04 November 2009

The legend of the yeti

When it comes to unverified legends and folktales, there is often only one piece of advice that anyone can offer or accept: proceed with caution. In the case of Nepal’s yeti, those words not only serve as warning to those seeking the physical manifestation of the yeti, but also a caution against tarnishing a firm belief of a native people. The world’s interest in the yeti has increased in recent years with the inclusion of the yeti tales in the attraction Expedition Everest and the findings from the show Destination Truth. An excellent resource for material on the yeti is the queue of Expedition Everest itself.

Throughout the queue, both in the stand-by and Fastpass lines, are several sections in which books highlighting tales of the yeti and chronicles of yeti pursuits can be found. World-class climber and adventurer Reinhold Messner, who’s book My Quest for the Yeti has been mention on the Main Street Gazette several times, is among those resources found in the Expedition Everest collection. Messner’s own interest in the creature came about from a personal experience he had in Tibet in July of 1986.Josh Gates, the host of Destination Truth, clearly isn’t first adventurer to go in search of the evidentially-challenged creature, nor shall he be the last, but he has obtained some striking evidence. During a 2007 search for the substantiation of the yeti folklore in Kathmandu, Gates and his team discovered a footprint of a bipedal creature that had no match in the known animal record. A casting of this footprint, along with newspaper clippings and a photograph of Josh Gates with the print, can also be found among the displays of Expedition Everest's yeti museum. This evening, the second of Gates’ expeditions in search of the yeti will be aired on Syfy.

For the observant guest of Expedition Everest, a letter from Conservation International President, Russell Mittermeier, can be found. The letter to an unnamed Professor, though it is safe to assume he is addressing Professor Pema Dorje the Yeti Museum curator, talks about the efforts promoted by the Dorje to conserve and protect the home of this mysterious beast. The letter reads:
“Congratulations to you on the opening of your new museum. I wish you all the best in your ongoing efforts to promote local stewardship of Himalayan lands and biodiversity. Conservation International strongly supports local empowerment in the conservation of wild places, such as our Sacred Lands program in the Tibetan cultural areas of Sichuan, China. Your focus on the yeti as a symbol of preservation has remarkable parallels in our study area. I hope in the future to be able to visit you in Anandapur. Perhaps we can go looking for the yeti together!”

What is clear is that for a creature such as the yeti to exist, care must be taken in preserving the wild places of the region, as all such uncultivated zones should be. As Reinhold Messner states in the conclusion of My Quest for the Yeti, “Without wilderness there is no yeti. Thus the survival of the yeti myth is dependent on the survival of the last wildernesses.” Similarly, Imagineer Joe Rohde wrote, while studying yeti reports in Saisima, Nepal, “It is no coincidence that the legend of the yeti withers when the forests are destroyed.”No matter your opinion of what the yeti is or isn’t, myth, legend, mysterious creature, or protective spirit, the only way we shall ever know the truth is by continued perseverance in maintaining wilds of the world and through the sustained exploration of these wildernesses. Wildernesses which, as a personal aside, I am ready to protect and delve into should any adventurer, Gates, Messner, Rohde, Mittermeier, be willing to take me under their wing.

No comments: