Updates from Alaska #9

Date: 21-24 June

Location: Talkeetna, AK

Daylight: Full

Alaska Adventure #8: Wounded Warriors party – 40+ people in our backyard, soldiers, veterans, climbers local families, and lots of beer

Alaska Adventure #amazing: Flying into Denali basecamp

It’s been great being with the Warriors this week. The party AMS threw for them was really tiring but reasonably fun. I feel like I’ve definitely relaxed into this community, and more, I suppose, blue-collar modes of speech and behavior (no, no beer, and yes, still vegan). I’ve enjoyed talking with a few of the PJs on policy. One of them, Will I think, asked whether I’d read Ahmed Rashid’s Taliban, and I whipped it and Descent Into Chaos out of my bag for him! Gerard, nuclear engineer, and Scott, wilderness medicine doctor at Harvard Med, are a refreshing reminder of the academy.

I went to the air taxi with the climbers and the whole AMS office crew this afternoon to send them off. Their director and a new friend Cpt Olson asked whether I’d flown up. On hearing a negative, he mentioned that there was an open seat, as Gerard’s brother Ed wasn’t making the trip. I ended up flying into basecamp. What a marvel. Alaska is a land of lakes and mountains. There are three zones: the green zone, with meandering rivers and low hills and taiga. There is the narrow transition zone, higher hills with snow (Peters and Buck Hills in this case) and steep black mountainsides. Then there is the land of ice and snow. It’s just as guide Leighan said: the two planets, separated by a flight and a few black hills.

It’s absolutely beautiful. Yet – it was never as beautiful as the Zugspitze – never as beautiful as the Greens and Whites and Adirondacks where my heart rests.

I hope Vrindavana is as beautiful.



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