A Himalayan Quest
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 Dispatches from the Yeti watch, with entertaining rambles into the deep, near-mythic valleys of Nepal. Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot. Taylor-Ide (founder of the Woodlands Mountain Institute) wanted to know more about that inscrutable denizen of the snowy wastes. He grew up in India, learned the appropriate languages, spent countless hours in the Himalayan landscape as a boy. Now he heads back, this time as a father and freelance researcher and explorer, to find new samples of those famous footprints that Eric Shipton photographed in 1951. Together with his family, he camps out in wild, uninhabited valleys deep in Nepal, where, indeed, he finds footprints almost immediately. But then the focus of the story changes. The Yeti gets shuffled to the background as Taylor-Ide begins to suspect that the tracks were made by what may be a new species of tree-living black bear. He tries to interest various parties--the Smithsonian, the World Wildlife Fund--in financing additional forays afield to stalk the beast but gets the bum's rush because he's not an ``expert.'' So he goes back time and again on a shoestring, collecting bear skulls, taking photos, deciphering clues. Slowly it dawns on him that more important than the tree bear, more important even than the Yeti, is protecting the wondrously rare environment he has been trekking through, so that the cloud leopards, musk deer--who knows, maybe the Abominable One--still have a place to live. To that end, he helps establish wilderness parks in China and Nepal. When he hits his stride, Taylor-Ide has a talent for the quick, pungent sketch--of people, landscapes, family dynamics. His narrative--much of it in dialogue--can also be stuffy and stilted, but not so frequently as to compromise the book. While Yeti enthusiasts may be disappointed, Taylor-Ide has been where few have tread and emerges with a fascinating portrait. (b&w photos)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56279-073-0
Page count: 328pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995