Yak Butter Blues

Yak Butter Blues

by Brandon Wilson



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Yak Butter Blues by Brandon Wilson

Author Brandon Wilson with his wife Cheryl challenge the "impossible" and set off on an incredible 1000-kilometer journey–on foot across Tibet. Join their adventure from Lhasa to Kathmandu, as they become perhaps the first Western couple to ever make this perilous trek across the unforgiving, windswept Himalayan plains.

YAK BUTTER BLUES is a remarkable tale of survival. Alone, with only their stalwart Tibetan horse Sadhu, the Wilsons face Tibet's ruthless environment head-on: the blistering winds, extreme temperatures, sandstorms, blizzards, high altitudes and the thinnest of air–made all the more challenging by exhaustion, hunger, illness, inflexible bureaucrats and implacable, trigger-happy Chinese soldiers.

YAK BUTTER BLUES is a story of faith–and the kindness of strangers. Although the land and climate leaves its imprint daily, an even more lasting impression on these adventurers is created by Tibetan pilgrims, monks and generous villagers eager to share what little they possess: yak butter tea, the warmth of their family's fire, camaraderie and a steadfast trust in the Dalai Lama's return.

YAK BUTTER BLUES is a tale of personal enlightenment. The couple is an invaluable witness to a Tibetan culture pushed to the brink of extinction by occupation for over fifty years. They also discover the human link connecting us all, a link that becomes clearest on a trek that removes the distractions of modern life as it unveils the truths of "deliberate travel." In doing so, the couple discovers a sense of greater purpose, wonder, a renewed faith and ultimately what it takes to endure.

Wilson leads you along on their physical, spiritual and emotional pilgrimage, through the highs and lows, across this startling land in this colorful, candid, caring and classic tale, YAK BUTTER BLUES-A TIBETAN TREK OF FAITH.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780977053674
Publisher: Pilgrim's Tales
Publication date: 11/01/2005
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

Table of Contents

Regional Map ii
Tibet Route Map iv
Introduction 1
Chapter I             Never Say Impossible 3
Chapter II           A Hundred Yak Butter Lamps 13
Chapter III          So Long, Shangri-La 25
Chapter IV          If Wishes Were Horses… 39
Chapter V           A Crooked Little Finger 51
Chapter VI          The Road Less Taken 65
Chapter VII         Showdown in Shigatse 77
Chapter VIII        Village Of Fear 89
Chapter IX           Passes And Passages 107
Chapter X            Keeping the Faith 135
Chapter XI           Zen Answers 151
Chapter XII          In Quest of Mount Everest 167
Chapter XIII         A Simple Act of Defi ance 181
Chapter XIV        Words Of Hope 191
Chapter XV         The Snowy Road to Hell 209
Chapter XVI        A Bridge to Freedom 219
Chapter XVII       “Ghoda! Ghoda! Ghoda!” 231
Chapter XVIII      Flags Of Solidarity 245
Epilogue                                        257
Afterword                                     259
To Become Involved                     261
Suggested Reading                        263
About the Author                          265
Special Thanks                              267

What People are Saying About This

Jim Damico

"In a world where everything seems out of our control, it is a rare occurrence to read about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Brandon Wilson, in his "Yak Butter Blues" gives us such a book. More like you and me instead of a Livingston or Mallory, Brandon and his wife Cheryl have an idea to walk the ancient pilgrimage route from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and they just do it. "Impossible!" say the Chinese officials, but the simple act of stepping one foot in front of the other is a force more powerful than instant travel in this era of bullet trains and supersonic jets. The wonder about Brandon's book is that he doesn't embellish the highs or ignore the lows. You experience the whole trek, the cold, the hunger, the fear but also the joy, the happiness, the accomplishment of having completed something 'impossible'.

Read this book over and over to learn how perseverance in the face of hardship can give us both joy and hope along the road to our futures."

