Exploring the wonders of Alaska

A trip to Alaska is a lifetime of adventure in a season of glaciers and snow
BY Aditya Gandhi

With less than one hour left on the flight, the plane was in lines of the state. Opening my window blinds allowed me to see a world only available to birds in the sky. The plane was 30,000 feet high. Each cloud had a unique shape; some were mushroom-shaped while others were as tall as a skyscraper encompassing the plane as it flew through the vibrant blue sky. The mountains were covered in a bed of pure white snow; they were sky-piercing. Some mountains were taller than the cloud over them, while others vanished waiting for the thick puffy white clouds to hover past them to reveal their jagged peaks. This panoramic view made my eyes tear up, the spectacle I was seeing resembled the heavens I had read about as a child.

 

The plane landed and, as I walked through the terminal entering Anchorage International Airport, one different thing was the smell. The air in Alaska stimulated my sense of smell. The air was so clean and pure. Each breath I took energized me, I could feel my lungs feel alive. “Inhale, exhale, Inhale, exhale.” The more breaths I took I felt energized and refreshed; the cold air flowed across my skin making my body feel light. My nasal passages opened, and all of my congestion was relieved.

 

 

Upon checking into our hotel, my family and I were set to go aboard a day cruise to explore Prince William Sound. The most mind-blowing thing I got to witness was seeing glaciers calve, which is when they melt and break. Every time the glacier would break, huge 2000-pound icebergs would fall into the water. The splash was so strong that my ears started to quiver. The icebergs were so big that the boat started to shake showing the magnitude of what I was witnessing with my eyes. But the instant before it would fall I observed that the ice was blue and not white, due to the ice being compact with only a few air bubbles. I touched a piece of ice and it sent a shiver down my spine. My hands felt numb and I lost feeling. What was once a beautiful tall and enormous structure was slowly getting reduced to oblivion.

 

After a long day of traveling, the cruise turned back, and we headed to eat at a local Native American restaurant. The speed of the boat kicked up a notch. Instead of sitting inside the cabin like most of the passengers, I went to the captain’s deck and felt the strong winds on my face. The winds were so powerful my cheeks turned into a bright shade of red. The 15-degree weather made my body chill and numb. The trip was majestic: I could see colossal valleys with steep sloping slides with mountain goats galloping trying to find their next meal. In the water, I could spot hundreds of mullet fishes jumping out of the water and back in. The clean and rich air turned into a fishy seafood aroma invigorating my urge to eat fish. The water had a strong current, but the small fish were opposing the current with all of their might. The sound of hundreds of fishes splashing was like a group of tap dancers creating a beat with their synchrony.

 

 

Upon reaching the restaurant, we were greeted by tribesmen from a local Native American group called the Athabascan Indians. The traditional Native American clothing was as colorful as the shades of a rainbow.  They gave us a tour around their village. On one side I could see mothers teaching their daughters how to cook tilapia. They used dry wood to start a fire and hung the fish over. My mouth watered as I was about to indulge. As the piece of tilapia entered my mouth I could taste the delicate, sweet, and buttery sensation. The hot sauce added a kick, burning my throat and giving flavor to the fish. All of these flavors combined and complemented each other creating an authentic Native American seafood experience.

 

 

My time in Alaska allowed me to have a glimpse of the reality of living in the state. I can picture an elaborate canvas of valleys, glaciers, indigenous people, mountains, and animals in my head. Hearing the power of each iceberg hitting the ground, seeing mountains covered with fluffy white snow, tasting the complexity of flavors and spices in Native American food, smelling an ocean filled with hundreds of thousands of fish, and touching a piece of a glacier that has been on earth for millions of years made me lucky that I was able to explore the wonderful state of Alaska.

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