Root Family

Root Family

Jan 24, 2015

Alaska 2013 Trip Day 4: Hatcher Pass and Independence Mine

I think this was my favorite day of our trip and yet kind of hard to put into words.  It wasn't just that the Hatcher Pass area was so beautiful--it was magical too it seemed, and from the sound of it, it's pretty magical for locals too, they all love it!  I can't remember how far it was, but I'm pretty sure this drive was under 45 minutes.  We pulled over here by the Little Susitna river to take some pictures.  It reminded me of many Montana rivers, and was also just what you picture when you imagine where grizzly bears might come fishing in Alaska.  

Little Susitna River
Then we got to Hatcher Pass.  The wind socks made me to think of prayer flags in Tibet--it really seemed we were in another place.  The paragliders made me think of my Dad.  It's so weird how much I thought of him on this trip and how much he would love seeing and doing this stuff.  So much of his life he talked about flying, first in small planes for which he had his private pilot's license when I was little, later on he would talk about hang-gliding, flying gyrocopters, and finally, ultralights.  I would have never guessed that in less than a year both my Cade and my Dad would leave this earth and now I can't seem to think of them separately.    

After walking around a bit, Cade was crazy enough to jump into this little glacier-cold lake at Hatcher Pass.  I don't even remember why.  I am a straight-up wimp when it comes to cold water but I don't know, I wasn't entirely surprised he jumped in.  It was crazy, but seemed like something my brothers might have done at 15 years old too, and even later, and in fact, I did once waterski on a 40-degree day in Montana.  I definitely saw some of my family in Cade, but loved seeing more of his individuality, who he really was.  Still so shy that he hardly talked directly to me yet seemed so approachable, so good-natured and friendly, adventurous, and admired by all--especially his siblings and family.  


It seemed like we were too quickly running out of time up there that day though.  Even with long summer days in Alaska, that Sunday was getting cooler than it had been earlier that week, and you can tell there was a good wind there.  

We headed back to our cars and then debated making another stop.  I'm so glad we did.  I studied archaeology for my undergraduate degree and have had a passion for ruins of any kind as long as I can remember.  Something about the juxtaposition of nature and man-made stuff and how nature always wins just gets me.  

I'm pretty sure it was after 9 pm or so when we headed out to Independence Mine.  Lori took our younger kids back to the house so that Tyler and I, Caiden, Cade, William, Haylee and Heath, could explore a bit.  I think my younger ones would have actually really enjoyed this but were equally happy to go back to the house to hang out and it would be late then anyway.

These were the views he had just as we approached Independence Mine.

I loved how the clouds hung low and gave an air of mystery to everything around the village.  I loved being able to explore and talk and get to know everyone better.  I just loved being there.  It seemed so heavenly.  Like it was haunted with the stories of the people who lived and worked there, eerie, but not creepy, haunting, but inspiring.  I felt really alive there and really good.  Like we were all just part of the universe there, just as we always are, but the feeling was amplified by the energy there.  

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