Road Trippin: Hatcher Pass, Independence Mine and Blueberries

This past weekend we took the Jeep for a road trip over Hatcher Pass from the Willow side.

After stopping off at Willow Hardware for a lug wrench (just in case) and filling up for gas at the Townsite Foodmart we were on our way on a beautiful Alaskan summer day!

We stopped off at “the sign” for Nicole to get a picture. Roads… We don’t need no stinkin’ roads! As we got out of the Jeep we noticed a screw stuck in the aggressive tread pattern. No worries we’ll keep on truckin’ (err jeepin’) along.

We stopped along the way for a photo pop here and there and finally made it to the top of the pass where there is a cool lake. It is a popular stop for travelers so we weren’t alone…in more ways than one! As Michele was picking flowers a prairie dog (or whatever they are called here in the Great White North) chased her down screeching at her as he got closer.

The lake was the furtherest we have been previously, thinking it was a long way to the “Palmer side.” Boy were we wrong!

Just over the pass and down a steep grade we came to what everybody is talking about. Independence Mine and the accompanying tourist traps. Well not really a tourist trap–just the Hatcher Pass Lodge.

We decided to grab lunch. We thought it would be cool to sit where the miners sat, and boy is there one heck of a view of the Mat-Su Valley.

We ordered sandwiches and cokes. A coke was $2.75 for a can and the bill was over 50 bucks! Wow! That is the most I have ever paid for a can of soda. The atmosphere made up for the high prices and we had a nice leisurely lunch together next to the coal burning stove.

After lunch we headed up the hill to Independence Mine. It was awesome. Check out all the cool pics. It truly took you back into history.

We walked around for an hour or so in the sprinkles before getting to the real reason for this trip.

Blueberry Picking!

We had found a location on an eight year old blog post–you gotta love Al Gore’s Internet–a place off of Archangel road.

Obviously this was the place on everyone’s list as there was probably a couple hundred people with their butt’s in the air picking berries.

There was no shortage of blueberries. They were everywhere! We spent the better part of two hours picking filling our bucket, about a gallon and a half worth.

There were so many blueberries it was like a treasure hunt. Around every bend was another bush blooming with ripe berries.

We headed down the hill back to the Jeep. Our hands were purple and our butts were stained but we had a great time.

We finsished the trek down to Palmer, stopping at Red Robin in Wasilly for dinner.

Total trip– about a 90 mile loop. 

If you are visiting Alaska or just a resident looking for something to do, this is a trip you have to take. It is worth every minute of it.

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