Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hatcher Pass - January 12, 2008

After we left the Mat-Su cross-country activity, we went further up Hatcher Pass. The Alaska State Parks was offering free parking in the normal fee areas and other activities were happening further up the Pass.  

One of the activities was sledding down a groomed sledding hill. Sledding Alaska-style works like this:
The driver drops you off at the top of the run and then goes and parks at the bottom of the run down the mountain (about a mile away). Then you snowboard or sled down the hill. When all members of the group arrive at the bottom, everyone loads up in the vehicle to be transported to the top for the next run. (Sorry – no pictures of this – the run was straight downhill, out of range of our cameras).

Folks who actually knew what they were doing were cross-country skiing around Independence Mine at the top of Hatcher Pass. (That might be us next year) :>) The parking lot was full of vehicles, so there were a lot of people taking advantage of all the activities.
You will see the buildings from the old mine in some of these pictures.

This excerpt about the Independence Mine is taken from the Alaska State Parks web page. If you wish to learn more about it, go to this link:

"GOLD! A magic word that time cannot tarnish; a soft metal with the strength to forge history. Gold was the magnet that drew thousands of adventurers to the last frontier. Though most Alaskans recognize that gold played an important part in Alaska's history, they normally think first of Nome, Fairbanks, or the Iditarod country. But even before a quarter-of-a-million gold seekers began their stampede into those famous areas, gold was discovered just southeast of Anchorage in 1886. From there prospectors spread into the Susitna and Matanuska river basins, testing the creeks in the nearby mountains."

On both the way up the mountain and on the way down, we had to stop to look at the awesome view of our valley where we live. When you come to visit us, be assured that this is one thing that we will show you whether it is summer or winter. I took these pictures of the valley and then turned around and took these pictures of the mountains. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful it was. Pictures do not do it the view justice.