After many years of spending my travel time abroad, I decided that I wanted to see more of my own country. The summer of 2003 was the second year in a row that I did a travel holiday in the United States with Trek America, a tour operator that offers active small group adventures throughout the Americas. They offered a great opportunity to explore and camp through Alaska, a trip that would have been difficult to pull off on my own.
Our guide served as both our tour leader and driver, and our small group of 11 served as cooks, camp set-up/clean-up crew, and overall entertaining company. In our two-weeks on the road we had many incredible adventures, including:
- Flying by seaplane to our camp site in Kachemak Bay, where juvenile eagles soared overhead as we enjoyed the first salmon of the season;
- Carefully navigating our kayaks through the chunks of ice that calved the night before off of Schoop Glacier as seals swam along side us;
- Camping along the river banks in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and tramping on Root Glacier where we set-up ropes on an ice wall for some intense ice climbing;
- A breathtaking flight over the Alaskan Range;
- And four days of 100% visibility of the majestic Denali (Mt. McKinley).
Being in Alaska was like a breath of fresh air – its beauty is invigorating and the only other time I felt so alive was in Nepal. There must be something truly magical in areas where mountain ranges and glaciers dominate. And that is the essence I wanted to portray in my Alaska Mandala.
If one color were to represent Alaska it would have to be blue; from the sea to the sky and iceberg to glacier, its vibrancy is everywhere. And for me, this mandala completely encompasses the electricity that Alaska created in me.