Nor can I ever resist stopping for the "first view" of the lodge and mine area.
From the parking lot up at Independence Mine
Up on the level with the gift shop, right, looking back down toward the Valley.
Looking left from the general area of the gift shop.
Oh, okay, one last peek down toward the Valley.
Oh, yeah, looks warm and inviting, doesn't it?
General over-view of the rather chaotic ruins of Independence Mine itself.
Uh, a fixer uppper?
This is the path you walk up to take a gander at the ruins and waterfall coming down from the mine area.
Old equipment and tools are everywhere.
This big piece is an iron of sorts, apparantly used to press bags....for gold???
Some folks walking up the trail to where there is an ol' mine shaft (no, you can't go far into it) and a killer view.
Remains of one building, still standing, and another one sorta fallen in on itself.
The assay offices
A stream passes under the walkway to the Assay Offices and you will occasionally even find folks panning it for gold today.
I'm not quite sure what this was called, but it appeared to be something they used to blast their way through rock in the search for that elusive vein of gold.
I bet we can all figure out what they stored in here!
Inadvertant self-portrait, that's me reflecting in the glass with the window behind my head, snapped while taking a photo of the map of the mine area.
Mine ruins. The tracks left are directly in front of the mine shaft that is now sealed off just behind it.
One of these days, alas, I'm sure the tracks will collapse in on themselves but they're very cool to see nowadays.
Another shot of the Mat-Su Valley below.
One of the rangers said that this peak was the area that the first gold find was made.
Back in the good ol' days, all supplies, food and mine equipment, had to be brought into the area via sleds and carts similar to these.
The road sorta meandering up the hill to right-center is this end of Willow-Fishhook Road, which you can follow all the way out to Parks Highway and, well, Willow. It's Wasilla-Fishhook that I drive to get there from this side.
Just another view of some of the buildings that still stand at Independence Mine.
I've headed home in this one but stopped to take the cameras off from around my neck just past the turn to Willow-Fishhook. Left it to others to explore for today and am about to wind my way down, down, down....
Just a random shot taken on the drive back down to the Valley.