Snowshoeing in Sarah Palin’s Backyard – the Hatcher Pass

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Snowshoeing in Sarah Palin’s Backyard – the Hatcher Pass

Hatcher Pass - Matsu, Alaska

Sarah Palin is the most influential marketing person for Mat-Su?

There is a region in Alaska that got its fame during from a vice presidential candidate during the 2008 elections in the United States. Yes, I’m talking about Sarah Palin. Wasilla, a small town in Mat-Su Valley (Matanuska-Sustina Valley) where she served as a mayor, got a massive amount of international attention after she was chosen as John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. Of course, Alaska’s famous throughout history, but Sarah Palin contributed a lot to that in recent years.

Hatcher Pass is a mountain pass through the southwest part of the Talkeetna Mountains, only 12 miles away from Wasilla and Palmer. This area is popular for recreational day trips for both locals and visitors. I went snowshoeing here during my visit to Alaska.

While the rest of Alaska was dealing with the unseasonably warm weather, Hatcher Pass was all winter. The snow was thigh-high and the mountains looked untouched, but the creek was starting to melt just a little bit. We put on our snowshoes and headed up to the Independence Mine.

The snow was deep, but wasn’t too hard to walk on because of its density. It would’ve been perfect for making a snowman. Dan, my friend and an outdoorsman from Palmer, broke the trail for us. He practically lives out here all winter long while leading his adventure tour groups. He taught me how to I learned how to balance my poles and steps. I’m still getting used to skis and snowshoes. Snowshoeing, along with cross-country skiing, is my kind of sport. It’s slow, steady, and there’s no great danger. Also, it’s a whole-body workout. I loved it.

We reached the Independence Mine after a short hike. In the early 1900’s the Independence Mine was open for business. It was one of Alaska’s largest gold mining camps. Now, the abandoned gray and red building creates a dramatic contrast against the white snow. The fascinating thing is, hard as it was to believe, the whole area would be covered with grass and flowers in the summer. I couldn’t imagine it. It felt like I was standing on the top of a place that was covered with perpetual snow. I‘ll just have to come back in summer to see it for myself.

Hatcher Pass in Mat-su Valley

Hatcher Pass in Mat-su Valley – It was a gray day

Housing in the Independent Mine

Housing in the Independent Mine

Housing in the Independent Mine

Housing in the Independent Mine

You can see Palmer from here

You can see Palmer from here

Independent Mine - What's left of it

Independent Mine – What’s left of it

Snow was so deep, I couldn't see any small trees

Snow was so deep, I couldn’t see any small trees

Photogenic houses at the Independence Mine

Photogenic houses at the Independence Mine

Photogenic houses at the Independence Mine

Photogenic houses at the Independence Mine – my favorite photo

Dan McDonough - the man of winter sports

Dan McDonough – the man of winter sports. He’s the owner of “Lifetime Adventures”

Snowshoeing!

Snowshoeing!

Red frame is quite stylish

Red frame is quite stylish

Snow was so deep

Snow was so deep

Great day with Casey and Dan!

Great day with Casey and Dan!

 

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Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

13 Comments

  1. Jen says:

    Great photos Juno. Those red frames houses really look so pretty and stand out with the pure white snow backdrop.

  2. Brrrrr looks coooooold, but fun!! We’re not quite ready to get back to the cold in Canada, but it will happen at some point. Beautiful winter white shots!

  3. Ayngelina says:

    Love the red frames, so photogenic!

  4. Alex says:

    You’re such a talented photographer! What a scenic place… if a bit too much snow for my tastes 🙂

  5. You’re a brave girl! This looks like a serious trek.

  6. Holy crap! That snow is DEEP! I’d love to try this adventure. I’m like you — I want a good workout with minimal risk of death. 🙂

  7. Stunning pics Juno! I’d love to see the contrast between seasons too…

  8. You really had a great pictures! I remember the frozen movies from your photos, it seems that everything are all white!

  9. It looks so cold and fun! You are very brave. And the photos were very stunning too. I salute your talent!

  10. Shaun says:

    Great photos! I would love to snowshoe in Alaska. I grew up as Sarah Palins other neighbors and made it to Alaska twice as a kid. Time to head back me thinks.

    Shaun

  11. Mark says:

    That’s awesome you got to do a hike in the winter here. Your photos and the unique location makes me want to return to Alaska to check it out in the winter. I already worked there in the summer so it’s a turnaround thingy for me.

  12. Awesome shots. Awesome people. Great location. We have many friends in common (Chris Guillebeau and David Kasser….to name a couple). I look forward to meeting you “on the trail” soon! s

  13. I would like to go back to a winter like that, but just for a day or two. I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, but I’m so sensitive to the cold that my body get rashes from it, so I’m a bit afraid of being sick there. Maybe one day, with enough meds and prep I would be able to travel to the north of US.

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