“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
It has been a while since I put pen to paper, or fingers to keys (as the case may be.) We have done quite a bit of traveling up here in “great white north” the “forgotten state” the “state no one ships packages to for free,” (that one hurts the most.)
Living up here is both extraordinary and a source for anxiety almost simultaneously.
The awe-inspiring, knock-you-off-your-feet moments, happen every time you look out the window. The mountains, valleys, rivers, wildlife, hills, flowers, snow, sky…anything…at your fingertips!
The inquietude sets in with thoughts of “how can I see it all?? winter is coming” because winter is always coming.
Then, of course, the winters are tirelessly long. While there are aspects we honestly cherish, there are others we grow weary of when spring shows it’s rainy face again.
To April’s icy “breakup season” we say “good riddance winter, bring on the sunshine!”
That brings me to my first of many “traveler’s diary” posts. Our favorite spots from the past (~ collective) 3 years, starting in no particular order:
I think I heard about this place on the “Alaska channel” one day, flipping through cable TV, and happened upon the narrated story of this old mining town.
It was so captivating I marked it down on my “must visit” list.
I recommend having one of these- or at least making a “wish list” because there are so many tucked away fishing posts, mining towns, or coastal villages that will blow you away with their charm.
I grew watching the movie White Christmas and Hatcher’s Pass Lodge reminded me of that movie, right down to the retired military owner. After making his rounds with the other guests, we talked for quite some time, listening to his stories, and talking of “change” and “that which doesn’t.”
While it is a quaint little scattering of cabins (including a sauna!)
The way the clouds delicately lifted off our cabins in the morning.
Or, drinking bottomless coffee in the ceiling-to-floor-window lodge, while quietly observing the vibrant flowers just outside. Or, watching my dad flipping through his bird identification book, attempting to id the chirping birds on the Lodge deck. Or, the endless rolling green pastures surrounded by the towering Talkeetna Range.
These are what made “quaint” picturesque.
It was a truly…magical place to visit.
One can only imagine what it would be like in the wintertime with all of the snow, and cross-country skiing.
Our advice for Hatchers Pass/Independence Mine:
- Get there early enough to explore Independence Mine. The park is large. It could easily take a few hours. Parking costs $5. Hours 9am – 6pm.
- Do not depend on your GPS for your directions! We got lost. There are two routes, a long 22-mile gravel road that is supposed to be “one of the best drives in Alaska” and the “other scenic route, that’s a little more safe,” according to our waitress. Here are the exact directions.
- If you are staying in one of the cabins- bring games! They have some board games in the cabins- with aggravatingly fewer pieces than needed to play successfully.
- The cabins heat up very quickly– and then takes some time to regulate. Start the process early, so you are not trying to figure this out in the middle of the night (like we were!)
- If you drink- pack extra alcohol, the lodge closes early, and it’s the only place around!
- RETURN WHEN IT IS SNOWY: this place will be awesome to cross-country ski!
There are very few places that have given me that sense of tranquility and genuinely ignited my heart in such a way- it actually leapt. I fell in love with a place. There are a few places I have travelled that I can say this- and Hatchers Pass is one of them.