had been picked.  At the higher elevations, they were eating food that had been carried in for them.
Yak Breeding Farm

When I refer to a yak elsewhere, I am actually referring to a cross between a yak and a cow,  which the sherpas call "zopkio".  Confusingly, Wikipedia calls this animal a "Dzo".  A "Yak" has longer hair, and is seen more at higher elevations.  We saw a few real yaks on the trail, and at a breeding facility near Namche.  Real yaks are beautiful animals.  


A real Yak

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