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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13 thoughts on “Snowshoeing in Sarah Palin’s Backyard – the Hatcher Pass”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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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