Denali Visit

Leslie and I made a trip down to Denali a while back to deliver some jewelry. And, of course, we had to make a trip into the park while we were there.
To our delightful surprise we spied a beautiful, wet grizzly bear within the first few miles on the park road. This is the first time I've seen a grizzly in this area. It's more typical to see black bears in this forested area. Another amazing thing about it was that we got to watch him eat for several minutes before anyone else drove up and saw him.

I thought this was a neat spot of fireweed. It's so light in color it's almost albino looking.

Normal, healthy fireweed.
As we were headed back to the highway, we were quietly cruising through a thickly vegetated area and were both thinking that this would be a good place to see a wolf. Then, I looked ahead at the road and two wolves were trotting right towards us! They trotted a few hundred yards in our direction as they crossed the road but quickly disappeared into the trees just as quickly as they had orginally appeared. They must have been on a mission.

There was a steady drizzle the whole time we were there but that doesn't stop the animals. It was a magical time as always in Denali.

Talkeetna Local

This adorable, little red fox kit was hanging out on the side of the Talkeetna Spur Road being very photogenic. What a cutie! :)

Matanuska Glacier

While exploring the Matanuska Valley we found a glacier that you could actually drive fairly close to and walk out on it. Most places will not let you walk up to the face of the glacier or even get close to it. Basically, you pay a fee, sign a waiver, and enter at your own risk. I could see this being shut down in the future.

We are already walking on ice here...dirt/rock covered ice.

Cool balanced rock!
Walking on ice was working for Boss better than any of us. He has four natural crampons to use!

Little flowing creeks were everywhere.

It was no surprise but Boss loved the ice! He gnawed on it so much his gums were bleeding!

Very nice ice!

Gorgeous meltwater pools

A great trek across the glacier! Hope it's available for other people for many years to come.

This concludes a wonderful ten day trip shared with Andrew's parents. Over all we had great weather and we got to see the majors things on their list---the mountain and puffins. We explored some new places and had great luck finding many new places to stay and eat. Thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us! We had a blast!!!

Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine

On our way back to Anchorage, we decided to spend a day and night on the Hatcher Pass Road. It's a 49-mile road (mostly dirt) that travels through spectacular alpine country connecting the Glenn Highway and the Parks Highway.

The lonesome Hatcher Pass Road.

Twilight on the Chugach Mountains
You never know what you'll find at the end of the road. We were hoping for something good since this was one of those unplanned routes. It just so happened we got lucky.

We found a great little lodge that offered one room (plus loft) cabins. It sleeps four and had a little table. It had a bathroom but did not have running water. It had a chemical toilet and sink that you used creatively with your own water. It had great views and the lodge had a restaurant that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner! We were only there for breakfast and once again, it was a pleasant surprise! Maybe even the best breakfast we had all week! Very fresh and very fine ingredients.

A picture of the Hatcher Pass Lodge from the road below.

The historic Independence Mine was located just behind the lodge. Robert Lee Hatcher first discovered gold here in 1906. Over the years 83 claims was made on this land and eventually it all fell under the control of one company. The claims covered more than 1,350 acres and included 27 structures. In it's peak year it produced 34,416 ounces of gold.

This was one of the dormitories and the top floor was a school (for eight kids).

I thought it was neat that these barrels were made to travel down the tracks.

A huge engine.

A duplex that has been set up inside to look like it would have in the 20s and 30s.

I could totally see Andrew as a gold miner!

What a mess this creek is!

It's amazing they still let you touch this stuff! This wouldn't happen in the lower 48.

Up above the mine was the boomtown where the 22 families lived.
We didn't know it till we got up there, but some of it is still private property and is still being mined.
Headed up there to check it out.

Beautiful, dainty little flowers called moss heather blanketed the tundra.

Andrew and his mom waited patiently on Ted and I to finish taking pictures.

Independence Mine from above.

Beware of explosives.

Down the road the flowers were incredible. The first columbine we've this summer.

Cow parsnip

After the gold mine, we had a picnic beside the Little Susitna River and hung out for a while.

Who could resist this handsome dog?!?! Not me!

Even when he's blowing a raspberry!

"We got you!"

Now they play nice.

Boss, as we all did, had such a good day!