When I was in the village of Marpha, in the Mustang district of Nepal, my flight out cancelled many times due to bad weather. So I decided to head to the mountains and make the most of my extra days there. With my camera and some water in my bag I walked out of the village and entered open landscape, with a river flowing and horses running .
After a while I noticed a dog was walking with me, a skinny black puppy with long legs and funny ears. I crossed a rickety bridge over the river and noticed that the dog was hesitating. After a moment he decided to give it a try, he crossed the bridge and from then on he became my companion.
When I walked, he walked. When I sat, he sat. When I drank water, he lapped water out of a puddle or river stream.
He walked and climbed the hills with me all day. He did not demand my attention and he did not want to be petted. He was like my shadow. When I stopped to take a photo he waited for me. When I sat down to look at the mountains he laid down in the shade and slept. He was just there, with me, every step of the way.
Together we climbed to a small Buddhist temple on top of a hill and stayed there for a few hours. After weeks of being shrouded in clouds during my trip, the Himalayas finally revealed themselves to me for the very first time. Tears fell from my eyes. I just kept looking at the snowy mountains. The wind dried my wet cheeks.
It was getting close the sunset. The wind started blowing harder. Kukur stood up and looked me directly in the eyes. It was time to go.
It took awhile to climb back down the hills, but the road got easier as we kept walking.
I turned around and realized that Kukur was no longer there. He disappeared in same way that he had showed up earlier in the day. I called him and waited for a bit, but he was gone.
I do not know where he came from, why he joined me, or where he disappeared to. But I'll never forget the feeling of his strong presence and the companionship he gave me that day.