24 Jul 2015--With only a day left in Wasilla and nothing fresh to do, Ellen and I decided to go back to the Independence Mine area to hike a couple of the trails we didn't do the last time we were here. Cathy stayed at home for a little "down time" away from us, so she was happy we went, I think!! haha Blow up this pic and see how it looks like the mountain starts above the cloud level...you really can't see it beneath the clouds at all.
We decided to take the Gold Cord Mine Trail first, a trail that leads to a mine that is still actively worked and privately owned. It was established in 1915, and is currently owned by a guy who came to Alaska at the age of one...prior to WWII. We spoke with him when we were crossing his land, and although we figured he had to be at least 75, he seemed to be in great shape and looked healthy as a horse. In the 1st pic you can see part of the mine on top of the hill...most of the rest are looking down into the valley from our perch at the top.
The 1st pic here shows a couple of the mine buildings, but more interesting were the houses that people live in at the top of the hill. Especially that round one that had a sign saying "private property" in the door...what exactly is going on in there? haha
More pics looking down from on top, and then Ellen and I working a cart. Notice I am having to work harder because Ellen is clearly just standing there! haha
Back down we went and a little picnic for lunch before we started our 2nd hike. We were thinking of Hallie the whole time here...she always wanted to go on a picnic and feels robbed that she hasn't been able to do it more in her lifetime! This one's for you, Hallie! haha
Our next hike was up the Gold Cord Lake Trail. If you blow up the 1st pic you can notice that the mountain behind Ellen has something like a "bowl" in the middle of it. We were told there was a small lake up there and that it was pretty so the hike was worth it. It was almost 2 miles round-trip, so we were hoping that was true. haha
The scenery on the way up was beautiful!
But the trip was mostly the "Ellen Show"! Nothing from the parking lot gave us any indication of how rocky parts of the trail were, and the rocks are Ellen's least favorite aspect of hiking, so we had a few laughs getting to the top. She had to sit down a couple times, but overall she did very well...she is really coming along!!! haha
We finally made it to the lake and it was incredibly clear...quite cold also! Notice in the pics that you can see clear through to the bottom of the lake.
We weren't up at the top maybe 10 minutes when we turned around from the water and saw all these clouds rolling in. They were thick and at eye level...the temperature got cool really quick...and we knew we had to beat feet out of there, so down we went again.
From "pigpen" to "steady Eddie"! haha
And another successful day of hiking comes to a close.
Left Wasilla this morning and got here to Denali National Park late this afternoon. Here till next Wednesday, and looking forward to the sights!!!