Leaving Alaska

The drive from Homer to Wasilla was fine for the first half of the trip, but then heavy rain sat on top of us for the rest of the day and evening. But we still had the opportunity to enjoy views like the one below during our drive before rain hit.

The Road to Wasilla on the Seward Highway

The weather in Wasilla for most of the stay was rain, with an occasional tease of sunshine. The first clear period we had on the second day, we jumped into the truck and headed north to the Independence Mine State Historical Park. I wasn’t sure what to expect other than it was a recommended stop on some of the information flyers we had. It turned out to be the remnants of a gold mine that shut down in 1951. Some of the buildings were still standing, but some had completely collapsed. It was an interesting visit, and the park had several trails to follow so we got our daily exercise in.

Independence Mine
Looking Down on the Mine

After completing our self-guided visit of the mine, we switched Ruby into 4-wheel drive and headed up along a steep, gravel road to Hatcher Pass. The pass had only been open for a few weeks since the snow and ice had retreated for the summer. It was very scenic, but a little nerve-wracking in spots as the road narrowed with steep drop-offs, and little space to move aside for the occasional approaching traffic.

Looking Back on the Road up to Hatcher Pass
Approaching the Top of the Pass

Here’s a good drone video that somebody else took of the Hatcher Pass area. Unfortunately it wasn’t as clear for us as it was for the drone, and rain began again just before we reached the top, making the downhill drive a little slippery in spots.

On the following day, it rained heavily at times, but CA had found a local sewing studio that she was able to rent time at to build some new placemats for us.

Partially Completed Placemats

As we left Wasilla this morning, it was a bright sunny morning finally (of course), and I thought that we should have stayed longer in the town. But here we are, back in Tok for our final night in this grand, 49th state of the Republic.

What an incredible adventure the last month has been. Alaska is such an expansive area, filled with wonderful, independent and recalcitrant free spirits and an incredible assortment of wildlife. It is the most northern, western, and eastern US state (look it up, it’s true). After seeing and experiencing all that we have done, I hope we are not jaded when we get to Yellowstone and the Colorado Rockies.

As we contemplate our final evening here, all that I can think of is that we should have stayed longer, maybe until snow threatened. We did think a few times about venturing up the Dalton Highway towards Prudhoe Bay so that we could brag about driving to the Arctic Circle, but in the end we decided not to spend the fuel money on the venture just to stand next to a sign.

We will venture back south along the Alaska Highway for a couple days, then turn south to follow the Cassiar Highway down the length of British Columbia and eventually to Vancouver, before re-entering the US north of Seattle. We will slowly make our way through Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah hanging around higher elevations to keep cool.

I hope our readers have enjoyed following along with us on this adventure. I probably won’t post again until we are settled in Vancouver.

2 thoughts on “Leaving Alaska

  1. Wow, 10 Miles of tracks in the tunnels of that mine…that is some serious work.
    I’m wishing you could extend your stay there, a few days maybe, and am so grateful there ARE such places as Rent-a-sewing-Machine shops?! Great placemats!
    Have a safe drive, do a better job of avoiding moose than a friend, just last week in Canada. Car parts are hard to get right now.😖


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