Naomi C. Rose

"Inspiring, Engaging, Compassionate! Brandon Wilson's Yak Butter Blues caught my attention from the first page and kept me engaged throughout. The story and writing had heart, adventure, devotion, and truth. When the book was over, I felt like I had treked with the author and his wife and was sorry it had come to an end. I appreciated the skillful weaving of description of the land, interactions with the people, historical information, personal doubts, and triumphs. This book is a treasure to the Tibetan people and to the rest of the world. It gives us a true glimpse of Tibet and captures a beautiful land and culture that may not be around in years to come. Well done!" (5 stars)
award-winning author of Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas

Jean Aspen

A remarkable account of bravery and determination. Wilson leads us through a harsh and beautiful landscape and takes us into the hearts of the people who live there. Time and again he shows us that hardships can become blessings.
author of Arctic Daughter: a wilderness journey and Arctic Son: fulfilling the dream

Michael Buckley

Travel in Tibet is rough, but attempting it Tibetan-style ...and with winter approaching -amounts to sheer lunacy. Brandon Wilson and his wife Cheryl-along with a trusty pack-horse named Sadhu- set off on the ultimate trek: to walk an ancient pilgrimage and trading route from Lhasa to Kathmandu.

Their zany adventures leap from the pages of this book-getting showered in dust, coated in snow, hammered by the wind, getting lost, getting shot at. More to the point, this grueling form of travel brings them close to the extraordinary people and the breathtaking landscapes of the Tibetan plateau.

Told with humour and insight, this vivid narrative allows you to vicariously experience life at true Tibetan pace, one step at a time: so close, you can almost smell the yak butter.
author of Heartlands-Travels in the Tibetan World

Jeff Alt

This was no walk in the park. Having walked the Appalachian Trail, I can attest to the inner fortitude required to walk long distances across rugged terrain and through less than desirable weather.

Even Indiana Jones would have reconsidered the expedition, but the Wilsons drew strength from their faith in humanity and each other--as well as from countless Tibetans offering yak butter tea, rugged lodging, and meals cooked over burning yak dung. The Wilsons journey across Tibet serves as a beacon of light for a repressed people held captive within their own country.
award-winning author of A Walk for Sunshine

Royal Robbins

Any doubts I had about reading Yak Butter Blues melted away like yak butter under a hot sun as I came under the spell of Brandon Wilson's lively and vivid prose. He is a fine writer, perceptive, funny, and has a great way with words, making the book a whooping good read--an outstanding production.
world-renowned mountaineer, author, and adventure kayaker

Dan Austin

Are you ready for a walk? Because it's doubtful after reading "Yak Butter Blues" you'll be able to sit still. The land of the Dalai Lama and Shangri-la calls with a voice too mysterious, too ancient to be ignored. And Brandon and Cheryl are the ideal guides—passionate folks delightedly figuring things out as they execute an improbable hike from Chinese-controlled Lhasa to Kathmandu.
director of True Fans

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Yak Butter Blues 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿¿Look, you two, I don¿t think this has ever been done before¿and there must be more than one good reason why.¿¿It¿s a good thing author Brandon Wilson and his wife, Cheryl, didn¿t take these words to heart or I wouldn¿t have been able to go along with them on their adventure from Lhasa to Kathmandu. While I may never get there in person, I feel as though I have met the people of Tibet and seen everything they did while staying out of the freezing cold. I read this book, slowly, savoring from the first ¿Tashi Delek!¿ to the last ¿Namaste¿. I came to love Sadhu, the wandering holy man, so much that I was close to tears near the end of the story. Traveling with Brandon and Cheryl, and the people they meet along the way and share their adventure with, for 650 miles across an ancient pilgrim¿s trail is exhilarating. You will enjoy the way things open up to them as minor successes happen to allow them to trek across Tibet, visiting beautiful Buddhist monasteries and passing out pictures of the Dalai Lama to those who helped them along the way. While experiencing much success, they also experienced getting shot at, getting caught in a blizzard and a sandstorm, not having enough to eat or drink, getting lost, Cheryl getting bitten by a dog, and much more. The one thing that stayed constant, besides their determination, was the Yak Butter the book is named for. ¿Like Henry David Thoreau¿s noble quest to ¿live life deliberately¿...¿Yak Butter Blues author, Brandon Wilson, teaches us just that¿open your life to adventure, seek it out, find something that suits you and jump in with both feet¿don¿t stop to think or to over-plan. If you do, your logic could take over and you would miss all the fun! Pick up two copies of this book¿one for yourself and another for a friend. You will both be glad you did. Thank you Brandon and Cheryl for sharing a once-in-a-lifetime trip!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago