Monday, August 29, 2011

gold mint, independence mines and a few whales...

may have tried to put too many pictures in here. there is always so much going on in the summers and it's so pretty i just snap away. blossom is a willing participant in these photo adventures.

met these little guys on gold mint trail. it goes back 8 miles to the gold mint glacier. i have never been back that far. generally, i just go to the 4 mile marker. around there is really good access to the little susitna creek so the dogs can get in the water. 8 miles is a fine walk for one day. we saw a couple going out to camp out. overnighting it is probably a great plan.

boddhi enjoys the water at the 4 miles mark.

we were blessed and it was just a wonderful day. tanya and i drove out from anchorage and met our friend bonita out there with her daughter. 5 dogs went along as well. bonita turned back at mile 3. she has a boy in is back in up here. the kids get out early in may and return early in august to be able to enjoy all the added sunshine i think.

trying to take cool water pictures today. always trying to learn new stuff to do on my camera.

blossom and i pose at a nice lunch rock.

at this point bonita had turned back so we turned the rest of the dogs loose. this trail can be pretty well traveled but with the state fair taking peoples attention and school back in session we saw hardly anyone out there. the three dogs posed on this rock for us...okay, it wasn't as easy as that, but don't they look cute!!

loved all the fireweed that had turned bright and red. there were fireweeds in various states, some were still blooming. not sure if it had to do with sun exposure or what.

the colours made for a fall preview and some pretty dramatic photo's.

will have to plan a trek over the denali's always an amazing fall road trip.

tanya and i were already talking about a return trip to hanging valley in eagle river. that was an amazing place. i'd bet that williwaw would also be a great fall hike.

so many great fall hikes and drives, so little time.

this is just the begining. it is almost september...first the mushrooms, then the spectacular fall colours.

of course, then comes months of snow...we won't go there quite yet.

the dogs always love to take a dip in the beaver pond. can't say as i've seen a beaver in here. obviously created by beavers.

since i was in hatchers pass and it was a beautiful day it's always a good idea to drive on up to independence mine. it operated 1938-1941. there is another mine above this site which is privately owned. i started up the trail til i saw the signage...oops.

this is state park with a nice visitors center. that is in the old boses home. the buildings are in various states of repair or disrepair. they are trying to restore some, others they just allow to continue falling down.

this was a very large gold mining operation in it's day and with life back in the 1930's-40's i'd guess it wasn't an easy place to live and work at times.

the scenery is spectacular and i love the various buildings and equipment for a fun photo session.

today i used the macro and my little point and shoot.

the tracks and those actual operation buildings seem to be falling down for the most part.

they have some old carts that were used in the mines

tried to use the old broken out windows for photo ops.

in the background is the palmer valley. i do get palmer and wasilla confused at times. the matanuska glacier carved out the valley below.

love the red against the wood sides.

blossom is pretty beat after all the miles of walking/hiking from today. we wandered around up here, maybe just an added mile or two.

we walked the 8 miles at gold mint and then we had taken rio for a partial trek in the bog.

rio is snoring away. you would think she'd done all the miles blossom and i did. it was "hot" by alaskan standards so it would have been a tough go for rio. i try to keep her under 5 miles. she is 7 and for a bigger dog she is doing great...don't want to push it though. she seems to do okay at home. she may not want me to leave tomorrow without her though.

despite signs of fall, there are still some wildflowers out there. the lupine is going to seed. tanya told me i could collect the pods and put them in my garden if i wanted. may have to do that in the back forty. lupine is so beautiful!

more close in of all the buildings falling apart. obviously, they have that section cordoned off and encourage you to not go out there.

that is a view of the other, private mine area. there are several mines in this pass. arch angel road takes you to another trailhead to reed lakes, it also will take you to another mine, private. i understand that gold mining is gaining again in popularity as the price of gold has been soaring. there is still gold in them hills, we may be set up for another mini gold rush.

my uncle koyle did some gold mining in alaska many years ago. got himself shot in the leg. people get a bit crazy with the gold and the money. it's not easy, it's a rough gig.

there are historical gold sites all over alaska. independence is just close to anchorage. i still need to get to kennicott mines. that is another place i hear wonderful things about. a bit more difficult to get to.

love the black and whites with pictures of a place where one could have only taken black and whites in the day.

was a pretty busy operation for those years. not sure why it stopped and all that. i have read the placards at one time, but long ago and forgotten. never was good at remembering details.

you can walk to the top of the area i took from below. this is the rail in it's busted up state.

spent some time playing with my timer and waterfalls. this one came out pretty decent. now i need to go back to every waterfall i've ever seen and try again haha.

sunday was a beautiful day as well. i took the dogs for a few loops at the university lake dog park and then loaded them up. i was a bit slow getting moving so got a later start than expected. at first i thought i'd drive to the beach in seward, but i just went to the hope cut off and then came back to anchorage and met friends for dinner.

was actually lucky in that on my return trip i caught the bore tide. the bore tide happens in turnigan arm related to the extreme changes in tide. the tides out there can change up to 40 feet, this can cause a huge surge wave. guess it happens just over 2 hours after the low tide...i find i can never plan for this but occasionally i have just been lucky as i drove past. the daring like to use it as a huge single wave and surf it. today and often it's kite sailing or kiteboarding/surfing. i'm sure i have no idea.

anyway, you can get the idea from the pictures. you see them often out there waiting and hoping the wave will be decent sized. it can be up to 6 feet.

they will also just go out there and enjoy the very common wind on turnigan arm.

around windy point one can generally see mountain goats. below was my turnaround point heading into hope.

these are from our last full day at point adolphus. we got treated to a whale show. there was a pod of 7-9 whales and we sat in the kelp beds in our kayaks enjoying thier feeding session.

never saw any bubble net feeding...that remains on my list of hopes and hoo. can't have everything, eh?

often there were several diving at the same time and i think someone caught as many as 5 tails at one time. that one above had 5 whale backs as they swam along feeding.

didn't come out as hoped but there were times you'd have sea lions in the foreground and whales in the background. you can barely see the whales in this one.

we tried to get video and it wasn't bad, but we were all bummed as all the sounds the whales were making were drowned out by the wind around us.

there were some leaps out of the water...i got splashes as usual.

lots of the tails!

below are 4 setting up for a dive simultaneously.

dive, whales, dive!

it was just such a great experience to just be out there with those amazing whales.

pictures sometimes can't do justice to an experience. some stuff you just have to hope to experience yourself. i wouldn't mind spending more time in this part of alaska. so much wildlife and beauty. i can see why people settle there. making a living must be a challenge at times, but to live in this glory one can do without.

we all had a blast sitting out there. lucky for us these guys came along as it was turning into a bust whale wise before they showed up.

happy kayakers.

bob sits and ponders...

alex used the kelp as an anchor. sandra and i attemped this but it seemed to fail us. the others took lessons on kelp anchoring which we seemed to have missed. we kept drifting...making taking pictures a bit of a challenge.

great day, great hike...we'll see what tomorrow brings. for now, it's midnight and this girl should hit the sack.

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