Welcome to Day 1 of Blueberry Week!
In a spurt of nice weather, Karl and I decided to head back to Hatcher Pass and hunt for some blueberries. Without a four-wheeler, we had to find a place to hike to that might have a berry patch. We headed up Hatcher Pass Road and turned onto Archangel Road, which took us to the Reed Lakes Trail. Archangel Road was a typical unmaintained Alaska road, which meant your max speed was about 3 MPH. It was a beautiful day for a hike, and we got an up close glimpse of some of the mountains that have already collected some snow.
About 1.5 miles in, we came to the last remnant of the Snowbird Mine Village, an active mineral mine from 1939 to 1959.
You would not believe the number of abandoned mines in Hatcher Pass (the most popular being Independence Mine - I'll show you that someday too!).
Seriously, look at the view outside this window. Makes you feel a little bit better for the miners that were basically stuck here working until every last resource was extracted from the mine!
After we passed the mine, the trail became a lot rougher. There were makeshift bridges and lots of boulders to climb over and around.
We passed gorgeous Lower Reed Lake, which I of course didn't manage to get a picture of...
Just as the the trail started to get a lot steeper, we came across a TON of blueberry bushes that were almost completely ripe! We'd seen a few bushes lower on the trail, but most of the berries were still a few weeks from edible. It seems that the higher elevation helped the berries out a bit. We sat and berry picked for about two hours, all the while being eaten alive by mosquitos because someone forgot the bug dope. We both felt like we'd rolled around in poison ivy by the time we headed back to the car. Once all the berries were washed at home, we were able to get a good look at what we got.
And to think, we only stole a few handfuls on our hike! I'd definitely like to hike the entire trail, but I think we'll need to be a bit more prepared to go further than a couple of miles. One of the coolest things about Alaska is you are basically allowed to plop a tent down anywhere in the state. Perhaps an overnight in Hatcher Pass is in order?
More blueberry fun coming tomorrow!