July 7, 2014 – Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine

Monday morning we realized we would not be camping or backpacking because our warmer sleeping bags, puff jackets, and water filter were still at the Butterfly Lake Cabin.  Instead, we would head to Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine State Historical Park to day hike.  Before having some fun, however, we would need to make a stop at the DMV to tie up the loose ends of our new vehicle.  DMV’s are notoriously terrible, but surprisingly, this went pretty smoothly and efficiently! Wooho!

After leaving the DMV in Wasilla, we drove north towards Hatcher Pass.  We stopped first at Independence Mine, which is a historical site, preserving the history of the early days of gold mining in Southern Alaska

Next, we continued on through to Hatcher Pass’s dirt road.  We knew this was the most direct route to return to the ranger’s station, and the most scenic, but also a “very bumpy dirt road.” Apparently all the heinous dirt “roads” that we have taken cars on before (the kind that require all passengers and gear to get out of the car or the kind that require large rocks to be moved) have given us a “different” view of what a rough road is, so we found this to be pretty nice.

Along the way, we stopped to hike April Bowl Trail.  This was nice little hike along a ridgeline to the top of Hatch Peak with beautiful views all around.


After coming of the ridge, we headed back towards Nancy Lake, but not before stopping for a cheeseburger in paradise.  Previously, the trail crew guys from Denali spoke of a pretty good cheeseburger for $7.00, but the only catch was it might take an hour to make and serve.  It took the hour to make and serve and it was a tasty treat, along with fantastic people watching.

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