Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hatcher Pass

I had heard there was an abandoned gold mine in a place called Hatcher's Pass.  I googled it, and saw pictures of wooden structures giving in the weather and time, and peaceful green alpine meadows.  It was May, and a gorgeous sunny day, so I decided to do a road trip.  Spring was everywhere...until the road turned upwards.

I'm going to start with "the victory shot" of the day.  This was my favorite photo.  A red roof against the white and blue of a pristine mountain valley.  It's probably my favorite because it wasn't easy to get.

This photo explains the day a bit more.  As mentioned earlier, it was a bright sunny day when I started this journey in my running shoes.  This us about the halfway point.  You may notice an absence of road.  This is because my car is outside of the view and it was a long, uphill walk in rather deep snow, which was fortunately packed on a path for skiers...but off the trail I think I might have just fallen through like a sinkhole.

I had to face serious mountain beasts, like this jedi marmot armed with a twig and ready to smack me down.

The irony of the sign was not lost on me.  As a first time visitor to the area, it was somewhat ironic to find a roadsign after an rather vigorous and lengthy snow hike.  Apparently, if you're normal, you wait a few weeks and just drive up/

Another thing the normal people in the area were doing...skiing.  Normal people show up here with skies.  I may not be normal, but I am most certainly determined and I struggled all the way to up to the old mine, ski-less, in my running shoes.  I may be a little stubborn.

I did eventually concede that a closer inspection of the buildings would simply not be possible on this particular day.

And I even found the parking lot...confirming there would be a summer road somewhere.

My stubborness paid off though, and soon people figured "hey, if that crazy lady is walking up there so can we."  And so i was rewarded with passing a few small groups on the way back down, including this little pug.  It was quite a journey for me, so I figured this little pug was a super athlete.  I asked if I could take his picture, and when I leaned down I said "Hello little mountain dog!"

He rewarded me with a stoic pose, looking back down the mountains.  And as I left, his owners, tickled pink, could be heard exclaiming about their amazing little mountain dog.

I also encountered what appears to be an abominable snow mosquito.

And I almost missed this well camoflauged snowbird.  It may be an arctic ptarmigan, but I'm not sure.  I quite recommend Hatcher Pass...but maybe a little later in the season!