Between Cathy and Ellen you can see a bush with a lot of red berries on it, and then a close-up of said berries. We don't know what kind of berries they were, but the entire 1.5 mile trail was lined on both sides with them, making this by far our prettiest "walk in the woods" while we were hiking to the real sightseeing.
There were a few breaks in the trees and bushes which allowed us a few great peaks at the valley.
And after the 1st mile of trail we hit what we knew in advance would be a 1/2 mile of steps to the top of the butte.
We were told there was a total of 520 steps to the top, which on an intellectual level you say "OK" to, but going up them was at times challenging. haha We stopped several times for a breather, but finally got to the top! (I think Ellen is getting stronger every day...not as much whining as one would have expected! haha)
And, again, it was well worth the trip!!! I think I would be hard pressed to pick out my favorite pic in these next 2 groupings of pictures.
In the distance, directly behind Cathy and me in this 1st pic, is another of the seemingly hundreds of glaciers we have seen throughout Alaska. (We don't know the name of this one.)
As I was standing on a rock and therefore felt somewhat unstable (haha), this isn't quite the 360 view of what we were seeing, but close and very pretty regardless!
So down, down, down we go...a lot easier than coming up, and even some nice pictures left to take.
But let me introduce you to my new friend...we call her "pigpen" now, and this video will show you why. Think "3 steps and a cloud of dust"!!!! haha And you can see a hint if you look at the back of my legs from the trip in the picture beside the video.
We still had plenty of time to the day after the hike, so we headed on over to the Independence Gold Mine not too far from the Butte. Along the way we stopped to get a picture of this 4 person ferris wheel that was sitting in a junk yard along the side of the road. So cute you almost wish you had someplace to put it in your back yard. haha
There was some beautiful scenery driving to the old mine...in the 2nd pic, the red houses on the left are actually a lodge, but the cleared ground and white buildings behind and to their right are the mine property.
They had a lot of rehabbed buildings as shown in the these pics, mostly old dormitories for the workers but also some of the engineering stations, etc. Behind the dorms, and behind Ellen and Cathy in the last pic is the remains of the mine, which was started by a Robert Hatcher in 1906 and not closed till 1951. No wildlife today, except this adorable ground squirrel chirping away.
After perusing the grounds, I determined that I was the Mill Foreman and hired Cathy first as a Ore Sorter and then Ellen as a Dumpman...she tried for the Miner job, but didn't qualify! haha
There were a few hiking trails we could do from the mine, but we figured we would come back another day to the that. We instead drove on over to the Summit Lake area that we had heard was a really nice view. As is usual in Alaska, at least since we have been here, the weather got colder as the day went on, and being up here only made it colder because of the breeze. Believe it or not, while we were bundling up, a group of maybe 3-4 mothers and their 6-7 kids were at the far end of this freezing cold lake swimming...3 of the toddlers were naked and swimming!!! I think the moms were trying to throw them into shock so they would sleep on the way home??? haha
The best part of this stop was watching our new friend, Bill, setting up and taking off the side of the mountain to go parasailing. Oh, how I wish I still had the guts to do this! I would have done it at 25, but now? NOT!!! In the 2nd and 3rd pics Bill is waving at me!!! haha
Check out the movie...Bill takes off like it's nothing!
On our way down from the lake and heading home from another great day of sightseeing.
The next blog will include our hunt for Sarah...stay tuned!!! haha