Rob and Syd's Western Canada and Alaska trip 2012 travel blog

Cow and her two calves crossing behind us.

A view from the south side of Hatcher Pass

Wonder why the pass is still closed?

Day 48, Monday, June 11, 2012

The plan today was to drive a 49 mile loop across Hatcher Pass from Palmer to Willow. The road runs along the Little Susitna River which is a gold bearing stream and people can try their hand at gold panning along there. At the 17 mile point, there is a lodge and the Independence Mine State Historical Park. People were walking back into the mine area but the road was closed. The road over Hatcher Pass from this point was still closed also due to snow. It apparently doesn’t open until July. There’s only about a 3 mile stretch right across the pass that is closed. We sat and watched a couple of marmots wrestling and chasing each other. Then we turned around and took the highway around to the other side and took the Hatcher Pass road from the Willow side. It went through forests along the Willow Creek (which is also gold bearing). There were mining claims posted all along the river but we didn’t see anyone out there. I’m not sure how that process works but no one else can pan for gold in someone’s posted claim. We saw a mama moose with her twins, she crossed the road right behind us. Moose generally have twins to help the odds of at least one surviving. The road moved through more alpine country and into open river valleys. We could see two long abandoned gold mines high on the side of the mountain and another one that is still in operation. There were a lot of beaver lodges along the river. Back in Wasilla, I saw a bald eagle flying up ahead. It circled around and ended up flying right outside my car window about 30 feet away from us. Very cool.

Still cloudy all day and they started lowering by the end of the afternoon. The rain started when we stopped at the Noisy Goose for dinner. It’s still raining at 10:30. Tomorrow was supposed to be our best shot at sun but they’ve revised that to “we don’t know when we’ll ever see the sun again”. Something like that.

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