With only a few miles between us and Hatcher Pass, we are told it is a pretty drive and decide late this afternoon to check it out.
About 8 miles from the Elk's Lodge, we come to this river that has a sign explaining Hatcher Pass and the significance of preparedness. The pass is basically a dirt road about 30 miles in length which eventually connects at Willow on the Park's Highway.
Another few miles and we spot hang gliders! We find a parking area and dozens of hang gliders are in the air. Bob has so much fun talking to one of the men who used to be an instructor. Apparently the thermals at the pass at this time of day are perfect. Since they are landing directly behind our Jeep, I get a few good shots of one or two coming in for a landing.
Just up the road and around the corner is this interesting lodge, small but situated to maximize the view.
Beyond this, the old Independence Gold Mine, now a state historical park.
From here we see the beginning of the steep dirt road, and drive perhaps 5 miles to check it out. Being new to off-roading, and especially since we are alone, we don't want or need any unnecessary risks.
At a stopping point, we meet a group of bikers who are familiar with the road. One, an ex-policeman from Seward and experienced Jeeper tells us as beginners we should have no problem. Since it's now around 9:00 PM, I tell him we'll do the entire pass another day. He asked if we're afraid we'll run out of light! Hardly, but water, food, etc. would be essential when out alone in the wilderness. Now it's time to turn back toward Palmer and enjoy the view.
View of the Mat-su Valley and the Chugach Mountains beyond.
For Further Information: Independence Mine
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