Monday, March 2, 2015

Looking for Alaska : A photostory

1. Landing in:
Visiting Alaska had been a lifelong dream. When I saw this scene from my plane seat as Anchorage drew near, it still felt like one. This is taken at 23:30 hours on the 30th of May, 2012. Yes, nearly 24 hours of daylight in Alaska at this time of the year.

2. A train ride to remember:
On my first day there, I took the Alaskan Railroad's Coastal Classic train down to Seward to visit the Kenai Fjords National Park and what a journey it was! Lush meadows (pictured), technicolour tunnels and snowy passes where a cannon shot was fired prior to the train arriving through so as to let any loose snow come down if it needed to.

3. The wildlife show begins:
If you were wondering about the reason behind my Alaska obsession, let me give you three. Wildlife, wildlife and wildlife. A person obsessed with all creatures great and small, my first day in Alaska was spectacular with sightings of moose, black bear, mountain goats, Dall porpoises, humpback whales (pictured) and killer whales (or orcas as wildlife nerds like me call them). Need I mention the spectacular landscape?

4. Just another day in Anchorage:
The planes you see parked are in a grassy backyard which serves as a common runway for all of the neighbourhood houses. Just in front of these houses is a regular road for cars to run on. 1 in 30 Alaskans has a flying license. Driver’s license age limit is 16, pilot’s is 14! Some regions of this vast state (country?) are too remote to access by anything except a plane. So, need to get some groceries? Hop out of the front door and take the car. Need to visit Uncle Jeffrey for Easter? Hop out of the back door and fly out to his cabin in the woods.

5. An icy world:
National Geographic might have already informed you that Alaska has some pretty extreme weather conditions. Yet it doesn’t get more extreme than in the neighbourhoood of Mt. Denali (the Great One in the local Athabascan language). The mountain is 6,168 m tall (not much by Himalayan standards) but being so near to the Arctic Circle makes it one of the most brutal & dangerous climbs in the world. I managed to hitch a ride in a sea plane to take a look around. I could see brave climbers far below like tiny ants making their painful way up.

6. Not so icy most of the time:
Lest you think Alaska was all Eskimos and polar bears, I present you to you some proof of greenery. Actually lots of greenery and beautiful, verdant forests range through all of the lower half of Alaska (which is HUGE). Winter wouldn’t be the time to roam around in shorts but summers are wonderful there. This picture is from the Glenn Highway which connects the towns of Wasilla and Tok.

7. Ah yes, the dogs...
I lied. Wildlife wasn’t the only reason I was drawn to Alaska. In a summer long past, I read a wonderful story, Jack London’s “The call of the wild”, about a sled dog named Buck, who after many a adventure discovered the wild spirit within him and guess where he roamed? Alaska. It was one of the stories which featured high up on my dog-crazy family’s reading list. Seeing these brave and loyal Alaskan huskies in person was a landmark event in my life.

8. and the wolves...
As I said before, animals are my passion. The wolf and its legendary outlaw status make it a superstar in my world. To see a wolf pack run and play and do whats wolves do best i.e. be free made my day, actually my week and my year and my century. For more details on my wolf obsession, please refer

9. and the bears...
7 grizzly bears on a single half-day trip in Denali National Park. Only in Alaska! And due to budget constraints, I was there BEFORE the regular bear viewing season actually started! The first grizzly mom and cubs group we saw was actually clearly playing. A snowy bank was their theme park as they ran up it and skidded down it. Wildlife documentary stuff, a mere daily occurrence in the Great Land (Alaska’s meaning in native Athabhascan)

10. A 10 photo limit is tough:
A vast, untouched, outrageously beautiful landscape where magnificent animals rule; where the native tribes have survived the "modern" world quite well and settlers still live the frontier life; a sense of adventure around every corner - all of this and more. A cliche done to death, but I will say it, Alaska “needs to be seen to be believed”. 

For more pictures, visit the Alaska albums @