Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hatcher Pass and the Quest for Blueberries

 Looking at the pictures below, you would think we went back up on a big trip to McKinley. But Hatcher Pass is just down the road from us, an hour or so away, tucked between Palmer and Wasilla. We wanted a nice place to have a picnic lunch and hopefully find some blueberries. (Yeah, I know I'm about a month early, but I wanted to see a real life blueberry bush, ripe or unripe berries.)
We stopped at the Independence Gold Mine, which has been closed down since the 1950's(?). The parking lot had several picnic benches and we discovered we weren't the only one with the idea to picnic. This is the view from our bench.

Up from the parking lot, the Visitors Center houses some pretty interesting exhibits about the conditions of life there when the mine was producing its lode gold.

There are several trails around the area.

We finally spotted a blueberry bush. The berries, however, were far from ready for the taking. 

On our drive back down, we spotted a parking lot with a trailhead that led hikers up a mountainside. We figured to try it out.

And look what we found! We foraged about a ziploc baggie full of them. The kids had a grand ole time gathering up the berries, as I jumped in with them, thoughts of steaming hot blueberry pancakes dancing through my mind.

Couldn't count on this girl to make contributions to the berry stash.  They went straight into her mouth!

We would give it three more weeks for the rest of the patches to ripen. At that time, Fam Och would be there on our newly discovered blueberry fields stocking up for some blueberry jam.

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