Friday, September 04, 2009

It's Feeling Like Fall in Hatcher Pass

Cruising along Wasilla-Fishhook Road.

A pretty day and a pretty drive.

A quick stop atop the bridge of the Little Su.

Notice the hole in the rock at left. This is just a bit past the viewing spot at the Little Su River.

The color differences weren't dramatic as I entered the area, but they were visible and striking.

And....the sky was gorgeous.

Fireweed fuzz was everywhere, much of it drifting in the air. I'm sure there is some of it trapped in my car even now as the wind occasionally stirred up a blizzard of it.

Got Fluff?

The yellow leaves stood out against the backdrop of the mountains near the MotherLode Inn.

The Hatcher Pass Lodge in the distance.

I was having one of my gutsy days (I don't like the gravel and dust, not to mention the lack of much shoulder along this road, not to mention guard rails) and drove up Willow-Fishhook to the first pull over not far up the mountain.

Please excuse me while I touch the sky. Seriously, I'm on an even level with some of the mountains that loomed over my below.

Looking back from where I came.

Uh, yeah, gotta love these Alaskan roads but, hey, it's across a mountain pass, so guess we should cut it some slack, huh? It'll be closed with the first real snows and not reopen until the snow is gone in, oh, May or June.

Loved the play of the light on the mountain slopes.

Down we go, slowly but surely, looking down on the Lodge from above. That's the main road we come into the mine area on at the bottom of the picture, the parking area sorta left, and then the road continues on up to the mine.

Still on Willow-Fishhook, looking downward at the mine area.

No zoom here, showing the Lodge area, road, parking area and then the mine area beyond to the top left area. The road I'm on is bottom center. Narrow, gravel shoulder, and steep, but what glorious views it offers.

I've taken pictures of this bridge from the road shown, this stretch coming before the Lodge area, but took this one from W-Fishhook from above it this time.

Does't it look like this mountain would be plush feeling if you could somehow reach out and touch it?

Ah, I was probably breathing a sigh of relief here as this was taken out the window at the end of W-Fishhook where it merges back with the main road. Hard to see, but there's a stream there. It's the same one the little bridge crosses a bit further downstream

And, dang it, suddenly I'm not touching the sky any more. The mountains are having to do it all by themselves.

I'd moved up to the parking area just before the toll booth into the mine area. Looking back, this is the road I had just come back down. You can see another car on it if you look closely.

Okay, long time Alaskans. What glacier am I looking at here? I think they told us when we took the "backstage tour" with one of Donna's park co-workers, but if they did, I've forgotten.

Here's a better, PhotoShopped look at it.
Leisurely meandering downward and stopping for photos. The amazing thing is that it'll look different tomorrow and the day after and the day after and...

The long view down into the Mat-Su Valley, the glacier shown above just visible just a bit left of center in the distance.

The sky was gorgeous, the mountains were gorgeous, the colors were gorgeous....and I didn't fall off of Willow-Fishhook Road. What's not to like?

Gotta love these funky trees.

Back to the Little Su, this time taking a couple moments to stop and wander out onto the viewing deck to look at the river.

Last time I was here the water was sorta cloudy, but was running pretty clear today.

This sign sits on the viewing deck, btw, telling those of us reading it that we're in a very, very, very bad spot if "the big one happens" cos it's across a major fault line. Don't you just love Alaska?

"You are here!" Wasilla and Palmer didn't seem to rate a dot.

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