I took a break from my studies on Monday and journeyed to the Hatcher Pass area with my family. My daughter, her three children ages 6-10, my husband, and I drove 64 miles (about an hour and a half) north of Anchorage to Independence Mine. The mine is now part of the State of Alaska park system and is known as the Independence Mine State Historical Park.
We drove through gorgeous scenery and finally arrived at the park entrance where we met my daughter’s high school friend and his ten-year-old son. We hiked the trail to Gold Core Lake along an easy trail. All of the children easily hiked the mile to the lake and back. My husband and I had more difficulty as there is a 500-foot elevation gain, but I consider it to be an easy hike.
We saw an old sod cabin along the trail and stopped to investigate it for a few minutes. It is about twelve feet by twelve feet. I think I would have difficulty living in that size of a home by myself, let alone with a spouse and family. We found the beautiful, pristine lake nestled at the foot of some high mountains. The water in the lake is so clear that I could see the bottom of it. The lake is surrounded with large boulders, some of which are larger than cars. We stopped there to eat our lunch and visit before starting down the trail.
When we arrived back at the mine, we decided to tour the museum but found it closed. We walked through the historical park and read many of the signs. We decided to climb up a hill located in the park and found rails for the ore cars. We walked to the end of the boardwalk and found the entrance to the water tunnel. We went in the tunnel about ten or fifteen feet until we came to a locked gate. On the other side of the gate, we could see a river. We were amazed at the coolness in the tunnel. It felt very nice on such a hot day.
We stopped on the way home at a place that advertises the “best ice cream in the world.” We were given a choice of about 24 ice cream flavors. The ice cream was soft and came in a twist. It was delicious and an appropriate way to end our wonderful day.
This is my first time to be in the area, and I would definitely go back and do it again. I recommend the tour of the mine and the hike to Gold Core Lake.